Become the Best Version of YOU This Year

A new year is always an opportune time to switch up your routine and create fresh healthcare goals. I personally start each new year by assessing how I treat my skin, what I put in my body, and how I use my body. Then I examine what sort of minimal changes I can make to support better health. I encourage my patients to assess their own behaviors in the interest of achieving optimal results, and I do my best to help them achieve their skin and health goals through the varied services I provide within my practice. Inspiring others is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling parts of my job.

A great starting point for personal evaluation is diet. I typically eat well during the week, but don’t always have time to prepare my own meals. Thankfully, pre-prepared healthy meals with lots of protein, veggies, and healthy fats from Andy’s Local Market in San Rafael, Whole Foods, or United Market keep me nourished and full of energy for my 10- to 12-hour clinical days. On weekends, I love to chop vegetables, and I eat the rainbow as much as I can. In the summer, I make a mean gazpacho. In colder months, I’m known for my spaghetti sauce, spicy chili, and gourmet salads. 

Sundays are for chopping! Preparing healthy meals is a favorite weekend activity.
Photo Credit: Amelia Plumb Photography

Move Your Body

For exercise, I move my body every single day to maintain physical health. I’m proud to have surpassed 1,600 Pure Barre classes last year—my non-negotiable Monday-to-Friday 6 a.m. “me time.” Keeping strong and maintaining physical endurance enables me to work long days in the operating room without being at risk for physical injury. Surgery is a physically demanding profession; many surgeons suffer cervical spine degeneration or joint injuries in their middle-aged years. By keeping my core strong and muscles toned, I never max out at work. Exercise also helps me to reflect, to focus, and to regroup or work through challenges. I’m grateful that my well-exercised body allows me to be a surgeon. 

Keeping the core strong and body fit is vital in Dr. Horton’s opinion for overall health. Photo Credit: Amelia Plumb Photography

Get Glowing Skin

We all know that beauty is more than skin deep, yet healthy and glowing skin certainly elevates our image. I encourage my patients to adopt a personal skin care routine. My own routine includes medical-grade products. In the morning, I cleanse with SkinCeuticals® LHA cleansing gel for oily skin, followed by Phloretin CF antioxidant gel. 

Self-care includes maintaining healthy skin! Dr. Horton practices what she preaches and protects her skin from future sun damage while restoring healthy skin with medical-grade skin care products from her office. Photo Credit: Amelia Plumb Photography

My foundation serves as sun protection and my Colorescience® SPF 50 pigmented loose powder provides added UV protection while treating shiny T-zone areas. At night, I use the MakeUp Eraser microfiber towel and SkinCeuticals Simply Clean exfoliating gel to wash off oils and makeup. To promote healthy cellular turnover, I use Skinbetter Science’s AlphaRet Overnight Cream, which is gentler than other retinol/tretinoin creams, followed by Neocutis Lumière illuminating eye cream and Latisse® eyelash lengthening treatment. (Did you know that you can also apply Latisse to your eyebrows?) 

Family Time

Finally, while I give my patients 100 percent of my time, energy, and attention at work, my family keeps me grounded and helps me to recharge. My husband is my biggest champion, enabling me to work hard and focus on my patients and my business while he handles most things at home. Each night, I’m honored to help my twin daughters with their homework, and I love making school lunches for my girls. It’s a small way I can ensure they are also staying healthy and eating nutritious food to nurture their developing tween brains.  

Dr. Horton loves to help her twins with their homework when she gets home from performing surgery. Photo Credit: Amelia Plumb Photography

For 2023, I hope that you, dear reader, learn to honor your body and all it does for you, and to respect and nurture your health. By reflecting upon what brings you joy and helps you to recharge, health becomes an achievable goal. 

Karen M. Horton, MD, FACS

Dr. Karen Horton is an internationally Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in San Francisco, a fitness enthusiast, proud mom to fraternal twin girls, and devoted wife of nearly 3 decades. A surgeon’s daughter, she is proud to have built a successful, women-focused boutique private practice in Pacific Heights. Featuring a brand new Quad A-certified, fully equipped operating room, Dr. Horton offers her patients the highest level of aesthetic care, both surgical and non-surgical, in a modern, bright and discrete setting. She considers it an honor and a privilege to care for her patients! To learn more about Dr. Horton, visit and follow her on social at @drkarenhorton.