People Who Make NY Special

The Skin Doc Is In

Leading dermatologist Gervaise Gerstner shares her favorite glow-getting tricks.

Photo courtesy of Dr. Gervaise Gerstner

Gervaise Gerstner, M.D. has been beautifying NYC for the past 15 years. Her dermatology clients include many well-known celebrities (she won’t name names, of course), in addition to some of the city’s most prominent movers and shakers. Gerstner remains a funny and frank dermatologist, though, who won’t try to sell you stuff you don’t need. A mother of two teenage girls, Gerstner “gets it” when it comes to being a mom in her 40s (or up) who wants to look and feel their best. Our health and wellness editor Amanda Taylor chatted with Gerstner about how she gets her glowing reviews—and skin.

What Should We Do?!: What is your favorite new skin treatment?
Gervaise Gerstner: Microneedling! It’s a great, easy, inexpensive procedure that is virtually painless and incredibly effective. It even has the ability to stimulate growth of collagen and elastin, which is the key to new, youthful-looking skin.

WSWD: Where do you go for facials?
Gerstner: My office “wife” of 15 years, Joanna, is an aesthetician, so we do the Eminence-style facials here, as well as a combination of oxygen spray, glycolic acid, and microdermabrasion. If someone wants a spa, then I recommend Caudalie on East 68th Street and Madison Avenue. Also, downtown, Naturopathica has great products, tinctures, teas, facials, and massages.

WSWD: Fave massage?
Gerstner: Namaste New York is a home service. It sends highly curated masseurs to your apartment. I do this every Sunday night.

WSWD: Do you balance holistic with Western medicine?
Gerstner: I have gone to many spas and wellness centers and really enjoyed most of them. I have tried acupuncture, moxibustion, cryotherapy, colonics, cupping, mediation, and water therapy, but I am curious about the cutting-edge treatments in Spain like UV photo light therapy, telomere analysis, and ozone therapy.

WSWD: What have you found to be most effective? What has worked best for what specific ailments?
Gerstner: I am a big fan of acupuncture combined with moxibustion. Moxibustion is a term derived from the Japanese word mogusa or mo kusa, meaning “burning herb.” It is used to strengthen the immune system, to warm the body, and to bring more chi and blood flow to an area. It’s especially useful for the treatment of pain. In NYC, I go to a very small, nondescript place that is fabulous called Revival Acupuncture and see Dr. Chung. 

WSWD: Do you tell your patients to use chemical-free products?
Gerstner: I don’t think it is necessary to seek out chemical-free makeup. I don’t recommend gel polish, as it can damage nails, and I think soaking in acetone should be avoided. For my teenage daughters, I try to use mostly organic products like Eminence; it has a full acne line.

WSWD: Favorite sunblock?
Gerstner: Natura Bissé has a great “sheer cure” tinted face sunscreen. Coola has the best organic sprays and lip sunscreen; my kids love them.

WSWD: Favorite exercise routine or places?
Gerstner: I have a Pilates reformer at home that I use. Also, I like Chaise Fitness band classes and reformers (I recommend Amy or Elyse), SoulCycle on East 83rd Street with Emma, and a quick loop of the Central Park reservoir. I have an adorable trainer, Jason Castano, who helps me build up my arms and bone density. SLT is fun and hard, too. I recommend Dare and Melody at the East 67th Street location.

WSWD: Vitamin drips seem to be making a comeback. Are they worthwhile?
Gerstner: Honestly? Kind of a hoax. But if you are dehydrated or hungover and have a certified internist to hang a bag of saline, then OK.