Interviews

Park Avenue Plastic Surgeon Lara Devgan Talks Podcasts, Pantene, and Diet Coke

Jane Larkworthy
Dr. Lara Devgan

Courtesy

To call Lara Devgan a force of nature is an understatement. She is as intelligent as she is beautiful, as funny as she is thoughtful and she has more kids than you probably do (six!).  All that, and she’s a doctor. Not just any doctor, but one of the most sought-after plastic surgeons out there today, having earned a reputation for giving patients results.

As an English major undergrad at Yale, Devgan was led toward medicine through her love of writing.

“I found myself increasingly drawn to stories that were about healthcare and medical types of issues,” she remembers. “I’d written about people close to me who had experienced health challenges, but I realized that instead of describing the medical procedures, I actually wanted to do those sorts of things myself.”

She originally wanted to be a cancer surgeon, but she would always linger to observe what the plastic surgeons did after the cancer had been removed, so she switched her specialty. After graduating from Johns Hopkins Medical School in 2007, the Malibu, CA native moved to New York and, through the auspices of New York Presbyterian Hospital, rotated through all the legends, including doctors.

The driven doctor started her career by taking tons of calls in all of the area hospitals, treating issues from broken facial bones to hand injuries, and even helping an indigent breast cancer patient without health insurance.  “I was available for anybody — I wasn’t too good for anything,” she says. “When you’re like that at the beginning of your career, it stays with you forever.”

Today, from her Park Avenue practice on New York’s Upper East Side, her work focuses mostly on eyes, face and breasts, but she says that non-surgical procedures are a huge part of the practice, too. She credits much of that to advancements in aesthetic medicine.  

“With technologies that are available today, you can accomplish a lot with, little invasiveness and at a lower expense,” says Devgan. “The barrier of entry into aesthetic medicine is very much lower today than it was, say, 10 or 20 years ago. It’s no longer [the idea of] waking up on your 60th birthday and getting a massive overhaul. Today, some of my changes start thinking about things like injectable wrinkle reducer when they are around 30.”

[Editor’s note: Injectable wrinkle reducers are a temporary medical treatment designed to smooth the look of moderate to severe wrinkles in certain areas of the face. As with all medical treatments, there are risks and possible side effects, so talk to your doctor to see what’s best for you. Have more questions? Chat with a trained aesthetic specialist now.]

She also cites social media for the transparency on all these procedures.  “There’s this whole phenomenon of unmasking the secrets that used to be hidden in the dark recesses of a doctor’s office,” she continues. “Now, we’re showing procedures on time-lapse feed on Instagram. The internet has the made the world very small.”

At the behest of her patients, Devgan launched Dr. Devgan Scientific Beauty™ three years ago. After sending them on “wild goose chases” to gather the products she wanted them to use, she took the matter in her own hands and created what she wanted them to use, and what she now uses herself. Word has spread about the line, thanks in no small part to a certain influencer who shouted out her Gold Infused Collagen Treatment Mask ($25) early on.

And, finally, there is her podcast. Beauty Bosses made its debut in February and is currently a seriously impressive number three in the beauty and fashion category.

“We’ve had amazing guests — really funny people, really serious people. Its run the gamut from Sarah Maslin Nir, the Pulitzer prize winner who wrote the nail salon expose piece for the New York Times to Jill Kargman, whose every other word was a bleep-able one, only we don’t bleep. She is hilarious, super real and very earnest. Most of my guests are friends or patients, or both. I just call them up and say, ‘Hey! Do you want to chat for 20 or 30 minutes?’” (Spotlyte’s own Alexandra Wilkis Wilson even participated in an episode!)

Devgan points to How I Built This® as inspiration for Beauty Bosses, the joy of it largely derived from highlighting women other than herself. “One of the less palatable things about my industry is what I perceive as constant self-promotion, so I wanted to do something that was timely and interesting, and to talk about people who were making it and how they got there.”

She makes it all look so easy…So, of course, we wanted to know more, specifically about her own routine and how she manages to juggle it all.

Combine your passion hobbies with what’s most important.

“Everything related to my work is one part of my life, and then everything related to my family is the other part. To whatever extent I have hobbies, I incorporate them into my job or with my family. I like drawing, so I do art class with my kids. I like media, so I do a podcast. I’ve made my hobbies around those two things, but I’m not as fun as I used to be!”

Choose your vices, and give yourself a break for having one or two.

“I don’t know if I’d get through the day without Diet Coke®, and I definitely put some fake sugar molecules in my tea, but I think we all have our own virtues and vices. I just focus on being really good about a few things, like sleeping on my back and having a really great skin care routine and being meticulous about removing my makeup. But as a result, I have to allow myself fake sugar and Diet Coke and staying up a little late.”

Manicures aren’t a necessity.

“Sarah Maslin Nir’s nail salon expose article in the New York Times kind of ruined getting a manicure for me. That, and not having time to get one!”

Celebrate individuality.

“There is no longer one definition of beauty. In a previous era, patients wanted to look like a model on a cover of a magazine, but now they come in wanting to look like a better version of themselves . . . the idea that you want to look like a better version of yourself as the goal is a little more grounded, in my opinion. I think it could signify that people are more comfortable with themselves.”

Never underestimate the redeeming qualities of a white lab coat.

“I love fashion, but sometimes the best accessory for a Chanel® shift dress is my lab coat. How can you not love a garment that is drapey, knee-skimming and figure flattering? Not to mention all the utility pockets!”

Follow an at-home regimen.

“I use my Revitalizing Cleanser, which is gentle enough to use twice a day, but thorough enough to really exfoliates and rid skin of impurities. Then I use my Hyaluronic Serum and my Eye Repair Complex. I’m not a big fan of skin makeup, so I use my SPF, which is a titanium dioxide-based SPF 45. it’s a nice physical block, but it’s also a tinted moisturizer and BB cream in one. It contains a proprietary pigment that blends to any skin tone. At night, I use Vitamin C+ Luminous Night Serum and Glow Serum, which is a retinol. And I use my Long Lash serum twice a day, and Lip Plump if I’m going out.”

[Editor’s Note: People who are pregnant or considering getting pregnant shouldn’t use Retinol based products. Please be sure to consult your doctor before using.]

Believe in the judicious use of injectables.

“I do think that the face is like a piece of paper: if you fold it and unfold it a thousand times, at a certain point, it becomes hard to smooth it out. I probably do it about every four months.

[Editor’s Note: Injectable wrinkle reducers should be administered no sooner than every three months.]

I have self-administered in the past, but I’ve recently decided that I’m too old to do that. There’s a little bravado attached to it (‘Look at me! I’m doing my own wrinkle reducer!’), but I think it’s not the wisest decision. I have three amazing nurse injectors, so I have a lot of options.”

[Editor’s note: Injectable wrinkle reducers are temporary treatments that reduce moderate to severe frown lines. Like any medical treatment, there are risks and possible side effects, so talk to your doctor about what’s right for you.]

“I’m a Pantene® kind of girl.”

“I’ve always had long hair, so it was very distressing when it thinned after giving birth to my fifth baby. But I did five rounds of PRP injections (on myself!) and that really helped restore my hair happiness quotient! I see John Barrett, and Luis Perez at his salon for my cut and color needs, respectively. Other than that, I’m a Pantene kind of girl.”

Six kids are cardio.

“My husband and I love SoulCycle®, but we also have to chase our kids around, which is kind of like cardio and strength training at once!”

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