Category Archives: Skin Care

DOCTORS DISH: WHAT’S WORTH IT WHEN IT COMES TO COSMETIC PROCEDURES

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)

ARE YOU A CANDIDATE FOR A FACELIFT?

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) 

 

HOW TO REVERSE SUN DAMAGE: WHAT YOUR DOC CAN DO

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)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT AGEISM AND PLASTIC SURGERY

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)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BB, CC AND DD BEAUTY CREAMS

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.

www.drpapantoniou.com

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

HELP FOR AGING HANDS

In my book everyone deserves to find their happily ever so I was delighted to see more than a few of my Facebook friends get engaged this past year. They showed off some gorgeous ring shots on their wall, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that some of those photos would have looked so much better if the hands they were on did not look so…OLD.

It might sound catty but I know I’m not alone in my opinion. Social media is actually changing the way people see themselves and many a plastic surgeon has seen an uptick in business thanks to patients coming in and showing them selfies that pinpoint exactly what they’re unhappy with.

Check out your own hands. Do you have age spots, veins, crepey or dry skin? Whether you like it or not, those factors make you look older than you need to look. Because the skin on your hands is incredibly thin and they’re exposed to the elements much more than other areas of the body, the hands tend to age sooner. Fortunately, the day to day things you do can make a positive difference. And if you’re looking for a big change, your doctor has got what it takes. Here, how to make your hands look much, much better:

APPLY SUNSCREEN. Protect your hands from hyper pigmentation, age spots and other forms of sun damage by applying sun protection. A good rule of thumb is to apply it when you’re doing your morning “getting ready” routine and reapply throughout the day when necessary. You’ll like Avon Anew Clinical Absolute Spot Correcting Hand Cream SPF 15 ($17).

WEAR GLOVES. When cleaning your home, doing dishes or yard work and when you’re out in the cold, always wear protective gloves to help prevent dry, damaged skin.

HYDRATE OFTEN. Use your sun protective hand cream throughout the day and also keep hand cream on your bedside table so you dont forget to soften, smooth and nourish while you sleep. Try L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream ($28).

SEE THE DOCTOR.  Regular daily maintenance should do a lot to keep your hands looking their best but if you feel the need to take things up a notch and really reverse the look of aged hands, a visit to the doctor is in order. Many in-office procedures used on the face and other areas of the body can be tailored for the hands to give them the youth boost you’re seeking. These include but are not limited to the following:

-Laser Resurfacing:  Brown spots, sun spots, age spots, liver spots, hyper-pigmentation — whatever you choose to call them — can be broken up and eliminated through the use of lasers that seek out darker pigmented skin.

-Injectable Fillers: Fillers like Restylane, Radiesse and even fat can immediately add volume to the back of the hands for a more youthful and supple look. They’re injected directly beneath the skin to diminish the look of veins and bony joints or tendons.  You can expect results to last up to two years or longer.

-Chemical Peels and Microdermabrasion: Both of these methods can help improve surface issues like rough, scaly skin and hyper-pigmentation issues.

A board certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist can help you decide what options are right for you (click here to find one in your area) and no matter what you decide, strict post-treatment sun protection and skin care is a given if you want to keep your hands looking their best.

Note: For more of my stories on aesthetic procedures, check out my blog posts on Smart Beauty Guide.

 

(featured image via pinterest)

 

GET YOUR FREE GIFT!

Today, 12/2/15, L’Occitane is partnering with Uber NYC as part of Uber’s inaugural “5 Days of Giving.”

To get your L’Occitane gift (valued at over $100), just follow these simple steps:
1. Open the Uber app, tap the Profile icon in the top left corner, then tap Promotions
2. Enter promo code TAPGETGIVE to unlock the special HOLIDAY option
3. Request HOLIDAY between 11am and 3pm on 12/2 in Manhattan (59th Street and below), Williamsburg, & Greenpoint (no ride required!)
4. If connected, an Uber driver-partner will arrive curbside at your location to hand off your gift (while supplies last)!

*One VERY LUCKY person will also receive an unforgettable grand prize: a four day trip for two to the South of France!!!
During the campaign, Uber will be teaming up with a different brand each day to give you FREE, on-demand, luxurious presents in NYC! Yesterday it was VINCE, today it’s L’Occitane’s turn and the next few days it will be other spectacular brands. 

What are you waiting for? Get lucky!!! xoxoNancy

EXPERT ADVICE FOR AGING EYES

How are you feeling right now? Maybe you’re happy, sad, excited, scared or something else entirely. One look into your eyes and the world knows — after all, the eyes aren’t called the window to your soul for nothing! But, when the eyes are  camouflaged by distracting wrinkles, bags or sagging skin, the message you’re sending out may not be what you’re really feeling inside. The way your eyes age might make you look tired or angry (not to mention old!) all the time.

When it comes to aging of the eyes, young and old alike complain about what bothers them the most. Santa Rosa, California-based Aesthetic Plastic Surgeon, Heather J. Furnas, M.D.,  says “sun damage and genetics play a major roll in how eyelids droop, wrinkle, and look aged.” These and other variables determine whether you’ll look old before your time.

The good news is, “as long as there is a clear indication for treatment and the patient has reasonable expectations and is healthy, it’s never to early or late to treat these problems,” says Furnas. Though eye creams can be a very effective solution for dark circles, for most other eye issues you’ll need to dig a little deeper.

Here, Furnas shares the biggest eye issues broken down by age and your best treatment options:

EYE ISSUES BY AGE:

  • In your 20s: Occasionally congenital fat deposits of either the upper or lower lids and early crow’s feet.
  • In your 30s: Early crow’s feet, early hooding of the upper lids, and congenital bulging of the fat of the lower lids that becomes more pronounced.
  • In your 40s: Crow’s feet, drooping of the lateral brows, hooding of the upper lids, bulging of the fat of the lower lids, lines and early folds of the lower lids. Tear troughs begin to deepen.
  • In your 50s: Same as above, but upper lid skin droops more, upper lid fat (especially alongside the nose) bulges more, lower lid fat protrudes more. Tone of the lower lids may start to relax. Lower lids skin may fall into deeper folds. The upper lid may begin to droop so that it doesn’t open as widely as in youth (called “ptosis”). The skin thins and becomes crepy.
  • In your 60s: The above process progresses. Peripheral eyesight may be obscured by hanging skin. Tone of the lower lid may begin to worsen.
  • In your 70s+: Worsening of all of the above.

 

BEST BETS TO FIX: 

CROW’S FEET/DROOPING OF THE LATERAL BROWS: Botox

DEEP LINES:  Laser Therapy or Chemical Peel + Botox + products (Retin-A around crow’s feet)

EXTRA SKIN/BULGING FAT: Blepharoplasty of upper and lower lids. This can be combined with laser or chemical peel. Ptosis repair can be done for the inability of the upper lid to fully open. The lax lower lid can be surgically tightened.

DEEPENING TEAR TROUGHS: Filler or fat injections or fat repositioning during blepharoplasty.

 

So there you have it…the knowledge and the know-how to address all your aged eye concerns. xoxoNancy

 

 

(featured image from www.opensky.com)

 

 

 

Post-Procedure Tips: Expert advice on how to heal faster

You don’t have to be a fan of Keeping Up with the Kardashians or Botched to know that there’s a whole lot of cosmetic procedures going on…just take a look around you. If the statistics are any indication — and they most certainly are — the appointments being booked aren’t just for celebs and socialites. Those that partake come in all shapes and sizes as well as from different racial and ethnic backgrounds, income levels and careers. They do it to improve what they perceive to be imperfections so that they can feel better about their appearance or improve their social lives and/or job opportunities.

Statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery show that over the past 15 years, surgical procedures have increased by 73% while non-surgical procedures have increased by a whopping 356%. These are huge numbers! With injectables like neurotoxins and fillers, lasers, plastic surgery and the like continuing to rise, it’s no surprise that those who do indulge would want to cut down on the swelling and bruising that comes with the territory. But, is that even possible?

“Individuals swell and bruise at different rates mostly because of the wealth of the blood supply each person has in that particular site. In general the face and hands have the most robust blood supply, and hence swell most. The good blood supply also affords faster healing and better scarring,” says  renowned New York City-based plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Tornambe M.D., F.A.C.S., who specializes in the face, breast and body. He goes on to explain that swelling is a normal part of the healing process since any trauma can set off the body’s immune system and healing process. The way it works is blood (which carries nutrients and clotting factors) is shunted to that area causing it to swell but also bringing the necessary components to allow healing. Bruising is the result of more blood to the area, but does not have an effect on healing. Patients who are taking aspirin or blood thinners, or those who have recently had certain foods (including some types of mushrooms often found in chinese food) before surgery will bruise more readily as will other patients for no other apparent reason than a genetic component.

Dr. Tornambe adds that “excessive, continued swelling can have deleterious effects on healing because if overly excessive, it can actually choke off blood supply, severely compromising healing.” He recommends the following 5 tips to help speed up the recovery process:

  1. Turmeric, honey and cinnamon are natural anti-inflammatories. Take in moderation.
  2. Though there is no hard scientific proof some people find echinacea effective to decrease bruising.
  3. Elevate the area as much as possible for the first 48 hours to decrease swelling.
  4. Ice therapy will help with swelling. For the first 48 hours post-treatment apply ice pack 10-20 min on, 20 minutes off, repeat.
  5. After 2-3 days post treatment, warm soaks can help minimize bruising.

So there you go. Ingest natural anti-inflammatories and echinacea, elevate the area, ice on/ice off for the first 48 hours followed with warm soaks means less time hiding under big glasses and burkas and more time out there strutting your new and improved stuff!

 

(featured image, webmd.com)

 

 

 

Smooth Operator

If you’re anything like me, your feet can use a little love right about now. Skyy Hadley of As “U” Wish Nail Spa in Hoboken, NJ  shares this all-natural, at-home DIY recipe to get your feet in the best shape of their life. It contains cucumber to refresh and revive, lemon to exfoliate and olive oil to moisturize and soften.

Refreshing Cucumber Lemon Foot Scrub:

You’ll need:

  • 2 whole cucumbers (one per foot)
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

To do:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a blender until pureed.
  2. Pour the mixture into a bowl and heat it up to warm temperature.
  3. Divide the mixture in two and place each half in large Ziploc baggies.
  4. Slide feet into each baggie, rubbing until each foot is fully soaked.
  5. Leave on for 5-10 minutes before rinsing with warm water.

 

 

(featured image courtesy of pinterest)