There is always intense interest in what’s on the beauty horizon. People want to know about the latest and greatest ways to improve the face and body. To that end, we bring you our annual Beauty Advances section, with the 10 top tips for 2017.
Rumors about what aggravates acne surface all over the Internet: dairy makes acne worse; stay away from chocolate; shun French fries. Dermatologist Dr. Joseph Muccini of Mid-America Skin Health & Vitality Center says studies have been inconclusive. “There is some anecdotal evidence that dairy and milk chocolate may make acne worse in some people, but the teen years are a major time for putting down bone mass and heading off later osteoporosis, so we really don’t want to eliminate a good source of calcium and vitamin D. It warrants further study, but at this point, the benefits of milk outweigh the risks.”
Muccini says there is a stronger association regarding low-glycemic versus high-glycemic foods. White rice, white bread, potatoes and sugar are high glycemic and tend to lead to inflammation and other health problems. People generally do better on a low-glycemic diet: veggies, whole grains and low-fat dairy.
Muccini says he listens to his patients. “If a kid tells me when he has a Big Mac three nights in a row, he gets more pimples, I suggest maybe that’s not a good dietary plan for him,” he says. “What people eat does have an effect, especially if they eat a really high-fat diet and empty calories. If your body isn’t healthy, your skin can’t be either.”
Hygiene and consistent use of medication are more important than diet in managing acne, however, Muccini notes. If you want to have healthy skin, he recommends: washing your face twice a day; not picking at your face because doing so creates inflammation and skin damage that last longer than letting the pimple disappear on its own; and trying over-thecounter products that contain benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid or 0.1 percent adapalene. If there is no improvement in two months, see a dermatologist for prescription-strength medications.
Sandals are coming out in droves, but should our feet? Rough, calloused feet can shame those really cool slip-ons we just got. We all tend to be hard on our feet, so what can we do about it?
“Salon peels and over-the-counter foot peel kits are very different,” says Angela Horwitz, co-owner of Clean Spa. She cautions that if you have cracked feet, blisters, diabetes or peripheral neuropathy, peels are not a good idea. Any open sores should be totally healed before doing a foot peel, and diabetics should have a doctor’s clearance.
You may be better off with a different form of callus removal. Her salon offers callus reduction pedicures, the depth of which is determined by the foot. In between pedicures, a peel helps remove dead skin so moisturizers work better.
skin care now, not later
Turns out the millennials have changed the nature of skin care. According to Dr. Michele Koo of Aesthetic Surgery Institute, the movement to preventive skin care at an earlier age is growing in part thanks to social media. If you want all those selfies to reflect the best possible you, “prevention is the best weapon to keep wrinkles, pigment and damaged thinning skin from occurring in your 30s and 40s,” Koo says. That also applies to teenage and adult acne. Once the acne scars and pigment have occurred, it’s hard to reverse. “Starting skin care early and continuing is really the only way to have supple, healthy skin through an entire lifetime,” she says.
By preventing any significant damage, we won’t have to backtrack, only continue to nourish and stimulate the skin to repair itself and create more collagen growth. Koo makes a clear distinction between medical skin care and the over-the-counter products, even the pricey ones. She says, “In the United States, medical therapeutics require prescriptions. OTC skin care doesn’t contain effective medical actives in high enough concentrations to change skin at the cellular level.”
She stresses that medical sunscreen is vital, as well as vitamin serums to nourish the skin cells to continue to turn over at a rate that maintains healthy, firm, smooth skin. Some of the key medical ingredients she recommends include retinol, reservatrol, glycolic acids, hyaluronic acid, vitamin serums, and glucosaminoglycans (GAGs) to maintain and support collagen, elastin and bounce in the cellular spaces, and to keep protein fibers in balance.
And let’s not forget Botox. Used before creases are noticeable, it can keep them from forming, especially in the forehead, crow’s feet and the ‘11s’ between the eyebrows. Use on the upper lip can prevent vertical pleats around the mouth. Botox should be started, Koo says, as soon as you detect very fine lines in those areas.
coconut, a beauty friend
When it comes to offering health benefits at an approachable price, what’s not to like about a coconut? So says Afua Bromley of Acupuncture St. Louis & Wellness Center. “It is a healthy food, readily available around the world and pretty inexpensive. It also has antibacterial, antifungal and antivirus qualities and can help with recovery from illness.”
She says people are sometimes put off because coconut contains a saturated fat they have been conditioned to avoid. But coconut oil is a medium-chain fatty acid, and therein lies the difference. She stipulates only using extra-virgin coconut oil because it preserves the integrity of the fatty acid chains. Coconut oil fats break down quickly and are more likely to be burned than stored. Coconut oil can be used on vegetables and hot cereals instead of butter at the end of cooking. Dried coconut chips or flakes act as an anti-inflammatory as long as they are not the sweetened kind. Sugar causes inflammation, Bromley reminds. Coconut water has a natural form of electrolytes, is low in sugar and helps you rehydrate after exercise. It won’t spike blood sugar like some of the other energy drinks.
Bromley says if you get leg cramps at night (sometimes caused by dehydration), a half-glass of coconut water before bed can prevent them. It is also used as a formula base for infants who can’t tolerate soy or dairy products.
Applied to damp skin after a shower, extra-virgin coconut oil inhibits bacterial growth on the face and body, prevents dermatitis and promotes body healing. Try massaging a small amount of the oil into the scalp to nourish hair roots and prevent breakage. Bromley also recommends using it on the cuticles and for softening the feet. It may prevent toenail fungus if used consistently.
salt: great for the skin
We spend tons of money on moisturizers, but it may be for naught if we aren’t exfoliating to get rid of dead skin cells first. That’s where salt comes in. Carol Anderson, certified aesthetic nurse specialist and owner of Nouveau MedSpa, says a periodic salt exfoliation not only leaves skin luminous, but also removes dead skin cells so moisturizer can do its job.
She says it’s one thing we can do for our whole body. “An all-over salt rub leaves your skin so much healthier.” A salt rub can both detox and supply nutrients to the skin, the lymphatic system and the muscles.
Anderson notes that over-the-counter rubs contain very coarse ingredients that can abrade the skin. Plain sea salt isn’t bad, but it has fewer minerals than what she uses, a combination of Dead Sea salts and Himalayan pink salt. Dead Sea salt contains 21 minerals, including magnesium, calcium, sulfur, bromide, iodine, zinc and potassium—minerals we lose every day and need to replenish to help us detoxify and cleanse. Dead Sea salt helps get rid of impurities, while Himalayan salt has 84 minerals and is more easily absorbed by the body.
Varying grain sizes are used for delicate versus more callused skin areas. She mixes the salt with almond, coconut, olive or avocado oil. Anderson says the salt rubs are not only good for relaxation and exfoliation, but also can help relieve acne, eczema and psoriasis; reduce fluid retention; stimulate circulation; and strengthen bones and nails. She says we should consider having one at least once each season to turn over skin cells and refresh the skin.
new fat destruction systems
Surgical liposuction is effective but comes with significant downtime. Several much less invasive approaches to fat sculpting have come out in the last several years, which are all effective to a certain extent, but it pays to do your homework. Called non-contact fat cell disruption, these non-invasive devices damage fat cells, breaking them open and causing the fat to be metabolized by the liver and excreted. Dr. Richard Moore of The Lifestyle Center says he chose Vanquish ME™ over other approaches for several reasons.
“One device uses a cool laser to break up fat, and another freezes the fat cells to destroy them,” he explains. “Vanquish ME™ uses radiofrequency (RF) heat energy and has the largest treatment area, destroying 30 times the amount of fat as the laser device and 10 times as much as the freezing device, reaching deeper into fat cells than either.” He says the other advantage of RF heat is that it tightens the skin and stimulates collagen growth.
The Vanquish procedure is painless and doesn’t produce the bumps, firmness or numbness of the freezing option, Moore says, and there is no downtime. He especially recommends Vanquish ME™ for large areas of fat deposits found on the abdomen, flanks, bra line, and inner and outer thighs.
He cautions that this less-invasive fat destruction method takes longer to achieve than sucking it out with liposuction, but says it is much easier on the body. Optimal results are achieved in about two months. He recommends a series of five 45-minute treatments one week apart. Clients will notice results in two to three treatments. However, he cautions, as with any procedure, it needs the support of a healthy lifestyle. If you take in more calories than you burn through exercise, the remaining untreated fat cells will get larger. It has to be a combined approach.
drink to your health!
It’s hard to know sometimes whether what we put in our bodies will serve us well. Ideally, we want to ingest items that are high in nutrients and low in sugar. For Angela Zeng, creator and founder of Karuna beverages, that means a melding of Eastern and Western wisdom. “We use a nutritional approach based on Eastern wisdom combined with modern health science.” She has degrees in biochemistry and pathology; her husband is a physician.
She says when people think of Eastern medicine, they think of herbs, but those have to be used with caution. “In our beverages, we avoid ginseng because it isn’t good for certain body types. The same with ginger,” Zeng says. “Too much in the wrong people can cause skin eruptions and other problems. Instead, we use high antioxidant berries, like aronia (chokeberry) and longan berry that help the body function at its best.”
Zeng’s company makes Karuna Heal from mung beans and aronia berry, Karuna Hydrate without added sugar, and Karuna Fuel is a combination of complex carbohydrates and protein to energize.
needles for better skin?
One day we notice our skin starting to droop and a loss in volume. We’re not ready for a face-lift, so it’s nice to know we have some new options. The one that excites Dr. Richard Maack of Synergi Facial Surgery and Synergi MedSpa is Vivace, a fractional micro-needle RF system. When it comes to rejuvenating facial skin, the secret may be in having the right needles.
Says Maack: “This device has the best outcome for what we want to achieve. It reduces pore size, softens fine lines and wrinkles, tightens the skin, increases collagen production, and fades acne and surgical scars.” He says the secret is in the configuration of the needles. During treatment, 36 tiny needles attached to a robotic arm stimulate the skin at three levels, he says.
The insulated needles have tips that emit radiofrequency energy. Pulses of light activate skin cells to increase collagen production and moisture levels in skin, and improve skin tone and texture. Maack says it gives very consistent results, regardless of the color of the skin. FDA-approved for the face and neck, Vivace’s radiofrequency energy creates heat, but not to the extent of discomfort, he notes. Maack says sometimes he does the treatment in conjunction with skin topicals such as vitamin serum and PRP (platelet-rich plasma) to heighten the effect even more. He calls Vivace a facelift without a knife.
a lip filler that lasts longer
Research is keeping up with baby boomer demands for a more youthful appearance. Fillers to plump facial areas that have sunk or are too wrinkly are becoming better and lasting longer. One of these, out about a year, is Volbella by Allergan. Volbella is designed to be used on vertical lip lines and to plump the lips themselves so they stay supple and even for up to a year.
Jackie Carr, a nurse practitioner and licensed aesthetician with Aesthetic Medispa of West County, applauds this newest product. “Volbella is a hyaluronic acid filler somewhat like Restylane Silk, but it’s smoother and has a longer duration than four to six months.” She says the filler gives a more instant result and is more effective than chemical peels, microdermabrasion or even lasers, although she sometimes recommends a combination of treatments.
Other new fillers she likes from Allergan include Voluma for cheek bones, which lasts up to two years, and the brand-new Vollure, designed for plumping the nasolabial folds. That lasts up to 18 months. All the fillers, Carr says, have lidocaine built in for more comfort.
relief for vaginal issues
Not talking about changes in the vagina doesn’t make them go away. With new technology, women who do speak up are finding relief for problems they thought they had to live with.
Says Dr. Terry Myckatyn of Washington University department of plastic and reconstructive surgery, “Bodies change. After a couple of babies, the vagina may not be as tight as it was. After menopause or breast cancer and a course of hormone suppression therapy, the skin of the vagina is more tender, thinner and dryer. Sex can hurt. Sneezing or laughing may cause urine leakage. Women don’t know there is something new and effective out there, and neither do many health professionals.”
The Viveve® radiofrequency device has been used in clinical trials and became available in Myckatyn’s office in April. A randomized, controlled blind study of the device at multiple centers in Canada, Italy, Spain and Japan reported significant relief of vaginal laxity and improved sexual function.
Myckatyn explains that it works similarly to radiofrequency and ablative laser devices on the face to firm and build collagen. “Now we’re using it in the vagina,” he says. “The energy device is placed inside so energy can be delivered to the walls to stimulate the tissue and tighten musculature. In the trials, it also reduced stress incontinence and increased secretions to reduce dryness.” He says there are several other devices out there, including a laser, but they require multiple treatments.