Martha Stewart’s Dermatologist Shares Exclusive Insight on Her Skin-Care Regimen

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Like many of you, I am 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? That’s 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 Stewart chose him to keep her glow top-notch. “If I’m not mistaken, Martha was the first person in our office over five years ago, before we even opened the doors,” says Dr. Bhanusali. “Now, we’re good friends. She trusts me.” With a couple thousand people on the wait list for treatments at his Aesthetica Skin Lab, it’s apparent that many other people trust him as well. Here, the dermatologist gives us an exclusive look at Stewart’s skin-care routine, which he describes as “minimalistic, but regimented.” Read on for all the details behind her plump, glowing skin at 82 years old.

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

“We do a kind of ‘secret menu’ facial for her—I actually did it on Christie Brinkley recently, too, before the Sports Illustrated shoot. We actually do a laser treatment before her facial. It heats up 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’ve been making her specific products. I can’t say what’s in the cocktail, but we’re working 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 novel antioxidants. Martha is outside all day on the farm, so part of my job is figuring out, in addition to sunscreen, what can I do to protect her skin? At 82 years old, she’s been exposed to a lot of sun damage over the years. The little microinjuries we get on a daily basis from being out in the sun too long really add up 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 and also what you can’t see under the skin.”

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

“Her biggest concern right now is sun protection. She’s gone through a bit of self-discovery over the past few years about what makes a good sunscreen. I know she likes the Alastin HydraTint. It’s really good. So, when I craft a product for her, I consider ingredients for protection, hydration and skin barrier health…things that complement sunscreen. What I specialize in is how can we combine ingredients so that one plus one equals three. That’s how we’ve been fortunate to get thousands of positive results through SkinMedicinals, and that’s why so many derms use it.”

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Martha is pretty minimalistic with her skin-care routine right?

“She’s definitely minimalistic and likes to keep it simple. The more she can get out of one product the better. She doesn’t like all the fluff and the 20-step routines. She doesn’t really like exfoliating products very much. She’s more about supporting and caring for her skin, versus the younger generations that exfoliate to death and do so much barrier harm. I think that is starting to shift though as brands like Rhode and others educate about barrier health. [Dr. Bhanusali helped formulate for Rhode with Hailey Bieber.] It might surprise you, but she’s very big on sheet masks—the old-school routine of sheet masks. She uses one every morning, especially if she has a photo shoot. I’ve made them for her in the past, but I’m not sure what she’s using right now.”

And you said she’s very regimented. How so?

“Martha is very regimented. She puts her treatments in her calendar and doesn’t sway from them. If you build a regimen, it’s the best way to maintain your skin. Most people only see a dermatologist when there’s some issue. But, I don’t think that’s the right approach. Try to see 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 wellness. She has a green juice every morning, and she approaches skin care like she approaches general wellness. It’s an important, integral part of her skin care. She’s not doing it just for aesthetics; she knows the job of your skin is to protect you. As time progresses, we become more mindful of that kind of thing.”

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