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Dr Yannis Alexandrides with PopSugar
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“You have to be a little bit of an artist in order to be really successful in this field.”

From there, he did research into where the most superior training for doctors was, especially in surgery, and decided on the United States. “I completed exchange programs between the Athens Medical School and Dallas and went to one of the big medical centres there where I was exposed to a lot of plastic surgery and reconstructive aesthetics.” This is where Dr Alexandrides realised this was his calling because there was such a variety. “It offers over 10,000 different operations. There are so many subspecialties within plastic surgery, for example hand surgery, aesthetic surgery, craniofacial surgery, burns, and many more subspecialties that one can go into more depth,” he adds.

On top of the subspecialties, Dr Alexandrides really liked the artistic aspect of surgery. “You have to be a little bit of an artist in order to be really successful in this field.”
But that’s not to say the journey to becoming a fully certified plastic surgeon was easy — far from it in fact. Plastic surgery is the most difficult specialty to get into. “The process is so intense,” explains Dr Alexandrides, “it feels like military service. You have to wake up very early in the morning, sometimes in hospital by 6 a.m., and a lot of these nights you have to be on call as well, so some nights you haven’t even slept,” he says. “I decided to specialise in craniofacial and microsurgery, it took eight years of this intense training.” But thousands of operations later, Dr Alexandrides was ready to enter the real world of surgery. “I felt 100 percent ready to start my own career and my own practice [after training].”

Dr Yannis and 111 Harley St.

His plan was always to go back to Greece and start his own practice there, but after eight years training, Dr Alexandrides took a well-deserved six month break. During his travels, he stopped in London where he had friends and also some family. “I met a plastic surgeon who was also American trained and we became good friends,” he says. “Within two weeks, he offered me a job and asked me to start working with him in London.”

Although it was something he’d never imagined, Dr Alexandrides found himself unable to resist the allure of London and the professional challenges that came with it. He also knew that he’d still be close to Athens to start a practice there. “That’s when I started my career in London.” This didn’t lead Dr Alexandrides to Harley Street immediately, though. It took him approximately a year and a half before taking the leap to become independent and start his own practice.

“As a place with a lot of history and a lot of tradition for England, Harley Street has been the epicentre of medical excellence here,” he says. “It’s quite difficult to start the practice based in Harley Street, even the process of getting into it with all of the competition.” It wasn’t lost on Dr Alexandrides how risky going out on his own was though. “I decided to take this step, which was a very bold step back then, given my experience and my age.” Being in his early 30s, he parents didn’t feel that it was the right decision at the time.” They were afraid I was being a little, or very, should we say, emotional about it because I really, really believed that London had a lot to offer. It was a very dynamic time with a lot of change, a lot of progress, and a lot of positivity,” he reflects. “I was actually very happy living in London.”

founders-of-111skin

At that time, in 2000, there were two types of practices when it came to cosmetic and aesthetic plastic surgery in London. There were big clinics owned by companies, which would employ doctors to do surgery privately. And then there were NHS consultant plastic surgeons, who had been working in the NHS for years and they would gradually start doing private work. “Back then, a practice where a private plastic surgeon or a group of plastic surgeons dedicate all the time to their clinic and their private patients was very rare.” There also wasn’t a plastic surgery clinic, which would offer non-surgical treatments as well as surgical.

That’s where 111 Harley St. came in. “I started with this 360 approach where I was thinking if I were a patient, what would I ask of my plastic surgeon? What service would I want to get? What questions would I need to ask?” This landed Dr Alexandrides at the conclusion that he needed to have a clinic that could have a broad spectrum of treatment because “sometimes surgery is not the right answer,” he says. “It could be premature or someone might not be not psychologically ready for it; there are a lot of reasons, so nonsurgical treatments have a big role to play.” That same approach went even further for Dr Alexandrides, “the idea of having supplements and skin care was very intuitive to me. If you are doing surgery, you need to give the right products to your patients so they can heal better and faster, and who knows how the skin heals better than the plastic,” he adds.

And that’s how 111SKIN was born. But, it wasn’t necessarily meant to happen. “It was a side effect,” Dr Alexandrides explains. “I never thought I would create a line of skin care that I would sell outside my clinic.” It all started when he got to meet two scientists who were involved in the space program and were in charge of the wellness of astronauts. They were the ones creating food and supplements for astronauts. “The significance of that is that space is a very harsh environment and is actually a laboratory for advanced ageing because the skin is exposed to intense cosmic radiation,” he explains. “Thank god we don’t get that on earth because of the filtering effect of the atmosphere and the lack of gravity,” Dr Alexandrides adds.

founder-of-111-Harley-St.

“They were ahead of their time,” he reflects. “They had this knowledge of how to prevent ageing of the skin in the most extreme environment.” So, Dr Alexandrides collaborated with them on skin care and supplements in 2006.

The very first breakthrough was the Dramatic Healing Serum in 2008, a product designed to help Dr Alexandrides’s patients heal faster. “Most of my patients came back to me after six weeks (which was the initial healing phase where I was giving them the serum for free) and were asking for more.” The secret ingredient to this formula was 111SKIN’s NAC Y2, which has become an absolute hero in the industry and many people’s routines. The groundbreaking ingredient remains central to the brand today and is the key ingredient in the Y Theorem line. Eventually, after discussing this with his wife, Eva, they decided to create a small skin care line with eight core products utilising NAC Y2 to sell after the initial six weeks.

“I never thought that it would become what it is today,” says Dr Alexandrides. “It was part of my practice so it felt like more of an added service for my patients.”

With all of the breakthroughs and success, of course there were difficult moments. But, Dr Alexandrides never doubted his career as a doctor. “There was never a moment I thought I would give up my career. If you’re a doctor, it’s not just a job — it becomes part of your nature. I think that gave me a lot of resilience, too.”

Dr Alexandrides, Eva, and 111SKIN have always stayed true to the brand values. “Indeed I did meet a lot of celebrities. I think part of the reasons I did have, and I do have, celebrities coming to us is because we always respect anonymity. We don’t like to talk about it.” It’s something that gives him confidence that he’s doing the right thing he explains. “Of course, I do like this aspect of my job, but I take it seriously. I treat every single patient the same. It doesn’t matter how famous they are. They have the same needs and they need the same kind of attention. So I try to give that to everybody.”

As far as career highlights go, Dr Alexandrides’ has a humbling one and it’s happening now. “As for many people, it was a very tough time with COVID, my clinic had to close for the first time completely,” he says. “I feel that we have strengthened the company. I feel like the momentum has increased instead of slowed down, actually.”

Dr Yannis and 111 Harley St.

“Most of my patients came back to me after six weeks (which was the initial healing phase where I was giving them the serum for free) and were asking for more.”

The business quickly pivoted, switching to other platforms to reach clients and created a network of professionals such as aestheticians and dermatologists that help. “We have established a very vibrant connection and the sales have followed. It is a pinch me moment because it could have been the other way and I need to tell myself that,” he continues. “It is a time where we are able to strengthen our team by attracting people who are really experienced in this field because the needs of the company change as you go ahead, and right now it’s a very exciting time for us.”
How Dr Alexandrides’s wishes to be remembered might sound surprising, but it actually reinforces that business owner aside, he’s a surgeon first and foremost. “My aim is to create products that minimise people’s need to come into a clinic,” he reflects. Ultimately, Dr Alexandrides wants to be known as the doctor who stopped his patients from going to see their plastic surgeon as much.

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