Aging Gracefully & Filling in the Blanks
As we embark into a new season, we continue on Doc’s Journey with her as she enters a milestone in life: her 60th birthday! Read along as she shares tips for how you can look as good as you feel at any age, aging as gracefully as possible.
Fall is upon us, although in AZ it never really seems that way. Fall is falling upon me as well (if you think your life has seasons) as I am staring 60 in the face. Honestly, this year of renewal has been great. I started the year deciding I was going to follow the advice I give to my patients. That advice: be the best you can be for where you are at in life! It’s ok to make the outsides fit the way you feel inside. And at this stage in my life I do not feel old, 60 is the new 30, right? No, I don’t need to look 30 but I do need to feel good about my appearance. I color my hair, I iron my clothes, bathe, shower and do my make-up, not out of vanity but out of respect for myself. It makes me feel good.
How does all of this introspection relate to what I do for my patients (and me)? We live in a world where, with little or no risk, we can slow down physical and cosmetic aging and restore some of what we have lost due to time, environment and life style choices. When I was 35 I had 4 little boys all under the age of 6, a full time practice and was a single mom. Not a lot of sleep, exercise or healthy eating going on then. It takes its toll. Others may have worked or played outdoors suffering the consequences of sun wind and temperature on the skin. Many work hard at home and in the work force to provide for their families.
Maybe it is our time to take care of ourselves. Maybe we are older and wiser, child rearing is done, or we have a more secure income. We look in the mirror and say: I’d like to see an earlier model of me!
So here are some things we can do about it:
Resurfacing: removes signs of sun damage and reduces risks of skin cancer, evens out pigment, texture and fine lines and wrinkles. There are 4 levels of resurfacing so one size does not have to fit all.
Skin Tightening: short of a face lift there was nothing one could do about sagging and laxity of the skin until the last decade. Two state of the art technologies (radio frequency and ultrasound) are well tested and non-invasive to give some of the firmness and lift back to our skin.
Volume Replacement: we finally figured out that as we age we lose fat, muscle and bone. This is SO true in the face. Replacing some of that lost volume with fillers (soft, injectable jello like, natural and biodegradable) is easily done and lasts up to 2 years. It can be amazing how uplifting and replenishing even some volume can be.
Fat Reduction: yes, exercise and diet are very important but let’s acknowledge that we are not perfect and even if we were there can be areas of fat that just still hang on (love handle, bra fat, lower belly: what Kathy Lee Gifford calls the “menopot”). Two non-surgical methods are FDA approved and are permanent. We can freeze or we can melt fat in targeted areas, and sometimes we do both!
Sweat: I find the sweat thing very annoying and I am tired of it. Lucky for us the FDA approved a treatment to dramatically reduce under arm sweat, non-surgical and very long lasting - we think permanent, as sweat glands like fat cells don’t come back once they are gone. Side effects: odor and hair reduction in the arm pits ☺
Skin Care: Even I am overwhelmed with all the choices! What we need is scientifically researched, simple, safe, effective, and cosmetically pleasing products that restore healthy (and therefore attractive) skin. As a dermatologist, I can tell you it’s possible. Gotta love your skin care (you brush your teeth don’t you? Skin hygiene is just as important).
Aging Gracefully, the theme for a seminar I am giving, is what it is about for me. I talk about the procedures (all non-invasive cosmetic dermatologic) and products (all physician grade with real science behind them) that I have found allow us to age gracefully. And us, includes me. I don’t mind sharing my before and after photos. I don’t mind being questioned on what it was like to have one procedure or another. I really don’t mind that people who have not seen me in years tell me that I look better than I did a decade ago!