She is one of South India’s Mompreneur and leading Medpreneur, who has been pioneering the latest in skin and hair technology for many years now. Medical director and chief dermatologist, Skin Health Foundation, Dr Bhairavi Senthil is a qualified practitioner who has been blessed with the gift of beauty. Her magic wand can turn anyone from a Plain Jane to a Beautiful Princess. Provoke Magazine in a candid conversation with the ace doctor who combines beauty and medicine so effortlessly and seamlessly.
You are one of the pioneers in your field. What motivated you to choose this profession?
I practice dermatology and I’m very passionate about making people beautiful. So I beautify with medicine. This is a field which is still new in India. If you’re a medical practitioner, you save lives. But it’s also about adding values and that’s what I do. As a child, I was always surrounded by beauty. My mother is an artist and used to make beautiful Tanjore paintings. She was always into interior designing and there was always beauty all around me. My father was a medical practitioner and had a very busy practice. He was a doctor who loved medicine. So combining beauty and medicine and growing around this itself was one of the major reasons that I’m where I am. But I had an innate liking towards beautification and all things beautiful. I love to dress up and I love fashion. And that’s why I chose this profession that combines beauty and medicine.
How tough was it and what were the challenges that you had to face? How did you overcome them?
When I was doing my undergraduation in medicine it was a time when aesthetics had not caught up in India, but it was already trending across the world. So when I finished my undergraduation, I was inspired to travel around the world and I had to train myself in various sections in my field. It was a challenge as there were not many people practicing medicine in our country. So when I had to start practicing, convincing people and to customising.
In your field, like in many others, one has to keep changing with the times and adapt to new technology and innovations. How do you ensure that you’re always ahead in your field?
It’s been 12 years of practicing medicine at The Skin Health Foundation, the centre I’ve developed. This field of aesthetics has developed so much. We are always ahead in bringing the latest technology here, but still there are a lot of technologies that India is yet to experience that’s already existing around the world. But to bring that here and be the first to do it, is my future plan. I have already expanded a lot in this field of aesthetics that I am in. It’s no more targeting a disease or just solving a problem temporarily. It’s about believing in skin and hair health in a complete manner. I will continue to work and do my best in improving health combined with beauty.
What are the skin and hair related treatments that Skin Health Foundation offers? What are some of the latest trends and technology that you have adapted in your centres currently?
At Skin Health Foundation, we have the best of skin, hair and nails as well. We also have a medi salon concept for grooming. The first thing we do is to assess their clinical history, understanding what they want when it comes to beautifying them and then customising the treatments for them. When it comes to skin, we work on their skin health, like giving them a customised skin care programme that they can follow. If they have hair issues, we have customised hair care programmes including topical and internal medications. If you look at their special aspects we work on their overall health care. We also have a lot of body treatments like non-surgical body sculpting and we also have customised programmes for brides-to-be and mommy makeovers that are very popular. When it comes to skin, it’s not just a superficial programme, we work internally as well. We have a wellness programme called Respire, where we customise nutrition programmes as well.
You’re often cited as the Derma Angel by your industry stalwarts. What has taken you to get to where you are today?
The first thing is about being passionate about what you do. I love what I do and it’s something that comes very naturally to me. Being first is always very exciting and you’re always remembered only if you’re being first in something. So a passion and a desire to bring something new and exciting has always stayed with me. I think it’s all because I have a true passion and a desire to be a pioneer in my field.
Any words of wisdom you would like to share with those budding doctors out there?
The future is great and exciting and it will be exactly how you want it if you have dreamt of it, so just be a little patient.
You have won several awards and recognitions. What do you hold really dear to your heart?
It’s always great to feel honoured and being recognised for various achievements in your field, but though I’m a medical practitioner, being recognised as a female entrepreneur has always felt very special. We are medpreneurs or med-entrepreneurs, because apart from rendering services and treatments as a medical practitioner, we are also running our own business as well, so being recognised as a woman entrepreneur is special for me and yes, I’ve won quite a few awards in that category.
What is your personal skin care regime?
Whatever I suggest to others, is also what I practice. There are certain basic skin care rules that everyone must follow and customise it to what suits your skin. I cleanse my face with the right face wash in the morning and never forget to cleanse my face at night before sleeping. I follow the basic rules of cleansing, toning and moisturising. Try and incorporate some of the basic ingredients in your skin care kit like Vitamin A, C, E, using a sunscreen and so on. I practice what I preach.
What have been some of the highpoints in your journey so far?
I was the first to establish a skin boutique. I always felt tailored skin treatments in a zen like visually appealing interior set up, made a lot of difference. Treatment outcome is what I strive for. Being the first to bring any skin and hair technology in India has always been a high point for me.
In your field, like in many others, one has to keep changing with the times and adapt to new technology and innovations. How do you ensure that you’re always ahead in your field of skin care and skin health?
Fortunately, I’ve had the dons in skincare as my mentors, especially Dr. Zein Obaji who is a pioneer in skin health, being associated with top dermatologist and inventors and formulators and my constant effort to learn new skin and hair care has been instrumental in my success.
How often do you travel overseas to bring home the latest that the world of skin care has to offer?
Well it was literally every month before the pandemic. Our country is still a little slow when it comes to aesthetic dermatology, so to keep up my thirst for knowledge, travelling to various conferences and expos around the world is a must and I’ve been doing that.
What sets Skin Health Foundation apart from the others around?
We are result oriented and do not compromise on treatment quality or standards of treatments. Most skin care professionals try to stay conservative. I believe in more correction based skin care protocols. “There’s no change without reaction!” We cater to all kinds of skin, hair, nail needs and more. Beautifying while keeping health in mind is what we do, all under one roof.
Usually as a dermatologist, it’s about treating disease, or a skin condition, but what I believe is that taking care of internal and skin health is the ultimate key to enhancing one’s beauty.
Our clinic was the first to even establish “Bevell” – a medi salon with the concept of safe grooming.
We have a skin lab, face lab, hair lab, body lab, wellness lab – head to toe, in and out. We are also associated with a vast number of local and international medical faculty, that aid our clients for any other associated medical conditions.
As we all know that it’s not easy to balance work and home and giving both equal importance. What’s your mantra for this act of balancing personal and professional life so beautifully?
Women in general have this special trait of multitasking and I must say I have this gift too. Like any other working woman I balance my personal and professional life too. You need to have an understanding family and I’m blessed with that. Having a family that understands my profession and respecting it is a blessing.
Would you like to share something about your support system?
I have my husband as my pillar of strength. His constant encouragement and unconditional love is what keeps me going. He has the power to change a very low day into a very positive one. I feel that everyone, however successful we are as a professional, ultimately the success is determined by peace and soulful fulfilment that can only be truly felt with the right life partner. I feel truly blessed to have my soul mate as my husband.
What is the cutest thing you’ve heard during your pregnancy?
Usually pregnancy is a period when women get conscious of the way they look. I wanted to continue looking glamourous even during pregnancy and lot of my clients also admired and appreciated that about me, the way I was dressing up throughout the pregnancy, my skin and hair health and also taking care of myself.
Anything special that the last two years 2020-21 have taught you?
As were hit by the global pandemic over the last two years, life has changed everbody and for me as well. Even though it’s been such a tough period, we have also learnt to live our lives much better than before and improvise in various ways. I’ve been doing a lot of online consultations and finding ways to dispense medications to patients, through online and courier services. Personally for me, I’ve learnt to respect relationships and got the precious time to spend with my family. If you look at the medical aspects, we also improved technically as doctors and got time to hone our skills and knowledge too. It’s actually been a very enriching experience.
What are your other passions and hobbies?
I’m a big movie buff. I love watching movies. Now it’s a lot of Netflix and a lot of series that I watch. I love watching some of them with my family. I loved watching Modern Family. I also like dark comedies. If I really like something I binge watch. I also like mystery, investigation and crime thrillers too. I don’t really get much time at hand, but whenever I do, I try and catch up on the latest series.
What’s your mantra that you live by?
In our society, taking care of yourself is not encouraged a lot. Once you’re married it’s ok to look a certain way, but I feel that self-care is self-respect and every human being should respect themselves – whether it is taking care of themselves or their health or even for superficial beauty. It’s all for your own self and mental satisfaction. It’s ok to invest in yourself and give yourself time and the gift of beauty. So, my mantra is – Self care is self-respect. I’m so happy celebrating my pregnancy and me being a doctor, a wife and a mother, makes me feel so special.
– By Namita Gupta