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Martha Stewart’s Skincare Routine: Her Dermatologist Tells All

Martha Stewart’s Skincare Routine: Her Dermatologist Tells All

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Like many of you, I’m still not over Martha Stewart’s “unfiltered” selfie last year that nearly broke the internet. ‘There’s no filter, that’s just her skin. It’s amazing,” says her New York-based dermatologist Dhaval Bhanusali, MD. “I got so many messages from people saying, ‘Are you kidding me? Is that her real skin?’ And I promise you, it’s not photoshopped.”

Known for his creative, Willy Wonka-esque approach to dermatology, it’s no surprise that Stewart chose him to keep her glow top. “If I’m not mistaken, Martha was the first person in our office over five years ago, even before we opened the doors,” says Dr. Bhanusali. ‘Now we are good friends. She trusts me.” With a few thousand people on the waiting list for treatments at his Aesthetica Skin Lab, it’s clear that many other people trust him too. Here, the dermatologist gives us an exclusive look at Stewart’s skincare routine, which he describes as “minimalist, but sleek.” Read on for all the details behind her plump, glowing skin at age 82.

What kind of facial treatment does Martha get at your Skin Lab?

“We do a sort of ‘secret menu’ facial for her – I did it to Christie Brinkley recently too, before the Sports illustrated to shoot. We actually do a laser treatment before her facial. It warms her dermis – the deeper layer of skin – and then we apply a custom cocktail of serums that I made for her. Most people don’t know this, but for the past few years I have been making specific products for hair. I can’t say what’s in the cocktail, but we work with next-generation ingredients. We worked hard to find the right balance for her mature skin.”

Tell me more about these next-generation ingredients.

“One of the big things we’re looking at is new antioxidants. Martha is out on the farm all day, so part of my job is figuring out what, besides sunscreen, can I do to protect her skin? She is 82 years old and has been exposed to a lot of sun damage over the years. The small micro-injuries we sustain every day when we are out in the sun for too long accumulate over time. They result in discoloration, sagging, etc. When Martha comes in for facials, we do a VISIA analysis to look at any sun damage or redness. It analyzes what you can see on the surface, but also what you cannot see under the skin.”

Is that Martha’s biggest skin problem right now, sun damage?

“Her main concern at the moment is the sun protection. She’s done a bit of self-discovery in recent years about what makes a good sunscreen. I know she likes the Alastin HydraTint. It’s really good. So when I create a product for hair, I think about ingredients for protection, hydration, and skin barrier health…things that complement sunscreen. What I specialize in is how we can combine ingredients so that one plus one equals three. That’s how we’ve been fortunate to achieve thousands of positive results through SkinMedicinals, and that’s why so many dermatologists use it.”

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Martha is pretty minimalist with her skincare routine, right?

“She is absolutely minimalist and likes to keep things simple. The more she can get out of one product, the better. She doesn’t like all the fuss and twenty-step routines. She doesn’t really like exfoliating products. She is more concerned with supporting and caring for her skin than with the younger generations who exfoliate to death and cause so much barrier damage. However, I think this is starting to change as brands like Rhode and others educate about barrier health. (Dr. Bhanusali helped formulate for Rhode with Hailey Bieber.) It may surprise you, but she’s really into sheet masks—the old-fashioned routine of sheet masks. She uses one every morning, especially when she has a photo shoot. I’ve made them for her in the past, but I’m not sure what she uses now.

And you said she’s very disciplined. How come?

‘Martha is very disciplined. She puts her treatments in her agenda and does not deviate from them. Establishing a regimen is the best way to maintain your skin. Most people only go to a dermatologist if there is a problem. But I don’t think that’s the right approach. Try to visit a dermatologist at least once a year to determine what is best for your skin as you age. Most of our patients who “age well” are more proactive.

Martha also really cares about well-being. She drinks a green juice every morning and approaches skin care the way she approaches general wellness. It is an important, integral part of her skin care. She doesn’t just do it for the aesthetics; she knows that your skin’s job is to protect you. As time goes on, we become more aware of things like that.”

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