Dr. Lara Devgan is a board-certified, Yale-educated, Johns Hopkins Medical School-instructed, and Columbia/New York Presbyterian Hospital-trained plastic and reconstructive surgeon. Her special interests are cosmetic surgery of the face and body, and reconstructive surgery for breast cancer, skin cancer, and facial injuries. She is also the creator of Dr. Devgan Scientific Beauty, a luxury medical-grade skin care line and the host of an acclaimed podcast, Beauty Bosses. She lives with her husband and six children on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

Can you describe your practice?

My practice focuses on cosmetic surgery and non-surgical treatments for the face, breasts, and body. Plastic surgery is a tricky topic. Like most smart, career-oriented women of our era, I was raised to think that women of substance didn’t or shouldn’t care about superficial things like plastic surgery — that it was frivolous, for airheads, for people without anything better to do. The truth is that the term “plastic surgery” still conjures up some of those same emotions in many of us. But the reality of my work is far more nuanced. My patients are discerning and intelligent people who want to feel a little fresher, more rested, and more confident. They want to feel like the reflection staring back at them in the mirror reminds them of how they feel on the inside and how they think of themselves with their eyes closed. I believe that you can be a person of substance and also care about your appearance — whether that means wearing high heels, putting on mascara, or getting botox.

Most common procedures and complaints?
The most common thing I hear in my daily life is that people don’t feel as fresh as they would like to — they are looking more tired, noticing a heaviness or descent of the midface, a loss of perkiness of body shape, a sprinkling of blemishes like brown spots and fine lines that they didn’t remember a few years ago. The most common ways of treating those are nonsurgical — lasers, microneedling, chemical peels, and most of all, injectables like botox and fillers.
What’s your favorite “best bang for the buck” procedure/treatment?
Without a doubt, injectables. Injectable fillers are extremely powerful with minimal downtime and, in most cases, are less expense than surgery. Results can be customized for patient desires and goals but can be very subtle and delicate. It’s almost like the modern version of medical make-up, where we can use a microdroplet amount of filler and create the feeling of a surgical nosejob, smooth out dark circles, or accentuate contoured cheekbones. I have thousands of examples of these procedures on my practice Instagram page, and in a way it’s a fitting place to house them — I think social media and the concept of filters and FaceTune have changed our expectations about what we want from cosmetic treatments. It’s about being the subtly micro-optimized version of ourselves, not about looking like the supermodel on the magazine cover.
Our resident millenial (Sidney) has a theory that mascara dissolves our eyelashes? Is that remotely possible? And how do you feel about Latisse?
I don’t think mascara dissolves eyelashes. Latisse does enhance eyelash growth, but it also can make blue and green eyes brown, discolor the skin around the eyes, and cause hollowing of the orbital fat. I actually created an eyelash growth serum that supports eyelash and eyebrow length and growth without these negative side effects. Eyelashes are interesting, actually, because they are a great example of how 1-2 millimeters can change the way you feel about your face.
What’s the biggest mistake most women make with their facial care routine?
Not investing in it. Your skin is the largest organ on your body and your facial complexion is the easiest way to communicate your health status, age, and vigor. We should shop for our skin care products like medicine — ones that work, with medical-grade ingredients and physician authenticity — not like makeup or fashion or fun feel-good purchases. Ingredients like caviar and dead sea salt are not really doing anything for your skin.
What’s the best splurge for a “I have to look my most amazing this season” moment?
A tiny amount of filler in the lips can look amazing — and I’m not talking about overfilled duck lips or trout pouts. The lips peak in fullness at age 14-18 and shrink every year thereafter, and even more rapidly in the 40s and 50s when estrogen and progesterone balance changes dramatically. A tiny amount of well-placed filler can create a youthful, juicy, but still elegant and natural look. There is a reason why lipstick is the number one cosmetic purchase in the world — the lips convey so much about facial identity, beauty, femininity, and style.
There are so many expensive beauty products out there — one could easily spend hundreds of dollars on fancy creams and serums. What’s a woman on a limited budget to do? What’s the best thing she can buy at CVS for her face?
For minimalists, my bare bones beauty essentials are: mineral SPF (with zinc or titanium or both, SPF 40 or greater) every single day, rain or shine, retinoid (some of the pricier ones are gentler and more effective, but you could definitely start out with an inexpensive drugstore brand) for fine lines, and vitamin C serum for antioxidant protection and fading brown spots.
We hear conflicting things about sunscreen. What’s your position? Every day? Strength? Brands? Anything to stay away from completely?
See above. I would stay away from chemical sunscreens. Mineral protection is better.
Women in our cohort suffer from our facial skin becoming rougher/bumpier looking. What do you recommend for treatments to make skin appear smoother?
Everyone is so different that I would definitely start out by seeing a board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist. Rough skin could mean dryness in one person, rosacea in another, skin cancer in a third, or an allergic reaction in a fourth. And there are probably a dozen other possibilities as well! There is no one-size-fits-all approach to skin. A very basic starting regimen assuming someone is totally healthy would be a retinol to improve skin cell turnover and texture, and also to reduce fine lines and dark spots.
Any opinion on rosehips oil as a daily moisturizer?
It can be great for some skin types but can be comedogenic (clog pores) for others.
Thoughts on Retin A? Should we all be using it? Any particular strength/brand?
See above! See your doctor for exact strength recommendations. I love and use my own Platinum Glow Serum from Dr. Devgan Scientific Beauty.
Tags : skincare
The Woolfer Newsletter Team
Stephanie Staal and Nina Collins have worked together and adored each other since 1994 when they were both babies in the world of book publishing. Stephanie is a lawyer, journalist, & author of READING WOMEN, and Nina is the founder of "What Would Virginia Woolf Do?" Hillary Richard is also a lawyer and co-host of the Raging Gracefully podcast. Sidney Morss is a recent NYU grad and the youngest member of our team.

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