An Anti-Aging Plan for the New Year
It’s January — the month when one is still feeling resolute about one’s New Year’s resolutions. Although I shan’t divulge all of my New Year’s resolutions, one of them is to take better care of my skin by following an all-encompassing anti-aging program. So it was with perfect timing that I attended an informational evening entitled “Anti-aging 101: Create your plan of action for 2014” at Thibiant Beverly Hills.
Hosted by Tiffany Markarian, director of Thibiant Beverly Hills, presenters included Carla Paratore Vercoe, proprietor of Studio BE Pilates and Dr. Shannon Ginnan, owner of Medalase Aesthetic Centers. Vercoe discussed the importance of regular exercise to a good anti-aging regimen, followed by Ginnan, who shared the latest in anti-aging treatments.
We all know that exercise helps maintain strength and flexibility, but did you know that also keeps your skin youthful? Exercise reduces inflammation, regulates hormones (which can affect skin condition) and fights free radicals. Increased blood flow allows nutrients to reach the skin’s surface and repair damage from the sun and environmental toxins. This also stimulates the collagen-producing fiberblasts in your skin, which can keep wrinkles from developing. So don’t skip out on exercise in 2014 — try adding Pilates or yoga to your routine.
During the course of his presentation, Ginnan gave a demonstration of three treatments: Botox, Juvéderm filler and micro needling. Each of these treatments addresses a different component of aging: wrinkles, loss of volume and sagging.
One lucky guest (I must confess that I was a bit relieved that it wasn’t me!) won a free Botox injection. A purified isolated protein derived from clostridium botulinum bacterium, aka Botox, has become extremely popular in treating creases formed by repeated facial expressions. As most people do not want a completely expressionless face, Ginnan explained that judicious application of Botox, starting when one is still relatively young, could prevent wrinkles from ever forming. Botox treatments are minimally invasive and can dramatically reduce forehead lines, mid-brow furrows, crow’s feet and even neck creases and wrinkles.
Sadly, for even those of us with naturally immobile faces, wrinkles are not the only indicator of age; sagging can quickly give you away. This unfortunate downward trend is caused by the loss of collagen that occurs with age, as your skin loses elasticity and the gradual depletion of subcutaneous fat that supports youthful facial contours.
Fillers can plump up aging skin. As Ginnan pointed out, regaining what plastic surgeons call the “triangle of youth” — the widest center part of the face on a young face — is critical to maintaining a youthful visage. The lengthiest points of the triangle at the cheekbones and temples eventually invert to become the “pyramid of age” as gravity causes the skin at the jaw line to slacken and expand into unsightly jowls. Fillers such as Juvéderm can reverse the triangle to its former youthful shape. Ginnan explained that depending on the person, fillers can last 6-18 months. Composed primarily of hyaluronic acid, a substance that occurs naturally in the skin, Juvéderm is gradually reabsorbed by the body.
One anti-sagging technique that piqued my interest is infrared skin tightening. The heat from the infrared light improves collagen regeneration and tightens sagging skin. Ginnan described this treatment as perfect for those experiencing the initial signs of aging, as it’s non-invasive and can keep skin sagging at bay — time to bid those nascent jowls adieu!
Micro needling, on the other hand, is a skin treatment that made me think of the French expression: “il faut souffrir pour être belle” (one must suffer to be beautiful). Performed with a tool known as the Dermapen, micro needling consists of puncturing the skin with multiple small (1.5 mm) needles. The resultant “micro injuries” spur the body to create more collagen, resulting in smoother, clearer and firmer skin. This treatment is excellent for treating acne scars, fine lines and wrinkles and improving skin firmness.
Fortunately for those wishing to be more beautiful, suffering is minimized by the application of numbing cream one hour prior to treatment. According to Markarian, who was the evening’s micro needling test subject, her skin felt a little raw after the treatment, followed by flaking that lasted about a week. She observed that: “immediately after my skin healed I felt there was an overall improvement in my skin tone and texture; my eyes looked a few years younger, with fewer fine lines underneath.”
All of these treatments work best done over a course of at least three to five treatments and boost the effect of regular facials and skin care. In fact, micro needling can make skin more receptive to the application of anti-aging treatment serums and creams. Botox and fillers need to be repeated periodically to maintain results.