Much like dermatologists and aestheticians, plastic surgeons devote their days to tending to other people's skin. Sure, they might not be treating acne and eczema on a daily basis (more like tummy tucks, lasers, and "mommy makeovers"). And they certainly spend more time in the operating room than they do writing prescriptions for spironolactone, but the end goal — to make people feel good in their skin — is the same.
Like their peers, plastic surgeons don't play around when it comes to their own complexions. "[Skin care] is my one non-negotiable self-care habit," Lara Devgan, a board-certified plastic surgeon practicing in New York, tells Allure. And she's not the only one who makes it a priority. We talked to four top docs in the field, all of whom went into generous detail about their diligent skin-care routines and ride-or-die treatments (including the exact in-office treatments they fancy for themselves).
If, like us, you've ever been curious about how plastic surgeons keep their skin so ridiculously glow-y and clear then you've come to the right place. Scroll to find the skin-care regimens (and a few "secrets") from four of America's top-ranked plastic surgeons.
The ultimate goal of Dara Liotta's morning skin-care routine is to prepare her complexion for the stress of the day — that, and to protect her face and neck from dryness and sun damage.
"In the morning, I like to use lots of luxurious, hydrating and conditioning products, and I use all of them not only on my face but on my neck as well," she says, adding that she doesn't currently use a special neck cream for this reason.
First things first, Liotta cleanses in the shower using the Glowbiotics MD Probiotic Revitalizing Soothing Facial Cleanser, which is gentle and safe enough for all skin types. "I love it because it doesn’t strip the natural oils that are essential to nourishing and protecting the skin," she says. Immediately out of the shower, she applies a generous coat of the It Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream, a product she fancies for its convenience factor.
"I'm a busy mom and surgeon, and anything that can combine steps and simplify my routine is a plus," she explains. "This fiercely hydrating moisturizer smells amazing and clean, and also fights off fine lines and wrinkles — I tend to get dry throughout the day with the cold air of the operating room blowing, and this moisturizer keeps my skin plump all day.”
After moisturizer, Liotta layers on a thick dollop of eye cream — the Neocutis Lumière Bio-Restorative Eye Cream, to be exact. "I would swim in this product if I could," she says. "Many of the Neocutis's products were developed out of wound-healing research, and they work to build collagen, smooth fine lines and wrinkles, while also hydrating the delicate eye skin and reducing puffiness and dark circles.”
Liotta says that with consistent use, she's seen a significant difference in the fine lines and crepiness around her eyes.
Because she's so busy, Liotta prefers to keep her skin-care routine as simple as possible in the evening. "After a long day seeing patients and operating and then putting the kids to bed, I only want to worry about the basics," she says. For her, this means using the same products as she does in the morning, with the exception of the It Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream.
At night, she swaps it out for the brand's Bye Bye Redness Moisturizer, which she swears by for both calming her rosacea and keeping it in check.
"This luxurious-feeling cream helps neutralize and soothe the look of redness, while providing deep hydration, and as a bonus, it also smooths the look of lines and wrinkles, too," she says. It contains a skin-nourishing blend of colloidal oatmeal, aloe, cucumber, chamomile extract, and avocado oil, as well as wrinkle-smoothing collagen and peptides.
After applying a hefty layer of the same Neocutis eye cream, Liotta is off to get here beauty sleep.
Whenever Liotta is traveling to Dubai, which is fairly often as she has an office there, she relies on Emma Hardie's Plump n Glow Anti-Pollution Face Mist to soothe and refresh her skin from flight-induced dehydration. "This gives a major boost of hydration and feels so refreshing. I always have it with me," she says.
Once or twice a week, Liotta will do a mask for some extra TLC. Talika's Vegetal Gold Mask is her current go-to, as it's loaded with soothing ingredients such as horse chestnut, red vine leaf, and chamomile extract, which aid in increasing microcirculation and evening skin tone. "It's also incredibly hydrating, and who doesn't love smearing gold on their face?" she says. (She has a point.)
In addition to being the founder of her own practice, New York City-based plastic surgeon Melissa Doft is also a mom to two young boys, which means she likes to keep her routine quick and simple in the morning. It's for this reason that she tends to skip cleanser and instead goes straight in with a light vitamin serum and Elta MD Clear. (Right now, Doft's serum of choice is one of her own formulations, though she doesn't reveal its name yet as she says it may be launching next fall.) After applying a healthy dose of sun protection, she smooths on a coat of Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in Rose and caps it at that. "Similar to my surgical style, I like to stick with the classics," she says.
When evening rolls around, Doft reaches for a longtime favorite, Eve Lom Cleansing Balm, which she especially loves using at night because it has a warming effect. "I am always cold and I love the warmth that you feel as you apply the balm onto your skin before washing it off." Along with the same serum she uses in the morning, Doft incorporates Sircuit Skin I.CEE U. Gel to help give her undereye area a boost, as well as a retinol formula like Elizabeth Arden Retinol Ceramide Capsules Line Erasing Night Serum for the rest of her complexion. She tops it off with a light moisturizer and calls it a night.
When Doft's skin is feeling a bit worse for wear, microneedling is her go-to treatment. "If I'm looking dull, I always ask my aesthetician to do a light microneedling session where she infuses vitamins, peptides, and hyaluronic acid into the skin," she says. "Even my husband's friends have commented on how glowy my skin looks after a treatment," she adds. Because her job doesn't allow for much downtime, Doft explains that microneedling is the perfect option for her since it lets her look office-ready by morning.
Another must-have for Doft is a humidifier, which she says is especially crucial during the harsh winter months. "Both my husband and I have dry skin, so the extra moisture in the air really helps. If you add a drop of tea tree oil, it also calms inflammation," she explains. (If you've yet to try one this year, these are just a few of our favorites at different price points.)
Before rushing to early-morning surgeries and consultation appointments at her New York City practice, Devgan cares for her complexion with products from her own medical-grade skin-care line, Dr. Devgan Scientific Beauty. "I swear by the Platinum Revitalizing Cleanser, Platinum Hyaluronic Serum, Platinum Eye Repair Complex, and Platinum SPF 45 Daily Tinted BB Cream in the mornings," she says of her four-step routine. Devgan's products contain a bevy of good-for-you ingredients that have all been proven beneficial for the skin in large-scale clinical studies, which is why she says she can count on them being so effective.
Come evening, Devgan winds down with more products from her eponymous line, including the Platinum Vitamin C+, Platinum Glow Serum, and The Neck's Best Thing, all of which are packed with soothing and regenerating ingredients to plump and repair the skin throughout the night. Twice a week, she also uses the Platinum Microdermabrasion Scrub, which contains fruit and tea extracts to help gently slough away dead skin and lingering debris.
As far as treatments go, Devgan can't get enough of the Gold Microinfusion Microneedling Facial, which she explains is a combination of microneedling, micro-dose botox to shrink pores, intradermal filler to soften the skin, and PRP (aka Platelet Rich Plasma) to stimulate stem cells."I developed a lot of fine lines and melasma during my six pregnancies, and this plus my skin-care line has given me my complexion back."
Boston-based plastic surgeon Min Ahn prefers a no-frills routine when it comes to skin care and says he tries to be as simple and efficient as possible. "Most men don’t like complicated skin-care routines, and I feel the same, so in the shower, I use SkinMedica's Facial Cleanser to wash and as a shaving lubricant," he explains. "I even have a mirror set up in the shower," he adds.
Believe it or not, it only takes him 30 seconds to do the whole shebang and then it's straight on to moisturizer. Because his skin is on the oily side, Ahn likes a lightweight one; right now his favorite is SkinMedica Ultra Sheer, as he says it helps hydrate and trap in moisture from the shower without feeling greasy or heavy.
Unlike the aforementioned surgeons, Ahn follows the same exact routine at night as he does in the morning, which makes sense considering his skin-care M.O. However, for evenings when he's feeling a bit drier or dehydrated, he reaches for SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator, a hyaluronic acid-based serum that soothes the skin and delivers immediate — and lasting — hydration. (Fun fact: I'm currently obsessed with this product, too.)
Ahn says he strongly believes that surgeons should treat their bodies with the same care as professional athletes, which is why he makes sure to eat a diet rich in protein, leafy greens, and healthy carbs. (He also avoids sugars and processed foods as much as he can.) He takes probiotics for gut health, fish oil for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and Basis, a supplement he says came from the Harvard/MIT labs.
"It's a combination of two naturally occurring substances — nicotinamide riboside and pterostilbene — that help with mitochondrial health, DNA repair, and many metabolic processes," he says.
Darren Smith is another top doc with a bare-bones routine made up of core skin-care basics. Every morning, he washes his face with Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser — a classic expert favorite — and follows with a low-oil sunscreen like Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid Lotion, which is weightless and never makes his skin appear greasy. And voilá — that's it.
This one might throw you for a loop: Unlike his peers, Smith skips an evening moisturizer altogether. "I'm on the oily side, so after using the same Cetaphil face wash, I just use a 0.05-percent Retin-A every night before bed unless I'm on a beach vacation or otherwise expecting heavier-than-normal sun exposure," he explains. However, in cases when his complexion could use a tad more TLC than usual, he turns to Neutrogena Hydroboost Serum, which is only $20 and chock-full of skin-loving ingredients like glycerin, water, and zinc.
While Smith chooses to forego a face moisturizer at night, he doesn't skimp when it comes to his body. Cetaphil's Daily Advanced Lotion is his hydrator of choice and it costs only $10. Anyone else here for Smith's full drugstore routine?
Now read more on expert skin care:
- 6 Top Aestheticians Reveal Their Favorite Skin-Care Products
- The Best Skin-Care Products Created by Dermatologists, According to a Cosmetic Industry Expert
- These Derms Told Us Their Full Skin-Care Routines
Done reading? Now watch 100 years of acne treatments:
Originally Appeared on Allure