Interviewing the Cosmetique Couple— Robert H. Gotkin, MD, FACS and his wife Deborah S. Sarnoff, MD—is like talking to the winners of the Newlywed Game. The husband and wife’s comments, concerns, and outlook are so in sync that it is obvious they make a great team both at home and in the office.
Since 1990, the dynamic duo have served as the directors of Cosmetique Dermatology, Laser & Plastic Surgery Center, with practices located in Manhattan and Long Island’s Gold Coast. Sarnoff is a dermatologist and Gotkin is a board-certified plastic surgeon, and together they offer a host of aesthetic treatments that focus on R and R (rejuvenation and revitalization). Both constantly strive to improve upon what they offer their patients, and often add their own unique twist to conventional procedures to improve results and reduce downtime such as Gotkin’s Ipanema Tummy Tuck and Sarnoff’s Acelift.
“We both have a keen interest in beauty and helping people improve their appearance and their shape,” Gotkin says.
“There is so much more we offer as a team,” Sarnoff adds. “We tell our patients 1 + 1 = 3. Together there is synergy and our cosmetic patients are the ones that benefit.”
They both spoke to Beauty in the Bag about their union.
How do you define/create beauty?
Dr. Gotkin: Artists have tried to define and portray beauty for millennia. I believe that there is no global definition of beauty because it is essential to respect ethnic differences and diversity. Therefore, beauty in every person is different and cannot be achieved by the same look. It is a very individualized appearance that must be thoroughly discussed between the prospective patient and the plastic surgeon. For the plastic surgeon to “create” beauty in any person, it is very important that both participants have a thorough understanding of each other and an agreement as to the specific goals and anticipated results of any procedural plan.
Dr. Sarnoff: I’ve always been fascinated by faces. Every person is unique. I love to study faces and think about how I can lift, contour, and sculpt them, while at the same time, keeping things natural. To me, real beauty is defined as feeling good about yourself. Having self confidence, radiance … a glow. If I can make someone look better, they feel better … and that’s a beautiful thing.
What is your signature procedure?
Dr. Gotkin: The Ipanema Tummy Tuck. This is a combination of Smartlipo®—laser-assisted liposuction—and a tummy tuck. The Ipanema Tummy Tuck was named for my first patient from Rio who had the procedure. This is a safer, less invasive tummy tuck with all of the cosmetic benefits of conventional abdominoplasty and fewer problems during and after surgery.
Dr. Sarnoff: The AceLift. The AceLift™ is a non-surgical rejuvenation procedure that I created which combines minimally invasive modalities in a unique way. AceLift is an acronym for “Augmentation of Collagen and Elastin by Lasers, Injectables, Fillers, and Topicals.” I truly believe that one does not need to go under the knife to achieve long lasting facial rejuvenation. An AceLift can make you look up to nine years younger in 90 minutes. The AceLift Neck is my nonsurgical alternative to a traditional necklift. There is no general anesthesia, no surgical scars, and minimal downtime. AceLift Neck features two lasers. One laser, the PrecisionTx™, is as thin as a strand of spaghetti, and is inserted through a tiny pinhole under the chin. This laser melts the fat and shrink wraps the “turkey neck.” The second laser, a fractional CO2 laser known as the SmartXide DOT ™, treats the surface of the skin to shrink wrap the jowls and neck.
How did you get started in the beauty business?
Dr. Gotkin: My goal within the field of plastic surgery was always on the aesthetic side of the specialty. I chose to study in a plastic surgery program that emphasized aesthetic surgery and, from the time I entered private practice, I have specialized in body contouring, lasers, and aesthetic facial rejuvenation. When I joined forces with my wife, this emphasis only became magnified.
Dr. Sarnoff: Originally practicing “disease” dermatology, specializing in skin cancer surgery, I decided to join forces with my husband in 1990. It made sense for us to unite as business partners to create a one-stop-shop for head-to-toe beauty enhancement. There is so much more we offer as a team. We specialize in all aspects of rejuvenation, nonsurgical as well as surgical.
What sets you apart from others in your space?
Dr. Gotkin: My ability to listen and understand the desires and goals of my patients and to guide them through a carefully designed, personalized approach that allows them to achieve their goals. I think everyone should love who they are and feel confident in themselves. I am grateful for the gifts I have that allow me to help people in their “beauty journey.” The energy I get from seeing their happiness drives me to push the envelope even further to come up with new ideas and techniques that will better each and every person who comes to see me.
Dr. Sarnoff: I’d have to say my ability to invent and create unique and revolutionary ways to help my patients rejuvenate their skin, contour their faces, and feel great about themselves.
Who is your beauty inspiration?
Dr. Gotkin: My mother, a very graceful, yet powerful and successful woman who was as elegant in business attire as she was in an evening gown. She was smart and beautiful—an unbeatable package!
Dr. Sarnoff: My paternal grandmother, Nanny Rose, because she embraced simple, natural beauty. Before we knew it was harmful, she protected herself from the sun and her beauty regimen was short and simple: Ponds Cold cream and Vaseline … that’s it.
What is your beauty mantra?
Dr. Gotkin: Safety and sound judgment. Beauty can only be achieved by exercising sound judgment and promoting safety in everything you do.
Dr. Sarnoff: I have two. “Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen,” and use my signature line—AceLift topicals to “peel, heal, and seal” to reveal the gorgeous skin you were born with. Your skincare routine does not have to be complicated. The AceLift skincare line is all you need to build collagen and restore elasticity. Working synergistically, it’s the winning combination of retinols, peptides, hyaluronic acids alpha hydroxy acids, and antioxidants that keeps skin hydrated, protected, and youthful.
What is the procedure you find most challenging?
Dr. Gotkin: I find rhinoplasty to be one of the most challenging, yet rewarding, procedures I perform. Every prospective patient has their own idea of an aesthetically pleasing nose. To sculpt a nose to fit an individual face, rather than the old “cookie cutter” approach, is the true challenge of rhinoplasty and the skills necessary for a rhinoplasty surgeon.
What charities do you support?
Dr. Gotkin: The Skin Cancer Foundation, Alzheimer’s research.
Dr. Sarnoff: I am the Senior Vice President of The Skin Cancer Foundation, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention, detection, and treatment of skin cancer. No one needs to die of melanoma. If it is caught early, it is a 100% curable.