Every single one of us, though flawless, has at some point taken a look in the mirror and found at least one thing we’d like to change. Some of us learn to love the quirks in our looks and some of us think about getting a little fix. From the non-invasive to the surgical, cosmetic procedures are on the rise and there are a hundred ways to nip, tuck, lift and smooth just about any area of our bodies. Not all of it is vain and superficial. Some procedures have amazingly high satisfaction ratings; patients report not just looking better but feeling way more confident. According to the experts, these are the nips and tucks that are worth it and the ones you should skip:

Worth it: Breast Reduction

“By far, breast reductions produce the happiest post-op patients,” says New Bern, North Carolina board certified plastic surgeon and best selling author Dr. John Zannis, “The women (and sometimes men) that come to me for this procedure have usually been uncomfortable with the size of their breasts for years, in many cases since early puberty. You can really see an immediate boost to their confidence.” Overly large breasts have uncomfortable physical effects like chronic back pain and bad posture, but they can also become a huge self-esteem complex, especially for girls. Breast reduction surgeries report an extremely high satisfaction rate of almost 90% according to Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Magazine.

Worth it: Non-Invasive Face Lifts

“Off the top of my head some of my happiest clients are non-invasive face lift patients,” says Dr. Kally Papantoniou, a board certified dermatologist who specializes in surgical and medical skin procedures at her New York office. “The skin on the neck and chin get a substantial lift and smooth with no cutting or general anesthetics, patients report not only looking younger but constantly say they feel better about themselves. Which is the key word I look for when gauging post-recovery satisfaction!”

Worth it: Rhinoplasty

“A rhinoplasty from a skilled plastic surgeon can completely change a face,” says Zannis. He adds, “The nose is the most protruding facial feature and sits right in the center; any sort of change alters how you look from different angles, how light and shadows hit you and can make the face look more symmetrical.” To become a full believer in the power of rhinoplasty just search “Bella Hadid before and after nose job” on Google. Literally a different person.

Worth it: Body Contouring

“Body contouring is easily one of my top three highest patient satisfaction procedures” says Dr. Papantoniou who provides the procedure at her practice. “These are non-invasive fat loss techniques and they give truly amazing results after about 3 months of treatments. There is no downtime, no pain. Some patients come in for them during long lunch breaks! Patients lose whole inches. Again, the most telling sign is how they stress feeling good after the procedure.”

Skip: Lip Fillers

Lip fillers can work wonders but they’re tricky. They don’t look the same on everyone; your end result could be Kylie Jenner’s lipstick-empire-building pout or Donatella Versace’s trout mouth. They’re more of a toss up and depend on too many variables, from the natural curve of your lips to the skill of your doctor to the type of filler used.

Skip: Cheek Implants

Cheeks have a very prominent position in your face. Like tweaking your nose, tweaking the shape and size of your cheeks changes your whole look, but like any other facial implant or filler; they are not one size fits all. In older individuals cheek implants are just as likely to drag your skin down as smooth it. Good results depend on implant type, technique, original face shape, and considering the natural effects of aging in the future.


(featured image via pinterest)


I never thought I’d “have to” color my hair, tweeze a stray hair from anywhere but my eyebrows or actually need readers but those ships have already sailed. What this has taught me is to never say never when it comes to trying out beauty treatments or procedures.

We as women are expected to age gracefully, yet remain beautiful and youthful looking and for some, good genes, diligent skincare and sun protection are enough. Others add in minimal use of non-surgical procedures and that helps them find their happy place. And still others bring in the big guns. The truth is, no matter how well you take care of your skin, the underlying structures do change as we age. Fat below the skin that’s evenly distributed starts to thin out over time and shift downward so that skin is more lax with visible wrinkles and sagging. A combo of botulinum toxin injections, facial fillers and laser treatments can do a lot to help restore a more youthful look, but non-surgical treatments cannot reposition tissue that has sagged because of gravity. If you’re not getting enough results from over the counter and in-office non-surgical procedures or are finding it hard to justify the cost and time commitment of having to repeat temporary liquid facelifts (neurotoxin injections and filler injections combined) over and over again a proper facelift might be what you’re looking for.

If you have been “buying time” this way, be aware that studies have shown that a facelifts have much better long term results when performed on those who are younger and are performed as a corrective/maintenance hybrid so you might not want to wait. There’s a higher satisfaction rate for those that do it when they’re less than 50 years old and only showing minimal signs of facial aging vs. those that do it later. They tend to be able to hold onto their youthful looks and are happier with their results at least 10 years after the fact compared to those who wait longer to do it. A possible reason  to support these results is that there’s less obvious post-operative changes while enabling patients to hold onto a more youthful look longer.

Your surgeon can assess if a facelift is right for you, but if you’re in relatively good health, are not severely overweight, and your skin has good elasticity even if your face and neck tissues might be lax, wrinkled or with jowls, chances are you’re a candidate.

Facelifts vary greatly depending on your aesthetic goals, your facial anatomy, the areas being treated and your preferences regarding risks, recovery and downtime. Before undergoing surgery, you must also be willing to consider  the possibility of unexpected complications, possible scarring, numbness, a change in hairline, facial paralysis, nerve damage and other potential risks. If you still think a facelift might be the right answer for you, do schedule a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon in your area who can discuss your options and the pros and cons of each with you so you can make an educated decision.


(featured image via pinterest) 



When I was younger I wasn’t exactly the poster child for sun protection. On school breaks, I’d visit my grandparents in Florida and spend hours baking in the sun. I’d often get blisters on my décolletage, pop them and continue tanning. I’d wrap tin foil on album covers, apply Bain de Soleil Orange Gelee and fall asleep in the sun. Even though I’d limit major sun exposure like this to vacations, the fact is sun damage isn’t exclusive to sun worshipers. The incidental sun exposure that we receive unintentionally on a daily basis actually accounts for the vast majority of the average person’s lifetime exposure to the sun’s damaging rays.

Sun damage eventually rears its ugly head in the form of wrinkles, sagging skin, uneven pigment, dark spots and even more serious conditions like melanoma. While the cellular changes from UV radiation can’t be entirely reversed there’s a lot you can do to help minimize the damage. Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, Jonathan Kaplan MD, MPH says there are over-the-counter products that  can help repair but not cancel out the sun damage entirely. He explains “post burn moisturizers can replenish lost moisture after a sunburn, potentially speeding the healing process and maybe even eliminating the familiar post-burn skin peeling, but any damage to DNA from UV light has already occurred at this point so typical over-the-counter products won’t reverse this.”

Dark spots, hyper-pigmentation and melasma can also be helped by exfoliating treatments:

  • Dr. Kaplan is a fan of Intense Pulse Light (IPL) treatments that cause spots to flake off over the course of a few days. A series of treatments is usually required but will get the job done.
  • Another option is a combo of hydroquinone and tretinoin, used as a one-two punch to reduce hyper pigmentation and dark spots. With this method of treatment you’ll experience obvious flaking at first as the top layers of your skin are exfoliated, but you will see results in as little as 4 weeks.
  • Certain topical antioxidants can also help slough off the dead surface cells, boost collagen and aid in the reparative process. In particular, Vitamin C will help even out your complexion and also protect you from the sun’s damaging free radicals.

Though sun damage does have aesthetically unappealing consequences it can also have deadly consequences as Dr. Kaplan points out. “Too many years of unprotected sun exposure can damage collagen and the skin’s ability to heal, leading to irreversible skin damage and the risk of cancer  in the most extreme, unprotected scenarios.”  To prevent something as serious as skin cancer, do what you can to help reverse damage that’s already occurred, use sun protection religiously to protect yourself against future damage and get regular skin checks to stay on top of damage that’s already occurred.

*To see more of my work on Smart Beauty Guide, click here.


(featured image via pinterest)


I’ve always been a big believer in the “you’re as old as you feel” mentality, but the truth is there’s a lot of ageism going on. It’s in the fashion world, the beauty world, and most problematic, the workforce where it’s particularly scary because it greatly impacts one’s ability to provide for themselves and continue to stay and feel vital.

It’s been trending for a while now. Older Americans have been getting non-surgical aesthetic procedures and cosmetic surgery to stay competitive in the job market, whether they’re seeking employment or trying to hold onto their present jobs.Though qualifications and experience for a specific job should be the deciding factor, unfortunately that’s not always the case. Right or wrong, consciously or subconsciously, if a present or potential employee looks old that could be a strike against them, especially if they’re up against someone with similar qualifications and experience who looks bright eyed and alert.

It’s a fact of life. As you age, your skin loses its elasticity and can look less taut. You might experience wrinkles, drooping lids, hollow cheeks and even appear tired, worried and older than your actual chronological years. If you think plastic surgery might give you the competitive edge you’re looking for or at least even out the playing field, a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon can help you decide what might be the right choice for you. Even if you’re not ready, willing or able to undergo a full, upper or lower face lift, short of plastic surgery there’s still a lot you can do to address different concerns you might have.

  • If you have crow’s feet, forehead lines, the 11s or turkey neck, Botox can help. It will temporarily paralyze the small muscles, prevent new lines from forming and diminish the look of those you already have.
  • If age spots have got you down, a series of microdermabrasion and/or chemical peel treatments could greatly diminish them or you can use a laser to zap them into oblivion.
  • If you have under-eye bags, dark rings or circles consider hyaluronic acid filler which can trigger new collagen production and give your under-eye area a more youthful appearance.
  • If you have marionette lines around the mouth hyaluronic filler could be the answer as well. It can be injected near the cheekbones and temples to fill out facial contours, giving you a more lifted and youthful look.

If anything about your appearance does give you cause for concern, it’s nice to know you’ve got options. Most importantly, make sure you’re in the hands of an experienced board certified plastic surgeon. To find one in your area, click here.


(image via pinterest)


Want perfect looking skin? Who doesn’t! Board certified cosmetic dermatologist, Dr. Kaleroy Papantoniou shares her expert advice on the difference, what to look for, and how to choose the right BB, CC or DD cream for you:

BB CREAMS:  BB creams are short for beauty balms or blemish balms and were first developed in Germany by a dermatologist who wanted a single cream that would protect skin and provide coverage after laser treatments. The all-in-one formulation became a sensation in South Korea and then spread throughout Asia.

BB creams started hitting U.S. store shelves in the spring of 2011. Today, almost every major beauty company has a BB cream, from drugstore brands to high-end department-store lines, as well as lines that are only sold at spas or in doctors’ offices.  The NPD Group, a market research group, found that although only 2% of beauty shoppers have purchased a BB cream, nearly 4 in 5 of those who have, say they’ll buy the product again.

Many BB creams offer effective sun protection, with broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher, the American Academy of Dermatology’s recommendation for daily use. What’s more, BB creams generally contain zinc oxide or titanium oxide, physical sun blocks that have some built-in water-resistant properties, Papantoniou says.

When it comes to skin treatment, you can find BB creams that contain:
•Anti-aging components, including peptides and antioxidants such as vitamins A, E, and C
•Moisturizing workhorses like hyaluronic acid and glycerin
•Ingredients such as licorice and arbutin that help even out skin tone
•Light-reflecting mica to give skin a luminous finish
•Silicone-based ingredients, such as dimethicone, that help smooth the skin, acting much like a foundation primer does


CC CREAMS: What is it? Packed to the gills with vitamins C and E, complexion corrector cream is similar to BB cream, but focuses on color correction. It’s lighter than a BB cream and its primary purpose is to correct color-related skin issues, such as sallowness or redness. Like BB cream, it has SPF as well (number varies by brand).

If you’re acne-prone, have dull skin, dark spots or constant redness, CC cream is for you. It will help with redness, acne, dark spots, sallowness and more, and is actually lighter than BB cream.


DD CREAMS:  Another addition to the alphabet cream craze are the DD creams, or “dynamic do-all super cream.” They combine the power and benefits of both BB and CC creams, but their primary focus is anti-aging.

It will diminish wrinkles and fine lines throughout use as well as balance your skin tone and protect the most sensitive areas of your skin. Improvements in your skin are known to come with continued use, so use often and incorporate it into your daily routine. After a month you should notice changes.

The strongest selling point of a DD cream is its anti-aging benefits, ideal for the woman who wants to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and have an over all even, radiant skin tone.


HOW TO CHOOSE: What is interesting to note is that each category overlaps to the point where the differentiation is almost non-existent. The upside is they are all great products that can be very beneficial for the skin. The downside is sorting through the many varieties to determine which would work better for you.

If discoloration is your primary concern then start with CC creams, because that’s their claim to fame so you will more than likely find a product that contains skin-brightening ingredients such as arbutin or daisy flower extract.

If fine lines and wrinkles are the issue, then look for an alphabet cream full of ingredients like retinol, firming peptides or adenosine. If your skin is oily, then look for an alphabet cream that controls oil and has a lightweight texture.

Dr. Papantoniou is a Cosmetic Dermatologist, Board Certified by the American Board of Dermatology. She specializes in Injectables, Lasers, Surgical and General Dermatology for adults and pediatrics. She is also a Clinical Instructor at the Mount Sinai Hospital Dermatology Department. She has authored articles in her field, and has presented research at national meetings. Dr. Papantoniou focuses on providing her patients with the highest level of care; she is a superb diagnostician, with a special interest in natural and healthy alternatives to treatments and disease prevention. She has a strong artistic background and applies her skill at natural symmetry and study of lines to her cosmetic patients.



featured image via pinterest


Kybella, the FDA approved fat-melting injectable has been a godsend for those looking to address moderate to severe fat on the upper neck area. This non-invasive and non-surgical treatment uses deoxycholic acid to destroy fat cells that are then metabolized by the body naturally. Previously, this area was only able to be addressed with liposuction or surgical tucks, but thanks to this injectable, plastic surgeons, cosmetic surgeons and select dermatologists are able to address this submental area with this far simpler treatment.

The fact that Kybella can dissolve fat got me wondering about it’s other possible uses. Could this injectable actually turn out to be the holy grail in fat reduction for other areas with excess fat as well? I asked board certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Brian S. Glatt, M.D., F.A.C.S. what other areas might be right for this treatment. According to Glatt, “Kybella could theoretically be used to treat many other areas of unwanted fat (the outer thigh saddlebags area a good example of this), but determining proper dosages as well as identifying potential pitfalls in other anatomic areas should be a focus of study to ensure safe use of Kybella.” This appears to be another case where “better safe than sorry” rings true. “When products are used off-label, they’re basically being used in a manner which is outside its formal FDA approval. It doesn’t mean that it’s unsafe for you or ineffective, however it does denote that a product has not been specifically studied for use in that particular situation,” says Glatt . He sites Botox as an example of a product that’s used very effectively off-label. Though it has a number of  FDA indications, it  is used off-label for wrinkles of the forehead,  even though this area remains one of the most commonly treated with Botox.”

As with any aesthetic cosmetic procedure, Dr. Glatt cautions that any off-label uses need to be approached carefully. “Without formal study leading to an FDA approved indication, it is difficult to predict if side effects and or risks are reversible if used in an off label manner,” he explains.” Since the same side effects and risks apply to Kybella whether it is being used as indicated or off label, the fact that it can be damaging to nerves and muscles makes it particularly important for your doctor to proceed with extra caution if it’s being used off-label where it might be closer to these vital structures.

If you think Kybella might be the answer to your prayers, make sure you’re in the right hands before undergoing this treatment. Look for a board certified plastic surgeon or board certified dermatologist who can administer it safely and determine if it’s the right treatment for you. Do your homework and check your doctors credentials to ensure they have the proper training and experience in this area so that you’re fully satisfied with the results.

Click here for more of my articles for Smart Beauty Guide.



(featured image via pinterest)





If lines and wrinkles, loose skin, pockets of fat or any other beauty issues are keeping you from feeling your confident best, know that you’ve got options. There are many new non-surgical treatments to address the issues that are keeping you from feeling and looking your absolute best.

Click here for my latest story and discover the latest non-invasive beauty treatments to help you strut your stuff!



(featured image via pinterest)


If you’re thinking of getting plastic surgery abroad, this story I wrote for is a must read! xoxoNancy



Can essential oils help you handle plastic surgery? You betcha!

I was first turned on to the many benefits of essential oils when I met the founder of 21 Drops, Advanced Clinical Essential Oil Specialist, Cary Caster. She studied aromatherapy in Europe where aromatherapy is widely recognized as a medical treatment — It’s based upon the principle that oils, extracted from various parts of plants, can help support your body’s physical and mental well-being. Essential oils can be anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, have healing properties and strengthen your immune system. They also have many other benefits including the ability to help you focus, feel more passion, control your appetite, detox and even control stress and pain, which makes them the ideal complementary medicine for everyone, including those about to undergo surgery.

As someone who gets anxious before any doctors appointment — be it the dentist for a cleaning, my yearly checkup with my primary care physician or a full body skin check with my dermatologist — I can attest that the use of essential oils to help you relax can be a game-changer as the anxiety is always worse than the actual procedure. Though many swear by anti-anxiety medications like Xanax or Valium, I’m a big fan of essential oils because you can reap similar benefits, without the side effects or possibility of addiction.

Essential oils work through inhalation, topical application or a combination of the two, but are usually most effective when both methods are combined. With inhalation, you simply breathe them in which ignites a physiological response that stimulates changes in your body depending upon the specific essential oil being inhaled. When you apply it topically, minuscule-sized molecules of the essential oil are easily absorbed through the skin where they then pass into the bloodstream to affect change. For better penetration, it’s best to apply to freshly cleansed skin and if the essential oil isn’t already blended, you should mix it in with a thin carrier oil like jojoba or sweet almond oil instead of the heavier ones like olive oil.

Clinical studies have shown that specific essential oils can help get a handle on your daily life and can even be used before during and after surgery to help alleviate a variety of issues. In regards to pre and post op procedures, here’s what you can expect:

  • They can help ease anxiety. Choose lavender, orange, rose or Roman chamomile to reduce stress and apprehension about your upcoming surgery.
  • They can help reduce pain. Eucalyptus has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Rosemary has analgesic and antispasmodic properties. Sandalwood will help relax the nervous system, thereby reducing nerve pain. Depending on what’s causing you discomfort, there’s an oil to help you bear it.
  • They can help with post-operative nausea or vomiting. Choose ginger or peppermint essential oil to help relieve digestive issues.
  • They have anti-bacterial properties. Choose cinnamon, tea tree or lemongrass for help with healing.

It’s important to note that some essential oils are not suitable for pregnant women or people with certain medical conditions as they can have possible interactions when prescribed drugs are involved or when they’re used on those with certain metabolic conditions. Always check with your doctor before incorporating essential oils in any form of your treatment plan.

Click here to see more of my work on Smart Beauty Guide.


(featured image via pinterest)


I’m kind of crazy about this polished, interesting undo created by Amit Abraham, Master Stylist for Dop Dop Salon for the Bibhu Mohapatra Fall 2016 Collection. It celebrates the prowess and poise of the mysterious female mind and was inspired by China’s Dragon Lady, Empress Cixi.

Abraham combined symmetical buns, one circular and the either in a wave-like shape. You can easily create your own interpretation or replicate it as is.

To do:
•Blow dry hair super straight and smooth
•Part hair down the middle and tightly pull hair back into two symmetrical ponytails at the occipital bone
•Twist ponytail hair into a flat bun on left side, being aware of the placement of bun so as not to peer out in front
•Take right ponytail and wrap in fine hairnet then secure at the base and wave flat toward front right ear pinning inside of nest to create wave movement
•Polish hair with strong hold gel to remove flyaways
•Finish with hairspray and add hair accessory



(Photography, Luzena Adams)