Salon International Interview
What inspired you to become a doctor in cosmetic dermatology and hair transplant surgery?
I was a working general practitioner in the United Kingdom, and spent most of my years training and working in emergency departments and hospitals throughout the country. However I had always been very passionate about skin as well as beauty so I let my inherent artistic ability to understand the aesthetics of the face take over. I found the field of anti-ageing and skin rejuvenation so fascinating that before I knew it I had amassed a wealth of degrees and certificates in Aesthetic Medicine and Dermatology. I am glad my career took this path as only here I can indulge my passion towards beauty and also be able to treat and help people with skin disease.
Where did you receive your education from?
My basic MBBS degree is from Andhra medical college in Andhra Pradesh where I spent early years of my life. The rest of my life I had spent in the UK, training in hospital medicine, working across different departments such as Accident & Emergency, Obsterics & gynaecology, Psychiatry, Geriatric medicine and finally chose General Practice. I found myself to have an affinity towards skin problems and beauty/cosmetic corrections so I trained under many prominent leading aesthetic physicians and surgeons in procedures such as Botox, Fillers, Peels, Dermaroller, Mesotherapy, Laser procedures and Liposuction. I did my post graduate diploma in Dermatology from the University of Cardiff, Wales in order to progress my career in Aesthetic Medicine. I also travelled to Poland, trained and worked under one of Europe’s finest hair Transplant Surgeons
Tell us about the change of trends that you have witnessed in the past few years?
I see a lot of awareness in the field of Aesthetic medicine. Whereas this area was once dominantly for celebrities and the socialites, today I see most demand coming from the common man. Certainly aspirational crowd is lapping it up be it Laser Hair Removal or Peels or Botox etc.
People are moving away from plastic surgery and other invasive techniques whenever possible. Non- invasive cosmetic treatments are not only safe, effective, requiring little or no anesthesia and recovery period. There is lesser risk and the procedures are often done as lunch time treatments which allows them to resume work immediately afterwards.
I also see more and more men come up and ask for pigmentation removal, acne scar reduction and Laser Hair Removal. Mothers are exposing their daughters to laser hair removal quite early as we now have enough evidence on how safe these treatments are. Similarly not only teenagers embarrassed with acne but people from all of the society are seeking treatments early.
WE have more knowledge about signs and symptoms of ageing which allows us to correct the precise underlying problem so it is possible to lift sculpt and shape an ageing face through Botox and Fillers. These treatments are also increasing in popularity greatly with socialites and celebrities.
Has the spa changed in a big way since the time you had started in terms of services and the look of the spa?
Most startups are small having basic treatments such as skin peels and laser hair removal. Since I started we have invested more into newer lasers and technology like Fractional laser machine which treats acne scars, open pores, pitting etc, an Ultralipo machine that does body contouring and reduces localized areas of stubborn fat, a hydrafacial machine that is a liquid skin polishing system suitable for people with oily skin, blackheads, whiteheads, open pores etc and many more. The skin spas have a lavish look about them and have an aesthetic feel. Some have a soft background music or aromatic candles or flowers. Competitive markets lead you to do your branding exercise better.
Which is the most popular treatment at your spa and why?
Hydrafacial is a popular treatment that shows instantaneous hydrated radiant look. It is also very healthy treatment and skin cleanup that has cleansing, exfoliation, extraction of blackheads and whiteheads and hydration and other steps customized as per your skin needs.
What is the USP of the spa?
At Lejeune Medspa we offer high quality services with latest innovative new age skin treatments that leave you looking younger, radiant and rejuvenated. Consultations are provided by Dr.Shuba Dharmana herself. Always delivering satisfaction and remarkable results is our USP.
Please elaborate on the kind of challenges that you have faced during your career.
The decision to move to India with a budding career in the United Kingdom after having lived and worked over there for 11 years has not been easy. Apart from being a General Practitioner, I was also a Slimming and a Cosmetic Doctor working for 4 other private cosmetic clinics. Additionally I was also running my own clinic ‘Cosmesthetic’ in North London. My career graph in the UK was only climbing up. So I felt very intimidated when I arrived in India amidst all the competition.
Cosmetic Dermatologists here had already had a head start working on stars, celebrities, marketing and positioning themselves as star doctors. Big sets ups, cosmetic giants had multi crore investments and they seemed to be hogging up all the clients with their huge marketing budgets.
I was not too happy with what I had seen in the clinics. Some of these giants were allowing inexperienced doctors and even non-doctors to treat skin problems. I was appalled when I realized how many of my own friends related incidents where these quacks were prescribing steroids for their acne, were performing highly skilled procedures such as Fillers etc with no experience.
My intention was not to compete with these giants but to provide safe standards of care. To allow them to get good British standards of medical care this is a doctor’s primary responsibility. So it helped me a great deal to win the award as I feel now I am able to reach out to plenty more. It has given me a platform in this field from where I am able to make a difference.
I have had some clients who sometimes you took for granted as you were in the same social group, that took treatments and packages but refused to pay up towards the expensive bills they ran of Botox, fat reduction treatments, products etc. But I believe that this was all a learning process so we can improvise and do better.
I write and blog about my treatments almost every day so people have an idea of what they must expect. My ultimate goal is to empower people to make their own judgments about which doctor they should go to and what they should seek.
I am thankful to certain people for recognizing my skills and rewarding me for all my hard work. I’m a naturalized British citizen but half Hyderabadi myself so I am forever grateful to Hyderabad where I started my first clinic that grew very popular and to Tollywood industry that has given us many a client frequenting our clinic doorstep.
What are your future plans? Do you plan to expand to new locations / offer new services?
We have plans of expansion all over India as I want to give several Dermatologist run centres where the dermatologists are trained by me for a specific amount of time, and where there are set protocols and standards of care so the client feels safe and satisfied. We are currently in the process of drawing out a plan and meeting investors but the idea is to have these high quality centres permeate each and every nook of India.