Dr. Norman Orentreich

Dr. Norman Orentreich, 96, widely regarded as the father of dermatologic cosmetic surgery, died Jan. 23, 2019, at his home in New York City. In 1961 he founded the Orentreich Foundation for the Advancement of Science, which in 1987 he consolidated from several locations in New York City to a converted, century-old barn on Route 301 in Philipstown.

He was born in 1922 in New York City to immigrant parents and attended Stuyvesant High School followed by City College of New York, where he majored in chemistry and biology. He served in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps during World War II and went on to graduate in 1948 from the New York University College of Medicine.

In 1952, at his office in New York, Dr. Orentreich conducted the first hair transplant to treat male pattern baldness. In addition, he later advanced dermabrasion as a method for treating facial acne scarring and aging skin and was one of the first dermatologists to work with fillers for the correction of facial-tissue loss.

After completing his residency in dermatology, he joined the New York City practice of Dr. Abner Kurtin and in 1956 established the Orentreich Medical Group. In the late 1950s, Dr. Orentreich pioneered the use of newly introduced intralesional corticosteroids to treat common conditions such as alopecia areata, psoriasis, keloid scars and acne. He also worked on the development of Head and Shoulders for Proctor & Gamble, which was introduced in 1961 and became the No. 1 selling shampoo in the world.

His accomplishments brought him to the attention of Leonard Lauder, son of Estee Lauder, who enlisted him, and Carol Philips, the beauty editor of Vogue, in an endeavor that culminated in the creation in 1967 of Clinique, the first cosmetics line to address skin care.

In 1970 Dr. Orentreich was elected as the first president of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, and in 1973 he created Buf-Puf, a reusable exfoliation sponge.

Dr. Orentreich retired in 2004. He was married for 67 years to his wife Roslyn, until her death in 2013. He is survived by his son, David (who is director of the foundation) and two daughters, Catherine and Sari, as well as four grandchildren, Nicholas, Jeremy, Ariane and Eric. He is also survived by son-in-law, Michael, and a daughter-in-law, Marina. Two of Dr. Orentreich’s children, Catherine and David, are dermatologists at the Manhattan medical group he founded.

Memorial donations may be made to the Orentreich Foundation (orentreich.org).

Behind The Story

Type: Obituary

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