More Than Skin Deep -Dr. Shuba Dharmana

Some of the most famous men have been brutally honest in their explanation of what beauty really is. American author, poet and critic Edgar Allan Poe opines – “There is no exquisite beauty… without some strangeness in the proportion” while Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy, in the The Kreutzer Sonata says – “It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness.” Though purists will disagree with this school of thought, realists tend to look the other way, choosing to accept factors like age, lines, wrinkles and hair loss as part and parcel of living and finding ways instead to combat these cosmetic factors that play such a huge, pivotal role in the life of every man and woman.  Dr. Shuba Dharmana, renowned cosmetic dermatologist, hair transplant surgeon and laser specialist from Bengaluru is one such realist. Our cover girl this month is not just stunning herself, she also has the skill and precision to enhance a person’s beauty through the path-breaking treatments and services available at her clinics in Hyderabad and Bengaluru. RITZ chats up with the gorgeous doctor, finding out more about her passion for work, her plans for the future and what exactly her take on cosmetic dermatology is.

The Entrepreneur

“There’s still a myth in India that surrounds cosmetic enhancement treatments that needs to be broken. When I was offered the opportunity to head a chain of cosmetic enhancement clinics in Hyderabad, I felt I owed it to my profession and myself as a professional to come home and work towards breaking these myths that are still lodged tight in the minds of people,” says the svelte 37-year-old doctor who delivered a baby just 10 months ago, but looks like she’s stepped off the ramp. “I was always inclined towards the beauty business and began with a career in modelling. But I soon realised that being behind the camera was not all that I wanted to do. I wanted to do something more permanent, more progressive and innovative. Hence I decided to study medicine and chose cosmetic dermatology as my field of specialization. Today, with the amount of advancement we see in science and medicine, we’re able to offer clients some of the best forms of cosmetic treatments, using highly superior products and techniques at extremely competitive costs”.

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“Cosmetic enhancement is no more about crude facelifts and plastic surgery. It’s about rejuvenating and highly safe filler and botox treatment, technologically advanced hair transplants, precise laser procedures and beauty and aesthetic treatments like Hydra Facials, Snake Venom Facials, Fractional Laser Treatments, Elase Laser and much more”.

Dr. Shuba graduated from the Andhra Medical College after which she left for the UK to pursue further studies. There she was trained in General Medicine and Dermatology. During this period she researched much on anti-ageing and considered a great deal about skin diseases and aesthetic medicines. In London, she worked under eminent cosmeticians and got to learn a lot about Aesthetic Medicine. “There was so much for me to learn; I realised that I could offer people beauty enhancement options. I attended conferences like “Faces” and “Anti-Ageing Medicine World Congress” that boosted my spirits. Later, I undertook training in lasers and became a specialist in that as well,” she explains

Having worked with several hospitals in the UK for over ten years, while at London, she successfully established two clinics – The Ultimate Beauty in Luton and Cosmesthetic in West London. She also worked in several other private cosmetic clinics like NSCC (National Slimming and Cosmetic Clinics) and NovoLondon. Later, she obtained a Post Graduate Diploma in Dermatology from the University of Cardiff and began her specialised practice in dermatology. She has been trained in hair transplantation techniques in Poland and has also worked under one of Europe’s most reputed hair transplant surgeons, Dr. Marwan Safi.

LeJeune literally means ‘The Young’. An initiative started by Dr. Shuba in March 2012, she established her presence in India with Dr.Shuba Skin & Laser Clinic in Madhapur, Hyderabad and then opened the LeJeune brand in Bengaluru.

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“LeJeune Medspa was started with the goal of providing the latest high standard revolutionary treatments in anti-ageing and skin rejuvenation methods. The treatments here are well balanced, holistic, including a detailed analysis of skin texture and tone and the programmes are supplemented with neutraceuticals, skinceuticals and sun care products for youthful, glowing and healthier looking skin,” she explains.

Though botox and fillers are her area of specialty, Dr. Shuba says that these days it’s more of hair transplants that she’s doing. “Probably because hair treatment is the most acceptable form of cosmetic enhancement and people are willing to take that initial step and try it. It’s progress in my books,” she tells, adding that people need to understand that most cosmetic enhancement treatments are without side effects, very safe and perfectly acceptable in today’s day and age.

“I’ve had a lot of film stars, especially from the South Indian industry come to me for treatment. They’ve been extremely happy with the results and keep coming back for further enhancement. I’m more keen now to reach out of that fraternity and help the masses though my skills and knowledge,” tells the lady who was declared Best Woman Dermatologist 2015 at the All India 6th Annual Women Leaders Conclave, Mumbai and Woman Entrepreneur of the Year 2012 at the Pharmaleaders Summit, Mumbai. She is also brand ambassador for Eyova Egg Oil, a new-age product containing bioactives that heal and strengthen hair naturally. Due to her association with the film fraternity and her own penchant for beauty and style, Dr. Shuba also frequently judges beauty pageants and is constantly in the news for her innovative treatments and skills.

The Fashionista

In keeping with her image and nature of work, Dr. Shuba, along with being a dedicated professional, is also extremely conscious of her image and is a staunch propagator of healthy living. “I’ve shed 10 kilos in 10 months post pregnancy,” she tells us proudly, the figure she’s shown off in her pictures being testament to the fact. Fashion and an experimental sense of style come naturally to her. “I was a model in the early days and I even acted in a Singhalese film,” she tells us with pride. “I’m extremely conscious of what I wear and always tell my associates that it’s mandatory to dress appropriately for every occasion, be it work or a party.

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Her favourite designers, she tells, are Dolce & Gabbana and Chanel. “Sometimes I buy Roberto Cavalli as well, but I feel Dolce & Gabbana and Chanel are timeless and ever-elegant. Though I’m extremely experimental in my way of dressing I still play it safe by sticking to solid colours and straight styles. Though I do follow trends, I tend to tweak them to suit my personal taste,” she explains, propping her feet up on the couch in Ottimo, the fine dining Italian restaurant at ITC Royal Gardenia, where we’re taking her pictures. She’s sporting a pair of 5-inch heeled Cavalli boots – furry foot accessories that not only jazz up her outfit, but also reflect her unorthodox personality. “I love to dress in Rakesh Agarvwal for the evening but choose more high-street fashion for the day. At work you’ll mostly see me in a shift dress.”

And in keeping with her profession, Dr. Shuba isn’t shy to admit that she’s tried several cosmetic enhancement treatments on herself. “That’s what we’re taught at medical school in the UK,” she tells. “A doctor must always be able to experience the treatment, the pain, the entire process of the procedure he/she is performing on the patient. Only then will we be able to counsel clients correctly on the kind of treatment they need and what to expect when they undergo it.”

The Woman

Married to one of Bengaluru’s most prominent architects Anshul Chodha, Dr. Shuba is a dedicated mother to her 10 month old baby son and a caring wife and daughter. “I know how important it is for a mother to be there for her child during the initial years and I’ve tried to cut back on my working hours and rush home by 4 pm to spend the evenings with the baby and my family,’ she tells.

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When she’s not playing with her son, entertaining him with numerous toys, books and songs, she’s working out vigorously and trying hard to keep her diet and lifestyle as natural and organic as possible. “I think it’s important for a woman to keep herself fit and understand her body. Though I’m working on scaling up my business and am looking for franchise partners from all across India for my hair transplant and medspa clinics, I’m also looking to partner with someone and open a health food restaurant and health food/supplement store.

I want to spread the fitness mantra across to as many as I can and want to inform more people on how to eat healthy and live clean,” she says.