Having grown up just a few hours southwest of Louisville, Dr. Purvisha Patel knows the importance of hard work. Growing up the daughter of motel owners, she learned early on the importance of customer service and the ins and outs of running a business. And we dare you to challenge her to a fitted sheet-folding contest! Today, Dr. Patel is a dermatologist who owns and operates her own practice, and she’s also created an award-winning line of skincare products called Visha Skincare, which can be used to treat multiple skin issues and is cost-effective and suitable for both women and men of all skin types. Her passion for skin cancer and anti-aging treatments has made her a leader in the skincare field. Get to know our newest FACE of the South, Dr. Purvisha Patel!
Where were you born and what was your upbringing like?
I was born in London, England. I was raised in Wales and came to the States when I was 12. I grew up in Hopkinsville, KY, then Ashland, VA, as a daughter of motel owners. We lived and worked in a motel. Our apartment was attached to the front desk check in, and growing up, daily chores were centered around helping my parents keep the family business afloat. Growing up and working in a motel gave me valuable life lessons and skills. I am highly proficient in filling soda machines, laundering and folding sheets (can fold one in less than a minute, including a fitted sheet), cleaning rooms and front desk activities. Customer service and running a business is innate to me, so working hard to build Advanced Dermatology and grow my practice feels like second nature.
What made you decide to become a doctor? And in particular, a dermatologist?
Seeing my parents work so hard and sacrifice for my education made me strive to become someone not only that they could be proud of, but someone who could make a difference in others’ lives. Medicine was a choice I made early on. I chose dermatology as my calling as it gave me the ability to see patients of all ages, become an expert in the largest organ of the body and see the results of my treatments on my patients. This is very gratifying for both myself and my patients. My dad passed away from skin cancer of his lip, making the decision to specialize in Mohs micrographic surgery easy.
What has been the most exciting part of being a dermatologist? What has been the most challenging?
The most exciting part about being a dermatologist is that I have a solution for almost all patients who see me, whether for skin cancer, acne, rashes or wrinkles. The most challenging part is the fact that the majority of my dermatologic medications/creams are not considered coverable or well-covered by insurance companies. I find it difficult to treat my patients with the newest or more effective medications when they can not get them covered by insurance. There is a constant dialogue daily with the insurance companies regarding this.
Tell us about your Visha Skincare line of products.
Having the knowledge and ability to be exposed to and use all the different skincare lines both in doctors’ offices and over the counter, I realized that the most effective products were also exposing us to unsafe ingredients. I also wanted to make a non-hydroquinone skin brightener that works the same as hydroquinone without the toxicity. I was able to work with a chemist and formulated/tested/patented illumenotex, a non-hydroquinone skin brightener, and incorporated it into a skincare line that is paraben-free, sulfate-free, hydroquinone-free and fragrance-free. The products in the line can be used by both men and women – and each product is multi-tasking.
You have a line just for mommies. What are the different needs expectant and new moms have?
My daughter was born at 26 weeks and in the NICU for three months after she was born. She is amazing thankfully – 6 going on 16! But there was not a day that I did not think if I had been exposed to anything, all the chemicals that I come into contact with on a daily skincare basis, that could have changed anything. There are many ingredients in skincare, especially doctors’ office skincare products, that are considered not safe to use in pregnancy and nursing. There is no dermatologist formulated skincare line on the market that is safe to use in pregnancy and when nursing, so making Visha Skincare Mommy Line as an extension of Visha Skincare was a simple choice. The Visha Skincare Mommy Line has been nationally recognized by publications such as Allure magazine as the go-to brand in pregnancy and nursing.
How do you find balance in your busy schedule?
I have come to accept that life as a working mom is a constant see-saw between balancing life and work. The best thing I do is stand in the center and tilt towards work 100% when I am there and towards family 100% when I am with them. I don’t think standing in the middle and giving 50% to either is fair on either my patients or my family. I prefer to lunge from one side to the other throughout my day so that I can give my all to what I am doing in the moment.
Finish this sentence: If I had a superpower, it would be …
To get from one place to another in a blink of an eye! I could get so much more done in a day.
If you could go back 10 years, what advice would you give yourself?
Happiness comes from the heart — from people and relationships. Keep those who love you close, for one day they will not be there. The people who matter the most only want one thing from you: your time. It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind, and drive to always get better. The best thing that ever happened to me is my ailing mother came to live with me for the last 11 years of her life. That time is invaluable to myself and my children.
What is something people might be surprised to know about you?
I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie and have done many exciting things in life — climbed Kilimanjaro, bungeed into Victoria Falls — but I STILL cannot ride a bike. Never learned and it’s on my list.
What are three things you can’t live without with the exception of faith, family and friends?
Exercise, coffee and Botox … yeah, if you take out faith, family and friends, that is what is left.
Thank you, Dr. Patel. And thank you to Abbey Bratcher for the beautiful photos of Dr. Patel.
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