A Plastic Surgeon’s Ultimate Skincare Essentials

The medical resume of Dr. Smita Ramanadham is quite impressive. She spends her days in the OR conducting an array of plastic surgery procedures including those that address the face, body and breast. Dr. Ramanadham understands the importance and delicate mix of beauty, art and science required to rejuvenate the aesthetic appearance of her patients resulting in natural outcomes. Considering the depth of her knowledge, we decided to catch up with the esteemed doctor for her at-home skincare regime. Her key advice on maintaining healthy skin? A well-formulated skincare regimen that will reset the clock to aging well. Below, take a look at her tried-and-true routine plus her must-have cult-favorite beauty products.

Dr. Smita Ramanadham

Haute Beauty: Describe your skincare routine? 

Dr. Smita Ramanadham: My philosophy for skincare is all about prevention and correction. Prevention of fine lines and wrinkles and correction of any skin conditions. For me, that’s acne. I really believe that good skin health lays a strong foundation for aging well and for healing after surgery (facelifts etc).  No matter, what skincare line I use, I always incorporate sunscreen, an antioxidant, and retinol. I have tried more skincare lines that I care to count but, ultimately, I think it’s important to use skincare that is medical grade and science and evidence-based.    ZO skin health has been a line that I always come back to and has been paramount in treating my acne-prone skin. I always cleanse in the morning and at night. I think one of the worst things we can do to our skin skip cleansing at night and getting rid of makeup and all the toxins, dirt, and oils we collect during the day.

My current regimen is primarily all by ZO skin health:

Exfoliating cleanser; oil control pads, exfoliating accelerator, and a 1% retinol skin brightener, and of course sunscreen. My favorite is EltaMD. It’s a broad spectrum of physical zinc-based sunscreen with a good price point and more importantly no smell or residue.  At night, I alternate between advanced radical repair and power defense.

HB: How often do you swap out your products? 

SR: I always use the same core regimen (my cleanser, exfoliating accelerator, oil control pads and retinol skin brightener, sunscreen). I usually make some changes during the winter and summer seasons or when I’m trialing new products for the practice.

For instance, in the winter my skin gets very dry so I exfoliate daily with exfoliating polish by ZO and have to moisturize more. I’ve recently discovered Osmia Balance facial serum. While I usually only use medical-grade skincare, I found that this is moisturizing and leaves my skin brighter without breaking out. In the warmer months, I usually ditch the moisturizers, but I always continue my retinol.  I think there’s a huge misconception that this must be stopped in the summer but generally as long as you maintain sun protection this is safe.

HB: Cult-favorite product right now? 

SR: This is a tricky question because I think “cult favorites” are usually mainstream non-science-based products, meaning there are no studies that compare the formulations against a placebo and have been proven to be beneficial with statistical significance.  There is a lot of hype now around products such as drunk elephant, Tula and fre. think there is definitely a place for these products but if you are really looking at prevention and correction or treatment of melasma, rosacea, acne or other skin conditions we really need to be more aggressive. But that takes commitment as well.  The biggest bang for your buck that all my patients, as well as myself, just love is the retinol skin brightener.  You get all the benefits of retinol with a skin brightener that will even out your skin tone, help with hyperpigmentation/sun spots, and give you an overall glow.

HB: Which facial is a necessity in your skincare routine? 

SR: My favorite right now is the hydrafacial.  It does everything in one.  Cleanses, extracts, and infuses your skin with antioxidants or hyaluronic acids. You can cater the treatment to the specific needs of the patient. You can even treat and infuse the skin with retinol or other acids.

HB: What, if any, supplements do you take for additional skincare support? 

SR: I drink a lot of water, eat a healthy diet, and exercise regularly.  Besides my regular daily multivitamins I haven’t found that some of the other herbals have added too much benefit to my skin health and, frankly, I’m horrible at taking pills.

HB: What skincare tips do you have for the summer months? 

SR: Wear sunscreen!  Here, in the northeast, we don’t see much sun during the year. In fact, most of the spring is filled with rainy overcast skies and we tend to think we can get away with not wearing sunscreen.  UV rays do penetrate through clouds so we need to still protect ourselves.  When it’s finally sunny, we tend to go out and soak it all up.  Sun damage, unfortunately, is real and can lead to skin cancer and premature aging.  So, if you take away one thing from all of this or really only time to do one new thing, it’s this. Sunscreen, all year, every day.