Ep. 04 - Style + Travel Blogger Jyo Shankar, Preventative Botox and Skin Care

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The Beauty Balance Podcast - Episode 04 Transcript:

“You’re listening to The Beauty Balance podcast hosted by Dr. Usha Rajagopal, a San Francisco board-certified plastic surgeon with over 20 years of experience. We cover a range of highly requested aesthetics and skincare topics, and chat with industry experts and influential, talented women who truly encompass grace, beauty, and brains –  plus, you get the inside scoop on what it’s really like to be a plastic surgeon.” 

Hello, this is Dr. Usha Rajagopal! Today, we’re excited to have our very first guest on our podcast – Jyo Shankar! We will be chatting about her work, beauty, and the preventative measures we can take for younger looking skin. She’s a travel and style blogger based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She describes her blog as her creative outlet to share her love for fashion, travel, and lifestyle. She’s a sucker for cute outfits, warm beaches and all things tropical. She lives her life one outfit at a time and aspire to travel the world one beach at a time, while hoping to inspire others to do so as well.

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UR: Welcome, Jyo! Let’s start things off by giving our audience a little background about yourself. How did you become a full time blogger? What was your journey like? What inspired you to become one? 

JS: I started my blog back in the day, about 5 years ago, and primarily started as a style blogger. I was in Boston back then and used to post outfits on Instagram and that’s when I started my blog. Within a year I was voted Top 10 blogs in Boston and after I moved to California is when it took off to be my full time gig because I got a lot more opportunities that seemed more aligned with my brand, including travel because travel and style go hand-in-hand.

UR: How would you describe your style of travel and how do you decide on what places to go and what shots to take?

JS: I am a total tropical girl at heart. I love warm places. I love beaches and tropical destinations. But that doesn’t mean I won’t travel to a fun city or a beautiful mountainscape. I have a list of countries I want to visit and I always try to go that way. The way I like to take shots is to invoke that sense of wanderlust in my audience to make them want to book that trip there to aspire to go there. 

UR: Who accompanies you on these trips?

JS: My husband. He also has a full-time job but this is like his second job. He is my full-time manager, photographer, web developer, etc. He’s pretty flexible to travel with me and he is my travel partner.

UR: How many countries have you travelled to?

JS: 34 countries so far.

UR: Have you traveled to all the continents?

JS: Yes, except Antarctica.

UR: Do you have any favorite countries?

JS: Every destination has something special about it. So far, some of my favorite countries are Maldives, Greece, and the Cook Islands.

UR: What are your favorite beaches?

JS: My favorite beaches are South Ari Atoll in the Maldives and One Foot Island in Cook islands.

UR: Since I’m into beauty I’m wondering if you wear good sunblock when you go to these places?

JS: Yes, that’s my number one thing. My husband was not that good at it before but now he reminds me. We’re always carrying extra sunscreen in our bag because we’re always out during the day.

UR: You were recently on a travel panel for TripAdvisor! How that experience like?

JS: I was excited to do my first travel conference this year and I was really grateful to be given the opportunity to be on a panel with TripAdvisor. The panel was basically about how to build an authentic brand and TripAdvisor came up with these traveler insights. They were asking me and some of the content creators how we can use those insights to create content for our audience. It was very interesting and I had the opportunity to meet and network with so many cool different people in the industry. I’m super grateful for the opportunity.

UR: With all this traveling, especially with the time change in your daily routine, how do you stay so fit and what is your regimen for that?

JS: Fitness is a big part of my regimen, whether or not I’m traveling, I’m always trying to workout and keep my fitness routine to the T, eat clean (for the most part), and even when I travel. I try to take exercise bands where I can even get in 20 minutes inside my hotel room or go on a hike. I’m addicted to fitness so I can’t take a break. Even with beauty and body routines before a trip really takes a whole village to prepare. I love to make sure my hair is done, get a spray tan, and love to come here to your clinic to get the Emsculpt done. I’m so hooked on it! It really helps me look toned for photoshoots. I definitely have a lot of steps I take before going on a trip.

UR: That’s really great to hear all your routines and you’re doing a really wonderful job. I love seeing your pictures on Instagram. Just seeing all the vivid colors, you being beautiful with your great outfits, and that amazing sun and sea. You got the whole package going.

Questions for Dr. Usha:

JS: What is the difference between Botox and fillers?


UR: They’re actually very different. The only category where they’re similar is that they’re both non-surgical treatments to improve your face and rejuvenate you. Botox is a muscle relaxer primarily used in the upper half of the face. Between the eyebrows, the “11s”, the wrinkles that go across your forehead, and the crows feet wrinkles around the eyes and underneath the eyes. Botox is less commonly used in the lower face but we can also use it on someone who has a very wide jaw. Botox can slim down the face or help with teeth grinding. In middle age to older women it can be used in the neck but it is primarily used in the upper half of the face.

Fillers are very different. They are plumper uppers. We inject fillers in areas where the skin takes a dip or there’s less volume. We have fillers for the cheek area to plump up and lift up the cheek. I tell women that we aren’t going to give them fat cheeks but rather more lift and structure. Everyone wants that high cheekbone look. If the filler is placed strategically in the under eye cheek bone area, it can make your eyes appear more almond shape and make the under eye bags disappear or look much less visible.

JS: What are some common misconceptions about Botox and why does it get a bad rep?

There are some amazing qualities of Botox. It is a very powerful medication that a medical person has to dispense, so it has to be used very carefully and with an artist’s eye. If you just go ahead and do a bunch of Botox on someone’s forehead they can actually drop the forehead and make themselves look very angry or look frozen. If you really want to rejuvenate a person’s face it has to be used strategically and less is more. I often tell first time patients, “Let’s do this first and we will see you back in 2-4 weeks. We can always adjust and add more.” When you look at someone and their face looks frozen that means they had a bad Botox job. It’s not the fault of the Botox, it’s the fault of the provider for injecting too much. It really depends on who you go to.

JS: Who is a good candidate for preventative Botox?

My philosophy for Botox has evolved over the years. 10-15 years ago, when Botox just came into the practice, I would have patients wait until I saw solid deep creases in their face. Overtime, and now with new studies on board, we use Botox as a preventative treatment called “pre-rejuvenation”. When we start seeing very faint lines at rest where the patient is not smiling or animating, we can start treating with Botox and that will help reduce the lines and help prevent it from getting any deeper. Studies have actually been done in a microscopic level. If you look at someone’s skin who has had Botox for years such as myself (who’s in her 50s) compared to someone who hasn’t had Botox, you will notice that my skin will look younger.

JS: What do you recommend is a good age to start either?

It depends from person to person. I have patients in their late twenties who start to come in and we do “Baby Botox” where we place small amounts of Botox in strategic areas. They come in less frequently and about twice a year for a small dose. When they get older, toward their late 30s and 40s, they will need a little more done and may need to come in three times a year. Having a good skincare regimen with sun protection, vitamin c, peels, and at-home regimens can help keep the skin looking very nice.

JS: Being brown/ethnic skinned what do you recommend are good treatments? A follower also asked if Botox is for brown skin people?

Botox is color blind. It helps everyone if you need it. There are no side effects at all in women and men of color. It’s perfectly safe and is an amazing treatment if you’re brown or dark brown skin and for white skin. Generally with brown skin, we are more protected against finer wrinkles. So for us we would actually need Botox about a decade later. If you have very fair skin with light eyes and blonde hair, you’re going to notice more signs of sun damage and wrinkles in your 20s. Whereas if you’re more Indian skin or brown tone/darker stone, you may need Botox later in your 40s. 

My favorite regimen is sunblock/sun avoidance, especially on the face. In brown skin, instead of us wrinkling a lot, we will tend to have unevenness of the skin tone such as discoloration that gets more prominent in certain parts of a face. I recommend getting on a skin program that has some hydroquinone, a bleaching agent, to even out skin tone. We carry one in our office called ZO Pigment Control Creme that I’ve been using approximately once a year for three months. A great time to use it is in the fall or winter. Office treatments such as microdermabrasion or very mild chemical peels are very important. As your skin gets darker it becomes more sensitive to treatments so you have to be careful when doing laser or deep chemical treatments. Your skin can hyperpigment as a response so it’s important to go to a provider who is used to skin of color and ethnic skin.

JS: With my travel schedule I’m always concerned with sun protection and always staying SPF protected. What are your recommendations for skincare tips while being on the go?

I tend to like sunblock that has some zinc oxide or titanium dioxide because they are actual physical blockers. If you apply it, that sunblock will be working for you until it’s rubbed off and it’s water resistant. If you wear mainly chemical sunblock, in about two hours, they will lose effectiveness. I would also bring a large hat and sunglasses, get lots of hydration, avoid smoking, and minimize your alcohol intake.