Meet the Dermatologist Who Wants To Save You Money -- And Just Hit a $200 Million Milestone for Patients
Entrepreneur spoke to Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali, the dermatologist behind Martha Stewart's glowing skin (and Hailey Bieber's skincare line) about his healthcare tech company Skin Medicinals and what it is like being a "doctorpreneur."
Physicians are considered to be problem solvers — they examine a patient, determine the issue at hand, and create an effective course of action to fix it.
But for Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali, a New York-based dermatologist and founder of Hudson Dermatology and Laser, merely solving problems is not enough. Whether he's seeing celebrity clients like Martha Stewart, advising a "disappearing" semi-permanent tattoo company, or helping Hailey Bieber formulate her breakthrough skincare line, Bhanusali is always thinking like an entrepreneur, or, rather, a "doctorpreneur."
Now, Bhanusali is celebrating a new milestone. Skin Medicinals, a company he founded in 2018, announced that they've saved patients a combined $200 million on prescription drug costs.
"What started as a small idea to improve access for patients has turned into a unifying movement across our field, and I couldn't be more excited for what's to come next," Bhanusali told Entrepreneur.
Skin Medicinals was created after Bhanusali and his colleagues observed a "drastic increase in pricing of medications," he says.
The healthcare tech company serves as a middleman between patients and their doctors by allowing physicians to create custom, compound medicines to deliver directly to patients.
Bhanusali says he takes a "doctor-first" approach to business, reasoning that some technologists fail in healthcare because they don't look at things through a "physician's lens."
It always comes down to one central goal: "What would our patients want?" he said.
It's precisely this approach that landed him a gig alongside Hailey Bieber and the team at Rhode, a skincare line that launched earlier this year featuring five products at affordable price points ranging from $16 to $29. The ingredients are non-comedogenic and set to suit all skin types. The project took about two years of research and iterations, he said.
"The idea was let's create formulas that are simple," Bhanusali explained. "We're not trying to make outrageous claims, we have very good, clean, efficacious formulas that work for all skin types."
Bhanusali said that when he was researching formulas for Rhode, skin care trends were focused on harsh acids and deep exfoliation — plus a heavy dose of marketing.
"The idea was to kind of bring it back to the basics of the essentials, as we call it, and really craft formulas that people can use as complements to their current routines," he said.
Bhanusali was also on the formulation side of Amazon's first-ever private label skincare brand, Fast Beauty Co., a project that was revolutionary at the time — a digital-first skincare brand sold to consumers without the ability to test the product.
Being an entrepreneur, he says, is like using "the other side of my brain."
"You still have your scientific background, you still always go science first, but it's a lot more, as opposed to creating prescription medications, it allows us to kind of build a more elegant formula and keep in mind the end user and the experience that they're going to have when using the product," Bhanusali said.
Next, he's teaming up with longtime friend and patient, Martha Stewart, for what he will only say is a "new project." (Beauty insider rumors suggest it could be a Martha-approved face or body care line.)
Bhanusali credits Stewart, 81, for teaching him about entrepreneurship.
"Working with Martha has truly been a privilege," he said. "I mean, she is one of the most fascinating people on Earth. I respect her tremendously for being a pillar of entrepreneurship and business acumen. I learned a ton from her."
Stewart, meanwhile, can credit Bhanusali for helping her maintain her stunning skin. Remember that infamous selfie she took in her pool that nearly broke the internet? You can thank Bhanusali for that. (And great genes, of course!)
Bhanusali was also involved in the creation of Ephemeral, a first-of-its-kind, made-to-fade tattoo company, which created an ink that breaks down and fades after only one year, taking away the pressure of tattoo permanence.
Despite having his hand in several entrepreneurial projects, Bhanusali also looks for ways to give back. In 2020, the American Academy of Dermatology named him a Patient Care Hero for providing life-changing scar treatment to a young dog bite victim. The story went viral.
And while having high-profile clients can help you gain social media followers, it's clear that Bhanusali also puts in the work. He posts often to TikTok and Instagram where he boasts 171,000 and 138,000 followers, respectively. Bhanusali says there is currently a one-year waiting list in his office for new patients.
"I love educating through the medium," he said. "Typically, I'll [create content] for a couple of hours in one day and then post it throughout the next few weeks."
"We would never be able to see that many patients in however many lifetimes," Bhanusali adds. "But I think the beautiful thing with technology is that it does allow you to touch many more lives and help many more people."
But when you have your hands in so many businesses, finding balance is key, although the physician will admit that the entrepreneurial mindset is 24/7.
"I think to be a great entrepreneur, you need to have that balance," he said. "And you need to understand where your North Star is. And you know for me, it's my family, but it's just necessary to succeed absolutely in every way."
It's probably why Bhanusali refers to his practice as "family style," explaining that he talks to his patients as he would his "own brothers and sisters."
"It's just like, you know, it's the coolest job on Earth," he said. "For sure."
Entrepreneur Editors' Picks
If You Focus on Problems, You'll Only Find More Problems. Here's How to Focus on Solutions.
Apple Asks This Jarring Interview Question as a Secret Way to Evaluate a Candidate