Celebrity dermatologist Dr Kiran Sethi opens up about all things skincare

You might not know who Dr Kiran Sethi is only if you’re living under the rock; she’s *that* skincare guru-turned Instagram content creator that every confused yet curious person scouts for, in hope for some assistance and clarity. She’s one of the most candid dermatologists you will come across — both in person as well as on social media. She likes to keep it simple, honest and doesn’t hesitate to call out common notions to debunk myths in the best favour of her followers. You can expect her to demystify things that leave you perplexed and for the rest (concerns that need personal and expert attention) — she’ll always redirect you to professional help, and not delusional solutions. Recently, she published her first book, Skin Sense, and it’s safe to say that the beauty bible (as she says) became a favourite amongst the industry and beauty enthusiasts in no time. Dr Kiran lets us in the larger scope of her profession and answers questions we all have been meaning to ask her. Scroll down. And, it won’t harm if you keep a cup of hot mint tea to sip on, on the side. 

You’ve been in the field for years now. What’s the best part of your job, according to you?

The best part of my job is engaging with my patients — I love being a part of their journey, of seeing their lives and confidence improve, seeing them become happier. I also love it when they let me into their lives, and that I am able to help them at a deeper level. So, the best part of my job is my lovely patients. The second best part — the results! I love delivering results, especially when I do treatments and procedures like lasers or injectables — they are like art for me. I get to visualise a new look for you, I get to imagine a vision for you and then to achieve it — it’s just a stunning and beautiful way to express my artistic side. I really love the artistic experience of injectables and the treatments that we do combined for a more holistically stunning you. 

In your opinion, what’s the most prominent change in your patients over the years? 

The most prominent change in my patients over the years is that they are becoming more serious about skin health, they are more aware of skin doctors, treatments; I do think though that the problem with this is that they become “Google doctors” but the problem with that is that Google does not offer the depth of experience or knowledge that we doctors have — all it does is make people scared. So while people are more aware, interested and likely to indulge in things that will benefit them (and their skin), the other side of it is that people also get very anxious and scared easily even when they don’t need to.   

What are the two greatest influences on your skin’s health?

Your lifestyle (diet being a part of it) and your skincare. Your diet is key — if you eat a lot of sugar and cheese, it’s going to show on your skin. Your lifestyle also: lack of sleep, excess stress and emotional repression are huge triggers for skin issues. So not acknowledging how you’re feeling and not dealing with it correctly can cause a lot of trauma as well as illness internally and externally. The second thing — skincare — if you’re not going to care for your skin, not wear sunblock, use soap on your face, rub and scrub your skin and use 20 different devices on your skin, it will get damaged. Skincare, or may I say skin love, is very important. 

Today, inside-out beauty has become a trend. What’s your take on that?

I have always been a proponent of inside-out beauty. I have always felt that we have to look inside because that’s the foundation and then move towards the outside. If I am working from the outside first and then inside, then the results are always less than we work both ways. Which is why I feel that we must discuss internal health, diet, stress and lifestyle. If not dealt with correctly and not discussed about, stress can have adverse effects on our overall health. The future will involve a lot of discussion about how we handle our emotions, feelings, stress, etc. Stress and emotional health is well-known to cause worsening psoriasis, acne, eczema, PCOS, and other auto-immune diseases. Our emotional health will play a big part in our treatment plans moving forward. 

What was the experience of writing Skin Sense? What was your aim with the book?

My experience with the book was a lot of work. I studied and read and collated information for a lot of time — 1-2 years — and then I sat down and wrote it, chapter by chapter, with a hell lot of data. My job and experience was to make people understand the basics of skin. I felt like people were exposed to so much false information and they were just lost. I wanted to give everybody a book with all the basics to help them navigate through this complicated world of beauty, skincare and treatments — I thought that I would do everyone a service. So that was my goal — an easy, fun-to-read beauty bible.


What’s one skincare tip you’d like to give all the Gen-Z and millennials out there?

Be intuitive — understand yourself. Understand your skin — what suits your skin, what doesn’t. Is your skin dry in the morning or oily at night, is the weather suiting you, is the new shampoo working for your scalp, is the water too hard, etc. The more sensitive you are towards your skin, the better skincare routine you will be able to establish for yourself. Don’t go with what the outside world is telling — listen to your skin, pay attention to your body and its unique needs. 

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