With notable fans of both her medical-grade skincare line and her impeccable reputation as a plastic surgeon, it’s no surprise that Dr. Lara Devgan has been lauded as one of the best in the game. But for the NYC-based mother-of-six, her passion for what she does is most evident in the life-changing reconstructive surgeries she carries out. She tells The Daily how her work is the perfect marriage of science and beauty.
What age were you when you first knew you wanted to pursue a career in this industry?
I didn’t think I was going to be a plastic surgeon until part way through medical school. I was first drawn to a career in cancer surgery: it was detailed, intricate, and the relationships with the patients were long and collaborative. It also requires a gentleness of spirit, as well as a resilience of character. Those traits resonated with me. I remember a particular day on my surgery rotation when the specialness of plastic surgery really struck me, and it changed my path. I watched the removal of a facial tumor that left a man with half of his jaw missing. It was incredibly skillful, yet sad—his cancer was gone, but he was nothing like his former self. The plastic and reconstructive surgeons performed a beautiful and elegant operation, and the allowed this man to reclaim his own identity. I grew up as a classically trained artist and anatomy was my favorite subject, so in many ways this transition has always been in the cards.
You’re a mom to six kids under 8 years old. Do they all want to be doctors like you when they grow up?
At this point, most of my kids want to be superheroes. To be honest, I would take that!
What does an average day look like for you?
I wake up early, get the kids together for school, and get organized for the day. I like to visualize successful outcomes. Athletes do that before games—for me, every day is a big game! I like to immerse myself in my work by reading articles, watching videos, drawing diagrams, and planning. I still do that for every surgery; it sharpens my focus. Some days I’m in the operating room; I do a lot of facelifts, necklifts, eyelid surgery, lip lifts, and breast and body work. Otherdays, I’m in the procedure rooms, doing nonsurgical treatments, like injectable facial optimization and my famous nonsurgical rhinoplasty. I love skin resurfacing, lasers, and microinfusion microneedling, too. I’m also taking meetings for my skincare line, doing press interviews, working on my academic research, and trying to think differently about the stuff that seems well-defined, because that is how we innovate.
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You have an impressive résumé, but if you had to pick just one career highlight, what would it be?
It’s less about a résumé than it is about the life experiences that have made it. It’s like the Aristotle quote, “Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” The highlights of my career are the life-changing reconstructive cases—helping patients heal their disfiguring burn wounds, rebuild their faces after devastating accidents, reconstruct their breasts after cancer, and reexamine their own faces after surgery for congenital differences and anomalies. The heart and soul of a plastic surgeon is in reconstructive surgery, and these profoundly life-altering cases have made me who I am.
You’re ranked as the No. #1 female plastic surgeon in NYC, but how do you measure your own success?
I have two goals in my medical career. One, to take excellent care of each one of my patients, and two,
to always improve my craft. Success is not a fixed moment in time; it’s an iterative and progressive trend toward improvement. In plastic surgery and in life, every successful outcome is the cumulative result of thousands of tiny decisions. I find it rewarding when it all comes together, whether it’s the global optimization of a face, the beautiful healing of an incision line, or a patient sending me flowers. My goals are big, but my end points are small. If I make the decisions for others that I would want for myself, then I know I’m doing the right thing.
What is it about your job that you love the most?
Helping people in such an intimate and impactful way. I take the role I have as a plastic surgeon seriously, not just in enacting people’s preferences, but also in shaping them. What we do in plastic surgery sets the stage for what is considered ideal, and we have the responsibility to think about that when it comes to shaping the cultural landscape of beauty for the next generation. When I was coming of age as a plastic surgeon, the field was almost cringeworthy— puffy distorted features and ostentatious showiness! The concept of plastic surgery as a smart, nuanced, delicate, complex profession was lost in a pop cultural blur of tackiness. Plastic surgery, back then, sensationalized improbable ideals and made people feel bad about themselves. Now, I think we’re in a new era. The zeitgeist embraces personal identity, and the Internet has globalized the types of features we think of as beautiful. One of my mottoes is: “Subtle is the new dramatic.” I have enjoyed helping people find the beauty in nuance. It’s a careful balance between identity and beauty, and I want my patients to feel they have both.
Have you seen a rise in beauty-related treatments this year?
In a world where masks cover most of our faces, I have seen a tremendous uptick in interest in procedures of the eyes, eyebrows, and upper third of the face. Blepharoplasty and brow lifts have always been a professional niche of mine, but my practice in these areas has exploded. I’m also doing more suture suspension brow lifts and midface lifts, and treating the forehead, temples, and under eyes with injectable contouring at record levels. Even my eyelash serum Platinum Long Lash has experienced a 783 percent increase in sales. Not only are the eyes compelling, but they’re a small way to achieve beauty, femininity, and confidence during a destabilizing time. We’re all under a great deal of stress caused by COVID-19, the stock market, the elections, and the news cycle, but beauty endures despite uncertainty.
Tell us about your skincare line!
I started with the goal of helping my surgical and injectable patients maintain their results at home. It was a small office-based line, a passion project for my personal patients, and it grew organically. Dr. Devgan Scientific Beauty
has been a way for me to reach people thousands at a time, instead of one at a time. I love what I do
on the person-to-person level, but it’s a different kind of challenge to bring a bit of the magic of aesthetic medicine to a larger audience. The skin is the largest organ in the body, and I believe that if people understood it better, they would take their cues about medical-grade skincare from people who have authentic expertise in the matter. I’m trying to demystify the concept of skincare to help people find tailored, medical-grade, quality-driven products with real clinical efficacy.
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Any celebrity fans?
I’m incredibly indebted to Jennifer Aniston for wearing my lip plump on the cover of InStyle; Kim Kardashian for tweeting her facial with my hyaluronic and vitamin C; and Bella Hadid for Instagramming my mask.
What’s the product that people love the most and why? Platinum Lip Plump and Platinum Long Lash are the products that broke the Internet for us. We’ve sold out of both of those more than a dozen times, they’ve both gone viral, and they both capture our message of #ScienceMeetsBeauty. The other thing I was going to mention is our Hyperpigmentation Collection; I truly believe it’s the best and most powerful one on the market today.
Where can we buy your line?
We’re DTC; most of our users shop online or via Instagram. We also have a host of amazing retail partners, including Sephora, Net-a-Porter, and Violet Grey.
Everyone’s skin is going crazy right now. What’s one ingredient to keep our complexions hydrated
Our Hyaluronic Serum. It’s not a regular plain Jane hyaluronic serum like many that you see on the shelves. It’s formulated with niacinamide and growth factors. This means that it doesn’t just hydrate, it also boosts collagen production in the skin. This improves moisture content, decreases inflammation, strengthens barrier function of the skin, and reduces fine lines. I’m so proud that it’s trending on TikTok.
You have a huge following on social media, too. How do you use it as a tool for your work?
I never thought of myself as a social media person or influencer, but here we are! I love technology,
and I have fun with social media. I aim to use it to inform, educate, inspire, and connect. Plastic surgery is an incredibly opaque field shrouded in stigma and confusion; I would like to make it clearer, so that people can make safer and more informed decisions for themselves.
How do you stay balanced throughout it all?