Dr. Sonia Rahbani founded Dermapro in 2001 with the aim of becoming Lebanon’s and the Middle East’s first all-inclusive anti-aging facility. Dermapro began as a dermatological and cosmetic clinic but has since diversified and expanded significantly, broadening the breadth of its services and deepening its in-house expertise. Dermapro is now a regional success story, founded on common values and aspirations, and renowned for quality in the area, the breadth of services it offers, and the knowledge of its staff.
It all began when Sonia obtained her PharmD diploma. While she intended to pursue a Master’s degree in cosmetology in Paris, she ended up founding her own pharmacy in Lebanon in the late 1980s due to a series of events. Soon after, Sonia realised that many people seeking medicine and pharmacist guidance are searching for more than just improved health; they are also looking for a better quality of life. She says, “The whole concept of anti-aging, wellness, and wellbeing was not very clear at the time, but it intrigued me.” Thus, she started looking everywhere for answers: meetings, studies, new technologies, she was fascinated. Sonia’s curiosity grew as she studied more, and she wanted to share what she had learned with others.
Inspiration behind foundation of Dermapro
Dermapro, as per Sonia, is the result of inspiration, intuition, and hard work. With the rapid expansion of alternative therapies and technology, the subject of anti-aging and wellness had already captured her whole interest. This, she believed, was the way things would go in the future. She asserts, “The road to the fountain of youth was about to be discovered, and I wanted to be on the front rows, with the pioneers.”
In the mid-90s, Dermapro was founded as a small-scale skincare and wellness facility in the mid-90s. Various health and anti-aging therapies were quickly added to the idea. Sonia made it a point to get each new technology or product she heard about accessible at Dermapro as soon as possible. People in Lebanon and the surrounding region were unfamiliar with the notion of anti-aging and health at the time, but they found what they were looking for in Dermapro. When the team built the company’s main medical facility in Beirut in the early 2000s, the notion began to take shape. Due to the efforts of a highly skilled interdisciplinary staff, Dermapro is still regarded as the most comprehensive anti-aging medical clinic in the Middle East.
Working Together Succeeding Together
Dermapro’s crew and Sonia have been there for each other through thick and thin. All of the team’s setbacks and barriers, as well as all of their shared victories, moulded them into one spirit and one heart. Apart from the usual obstacles that this field demands, the team had to deal with violent events like mini-wars, revolutions, economic crises, and, most recently, the devastating Beirut Explosion, which left the city and its people – and Dermapro – in ashes. This, along with everything else, taught the team a lot about the value of people over places, the significance of moving ahead rather than backward, and the fact that giving up never created a dream.
Sonia asserts, “Our team includes highly qualified doctors and surgeons from different fields: dermatology, plastic surgery, gynecology, vascular surgery, internal medicine, and others. They are the backbone of our medical team.” They work closely with a diversified team of health experts, including pharmacists, dietitians, nurses, and physical therapists, in addition to medical beauticians, aromatherapists, and body and hair care experts. They all operate as one team in a highly equipped medical facility with the look and feel of a spa environment. “The aim is to give the patient the best of both worlds,” says Sonia.
Sonia finds it difficult to single out just one accomplishment as there are so many dear to her heart. Every extension, development, and new leap the firm takes makes her pleased. When a team member learns a new ability and is ready to share it with others, she is ecstatic. She is proud of her team when they learn from medical experts throughout the world to share the information they have gained. She adds, “I feel proud when we celebrate our successes and when we learn from our failures.”
CEO of Dermapro
Sonia’s responsibilities at Dermapro are rather varied. She dislikes having to follow a set of established responsibilities, especially because she is on the job virtually every day and never sits in an office. She’s there to help with a diagnosis, offer advice on a difficult case, and accompany the patients, but she’s also there to stimulate the staff, handle problems, and ensure that everything runs smoothly. Sonia, on the other hand, is particularly enthusiastic about one role: learning about, seeking out, and purchasing new technology and therapies.
Sonia’s main objective right now is to expand outside Lebanon to the MENA area as a first step, with the possibility of spreading to other regions afterwards. “We are currently training a team and preparing the ground for an international version of Dermapro. I hope it sees the light very soon,” says Sonia.
Having two Families at Home and Workplace
Sonia finds it difficult to strike a balance between her personal and professional lives. She is enthusiastic about what she does, and it may occasionally overpower her. She is a proud member of a loving family which includes four children and her husband who’s been there since the beginning. She opines, “Our time together is sacred, and it is all I need to refuel. I also take some time to read during my day—my favourite hobby—and try to travel as often as I can, mixing work and leisure.”
A typical day would include a cup of coffee in the morning, a nutritious breakfast, and a morning read. This is when I share with my team any new useful information and wish them a happy day,” says Sonia. She signs a few documents, reads a few documents, and then travels to the pharmacy or Dermapro, where she spends at least 10 hours between managerial work, patient consultations, advice, meetings, and numerous phone calls. Then, at night, she gathers with her family or the individuals she cares about for a beautiful meal. “I can safely say I have not had two similar days in a very long while,” says Sonia.
More Wellness Solutions in the Future
Dermapro’s team is committed to the protection and enhancement of human life. Because the team understands the intricate interplay of the body, mind, and soul as one, it tries to provide a comprehensive spectrum of high-quality medical and wellness solutions to people of all ages.
Sonia emphasizes, “My current objective is to export the concept we have created and take it where it is needed, where more people would benefit from it.”