This dermatologist entrepreneur wants Indians to understand their skin quotient
A dermatologist by profession, Chytra Anand has always wanted to get into business, as it was called before entrepreneurship became the buzzword.
After studying and working in London, Chytra returned to India in 2006 to start Kosmoderma Clinics, which has now grown into a chain of six branches in Bengaluru and one in Chennai.
Starting up was not easy. Besides her savings of Rs 25 lakh, she took a bank loan of Rs 1 crore by meeting with the Bengaluru zonal chief of SBI at the time who was impressed with her detailed business plan for Kosmoderma Clinic.
An MBBS graduate from JSS Medical College in Mysore, she pursued Masters in Dermatology from King's College London in 2005. She further specialised in aesthetic dermatology when it was not a popular choice by completing an international fellowship in cosmetic dermatology from Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, USA. She also studied cosmetology and spa therapies from the London School of Beauty and Makeup and holds a Diploma in Medical Aesthetics.
A serial entrepreneur
Kosmoderma clinics turned profitable within the first year. Not one to chase numbers, Chytra did not bring venture capitalists and investors on board so she could steer the growth at her own pace. Recently, she opened up the brand for franchising across India.
During her course of practicing as a dermatologist and managing the business, she noticed the lack of training for cosmetic dermatology in the country. She says most dermatology schools teach about diseases of the skin but little about people’s aesthetic concerns.
“If someone comes to you with the problem of dark circles under the eyes, it doesn't mean they have a disease, it's more of an aesthetic concern,” she explains, adding that this prompted her to start the International Academy of Aesthetic Medicine, her second business, in 2008.
She has been training doctors across Asian and European countries as well as India. In 2007, she was recognised as one among 100 most impactful healthcare leaders by World Health & Wellness Congress and received the rising star award from the World Congress of Dermatology in 2015, among others.
Understanding skin quotient
Chytra calls herself a Skin of Color specialist and says a lot of products in the market are either very medical in nature or the skincare products are not designed for Indian skin types.
While she has been formulating skincare products for Kosmoderma’s internal use and their clients, the entrepreneur launched her skincare line called SkinQ in September. She claims the products do not contain nasties like paraben and sulphate chemical, which have adverse impact on overall health.
She credits the coronavirus pandemic induced social distancing for giving her a break from her monthly travels abroad, which gave her the time to work on packaging and branding for SkinQ. The brand offers DIY skincare products for different skin types, available on its website and Amazon.
Chytra says that while there are great products in the market today, one cream cannot do everything for everyone.
“There are great products with great infomercials but nobody tested them on Indian skin. At present, we are all hungover Korean beauty products. There may be some products that work for our skin type but it is not feasible for all concerns. It is like eating Korean food for the rest of our lives when our body is not used to the Korean way of life,” she explains.
She adds that there are 36 different pigmentation in Indian skin types that react differently to various environments. SkinQ, she says, stands for the need to understand one’s skin quotient just like Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and Emotional Quotient (EQ).
At present, Chytra is grappling with newer lessons in marketing digitally and spending time with her 3-year-old son.
Edited by Anju Narayanan