Red Bank, NJ

The Hottest Aesthetic Medicine Practice in NJ: Meet Dr. Mai Kaga & The Dream Team at The Kaga Academy

Bridget Mulroy

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Dr. Mai Kaga's dream team. From left to right: Valerie Moniz, Marissa Schulman, Thaisa Simas, and Renee Vacchiano.Dr. Mai Kaga

Cosmetic enhancement is nothing new. For centuries, people have explored alternative methods of amplifying their appearance. Over the last century, the amount of people looking to achieve more permanent results has increased exponentially.

While a stigma hovers over the concept of cosmetic procedures, advances within the field have allowed for reconsideration.

Within the last decade, attitudes toward cosmetic procedures have done a “complete 180,” according to Dr. Mai Kaga. Not only are people more open to the concept, but patients of Dr. Kaga want her to share their results on The Kaga Academy’s Instagram page.

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Where the magic happens at The Kaga Academy.Dr. Mai Kaga

Dr. Mai Kaga is the founder of The Kaga Academy of Aesthetic & Concierge Medicine, a state-of-the-art aesthetic medicine practice in Red Bank, New Jersey. She is double board certified and specializes in natural, realistic results for anyone looking to enhance their appearance.

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Dr. Mai Kaga of The Kaga Academy of Aesthetic & Concierge Medicine.Dr. Mai Kaga

Not to be confused with Dr. Mira Kaga, her sister! Dr. Mira Kaga is the founder of The Kaga Institute of Medicine & Aesthetics in Marlboro, New Jersey. She is also double board certified and specialized in providing realistic results.

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Dr. Mai Kaga's husband, son, and father working together to build the glass observatory at The Kaga Academy.Dr. Mai Kaga

Patients turn to each specialist for their respective reasons. While the sisters work in the same field, they each have a unique artistic ability. Despite presumed competition (within the field, and being sisters,) Dr. Kaga says, “We are both boss moms who wanted to do things our own way, and we fully support our similarities and nuanced differences. We have dinner with our kids every Saturday night with all of our siblings and our parents. We are extremely close and respect each other tremendously, both in the field of aesthetics and as friends. We also have great relationships with other injectors (like Jess at Red Rabbit.)”

Dr. Kaga's reputation has been solidified based on her patients' results. She is also obliterating the misconception behind “plastic surgery." She is not putting patients under anesthesia since she doesn't perform surgery, and her patients don't look like plastic!

While the previous generation of cosmetic alterations were performed under the knife, that is not the case anymore in 2022. Dr. Kaga can restore other doctors’ mistakes, and create natural beauty, nonsurgically and within the comfort of her practice.

A large percentage of Dr. Kaga's patients are people seeking corrections. People turn to Dr. Kaga because other doctors steered them in the wrong direction and they now need her help.

In terms of corrective procedures, Dr. Kaga genuinely wants to help people achieve the subtle, natural looks they’re seeking.

Dr. Kaga's staff is a vital component of the facility’s spotless reputation:

  • Valerie Moniz • Lead Aesthetic Assistant

"Val makes it impossible to have a bad day. She can make you smile, hold your hand while you get filler, & also happens to be a fully licensed, certified cosmetologist & esthetician. She is one of the most talented people we know & we love her kindness just as much as our patients do at The Kaga Academy."

  • Marissa Schulman • Lead Medical Esthetician

"A certified Coolsculpt specialist, Marissa is also trained in over eight medical devices including IPL, ClearLift Laser, Virtue Radiofrequency Microneedling, Laser hair removal, & Diamond Glow facials! Behind all that knowledge is a comforting & down to earth colleague. She makes you look beautiful & she makes you feel beautiful too. She is our secret weapon!"

  • Thaisa Simas • Medical Esthetician

“Thai should be on the runway somewhere in New York but we're happy to have her beauty and brains at The Kaga Academy! She is a licensed esthetician certified in Coolsculpting, Emsculpting, Diamond Glow, Microneedling and multiple other laser devices!”

  • Renee Vacchiano • Patient Liaison & Office Coordinator

"Renee is the brains behind the beauty! She keeps our office running smoothly and does it all with a smile every single day. Whether it's a killer double espresso or explaining each of our hundreds of services, Renee is the mama bear at The Kaga Academy and we wouldn't have it any other way!"

Naturally, you probably have more questions about what this practice does, and what they’re capable of. Below this article are ten questions Dr. Mai Kaga was kind enough to answer!

An Interview with Dr. Mai Kaga, founder of The Kaga Academy of Aesthetic & Concierge Medicine:

1. Briefly describe your role at TKA (The Kaga Academy,) your certifications, your area of expertise, and your title.

“My name is Dr. Mai Kaga and I am the owner and founder of The Kaga Academy of Aesthetic & Concierge Medicine. I am double board certified in both Internal and Aesthetic Medicine. My area of expertise lies in natural, subtle results. At The Kaga Academy, we are known for educating our patients that just because you want to change something about yourself doesn’t mean you want to look like anyone other than you. With our highly personalized approach, we specialize in providing the most advanced treatments & cutting-edge techniques to deliver results that are effective yet natural. Our signature approach focuses on delivering cross-category results by combining different treatments like botox, dermal fillers, lasers, IPL, radiofrequency, and microneedling to bring about the latest technology in enhancing your natural features.

I tell my patients, if they want an over-the-top, unrecognizable look, I can recommend a lot of great doctors.

If you want to enhance your natural beauty, then welcome to The Kaga Academy.”

2. Botox/fillers vs other options available now, results, cost, effectiveness & how you want patients to understand the difference.

“There is no faster, cheaper, or more effective solution to wrinkles than neurotoxins like Botox and Jeaveau. Neurotoxins work to relax your muscles, thereby softening or eliminating wrinkles when injected into specific muscles. Filler, on the other hand, is a gel formed from hyaluronic acid that can fill deep set or superficial volume losses in the face, neck, decollete, or hands. While the results of botox take 2 days to 2 weeks to kick in and last about 3 months, filler has an immediate result and lasts about 12-18 months. Botox & Filler remain two of our mainstay options to slow down, prevent or reverse signs of aging. I encourage my patients to think about botox and filler as pinpoint solutions to specific problem areas, whereas lasers and other devices such as microneedling and radiofrequency offer an overall improvement and reversal in skin damage, uneven skin tone, scarring, and aging. Lasers are a commitment and often recommended as 4 treatments with yearly maintenance thereafter. In my experience, the best, most natural results are often a combination of a multi-modality approach.”

3. (What other cosmetic procedures do you specialize in -- new services/advanced services -- that deserve some attention? Ie Trusculpt/Emsculpt, so so many cool cosmetic options are available now.)

“We have over 10 different lasers and devices and over 100 different types of treatments, we offer at The Kaga Academy. Two of our most popular involve body contouring. Coolsculpting, which permanently removes fat cells, and Emsculpt which builds and tones your muscles have quickly become patient favorites.”

4. Can you explain so readers understand why cosmetic procedures aren't always covered by ins, & certain instances are? How do you feel about that and how can certain procedures become common amongst skeptics? (Ie laser hair removal was thought of as crazy and extravagant when it first came out, but now it's super common and lots of people have done it, do you see any other cosmetic procedures following suit? -- laser hair removal has straddled.

“Medical insurance often draws the line at what is medically necessary. That is why a breast revision to reduce back pain may be covered by insurance, but a breast enhancement for aesthetic purposes would not be. The majority of nonsurgical aesthetic services, such as nonsurgical liquid rhinoplasty are not covered by insurance similarly to how a surgical nose job would be an out-of-pocket expense.

When it comes to societal acceptance, the stigma of aesthetic services over the last 10 years alone has dramatically taken a 180. My patients love being posted on social media both during their procedures and treatments as well as seeing their before&after photos shared with all of our followers. We are in an era of 'if it makes you feel good, get it done.' I have had so many patients look in the mirror after my work and shock themselves by shedding tears of joy at the result. There is so much negativity in the world aimed at people feeling bad about themselves, if fixing a crooked nose, plumping up lips, or getting rid of acne scars makes you feel good, then we love that for you.”

5. What are some staple skincare items people over 20yo should have in their arsenal of products? 30yo? 40yo?

“I don't recommend skincare products based on age because what's good for you in your 30s, 40s, and 50s is preventative for you in your 20s. The 3 products I recommend for all ages are an antioxidant (SkinBertter Advanced Alto Defense is my favorite) an HA or hyaluronic acid, which is similar to filler but in topical form, and a nighttime retinol cream for wrinkles and pigmentation. Retinols used to get a bad rep because of all the side effects of irritation and dryness but with newer products like Alpharet Overnight Cream which combines lactic acid as a hydrating component, you get all the anti-aging reversal benefits and none of the downtime.”

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SkinBetter is a top-shelf, medical-grade skincare brand available at The Kaga Academy.Dr. Mai Kaga

6. Aside from obv factors like science and marketing, can you explain why certain skincare lines are more or less expensive than drugstore/more commonly available brands?

“There are 3 tiers of products to keep in mind when it comes to availability and marketing. Your drug store brands that you can pick up at a Walmart or order off of amazon have no FDA regulation. Their active ingredients are not verified and thus can have no effect at all and be very gimmicky. Then, you have Sephora-level brands, which are about 70% regulated. Only medical-grade skincare is rigorously tested in clinical trials to make sure it is 100% effective, both in the levels of active ingredients and the results promised. This is reflected in a lot of price points but also in the results we see with medical grade skincare.”

7. How booked out are your offices presently? Your reputation precedes you so it's understandable as to why getting an appointment has become more difficult, what advice do you have for patients trying to schedule with you?

“We make every effort to fit every patient into our schedule. You can text/call 732-747-2600 for an appointment or book yourself at our website https://www.thekagaacademy.com. All of our consults are completely complimentary!”

8. What are some things brides need to keep in mind regarding skincare, upkeep, and timing for their big day?

“Come see us as soon as you have a wedding date! We talk about your goals and concerns and set you up with a plan and timeline for all procedures and treatments leading up to your big day from a dermaplane and diamond glow facial to getting rid of those pesky laugh lines so your makeup doesn't settle into wrinkles for your photos. We always tell our brides, when you start early, the only downside is looking perfect for longer.”

9. What do you love most about what you do?

“I love providing an option for natural results as the trends of overfilled faces are slowly dying out (thank goodness). At least 30% of my daily procedures involve corrective work from other physicians and providers. I conduct my consultations by listening first and developing a comprehensive treatment plan that caters to the patient as a whole. I never start by telling a patient how I can make them “more beautiful.” One of the most common things I say to my patients is, we can change this, but if it doesn’t bother you, it doesn’t bother me. I never want to be in the business of “correcting” someone’s natural beauty. My business means we build your confidence by enhancing the beauty you had all along.”

10. Are there any big things coming down the pike for TGI/A?

“The big things are already here! There is so much we can do nonsurgically that patients are surprised every day. Getting rid of fat without liposuction, fixing your nose without a nose job, microneedling with zero downtime...we have the most amazing technology and just getting the word out and sharing that with our patients is the most exciting part of what we do at The Kaga Academy.”

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