They say age is just a number, and with the proper care and attention, you can prove the old adage right. We talked to local experts about what you can do to maintain your youthful glow.
From products like face masks and essences to ingredients like birch juice and snail mucin extract, beauty routines are getting their own international makeover. For the past couple of years, Korean skin care has been making a splash in the U.S., and Dr. Michele Koo, a plastic surgeon in private practice, says it’s not hard to see why.
“There’s a much greater emphasis placed on skin care in Asian cultures,” she notes. “This is coupled with a deeper focus on biochemistry and physiological results.” Koo notes that while most western skin care focuses on a single active ingredient, such as retinol, K-beauty emphasizes how different ingredients can work together. “There’s an entourage effect to the whole skin care routine,” she says.
Koo notes that K-beauty is exemplified by adherence to a routine. The standard Korean skin care regimen is 10 steps (the average Japanese woman uses 23 products daily, she estimates), and while that may seem excessive to some, Koo says learning to maintain good habits is key to healthy, beautiful skin. “Traditionally, American consumers have wanted quick and easy solutions, but they’re learning rejuvenation starts with prevention,” she explains. “It’s part of a new emphasis on holistic health that is starting to resonate with major beauty lines.”
A great way to keep a youthful glow is to give your skin’s natural processes a helping hand, says Carol Anderson, RN, CANS, owner of Nouveau, a Boutique MedSpa. She recommends treatments that allow skin cells to maximize collagen production. “Elastin and collagen keep the skin young, but their production slows down as we age,” she explains. “The idea is to wake up the cells and help them perform.”
Treatments that impact cells’ production cycles include BBL (broadband light) lasers, radiofrequency and biostimulators, but this time of year, Anderson suggests microneedling. “With other procedures, you need to avoid sun exposure for a week or more because they damage the skin’s surface and increase risk related to UV exposure,” she says. “But after microneedling, you only need to limit your time in the sun for two days before resuming normal summer activities. Plus, you still get that natural, refreshed look.”
The procedure works by using extremely fine needles to penetrate the deeper layers of the dermis. “It creates a little injury, which the cells then respond to,” Anderson explains. “The results are fewer fine lines and a smoother, more even complexion.” There is little discomfort associated with microneedling, and people can be back in makeup the next day. Along with the face, it can be done on the neck, chest, arms, legs and abdomen.
Women have several options for giving their busts a more youthful appearance, according to Dr. Christina Plikaitis, a SLUCare plastic surgeon. She says the most common procedures are reduction, lift and augmentation. “I approach rejuvenation from the standpoint of the individual, how her breasts have aged and what they’ve been through,” she explains “It’s important that you feel comfortable with discussing your goals with your surgeon to determine the best course of action.”
All three rejuvenation techniques can be performed as outpatient procedures. Most women are able to return to work a week after the surgery and to full activity in about a month. Plikaitis notes that with augmentation, it may take longer to return to strenuous activity, and implant maintenance may be required down the road. “Breast rejuvenation patients are some of my happiest,” she says. “These procedures are safe and women are very satisfied, especially when it’s paired with good preoperative counseling.”
reduction: Lifts and positions breasts for a more youthful appearance; can address neck, back and shoulder pain
lift: Rejuvenates without changing the size of the breast; removes excess skin and moves the nipple into a more youthful position
augmentation: Adds fullness; can be combined with a breast lift
The decrease in muscle mass and loss of collagen and elastin in the skin that come with age can lead to unsightly sagging in the abdomen, thighs and buttocks. While there are surgical options to address the problem, Dr. Richard Moore of The Lifestyle Center and The Edge for Men notes that there are less invasive alternatives.
Radiofrequency treatments like Venus Legacy can firm and tighten the skin. “The procedure addresses issues with skin laxity,” Moore says, adding that it’s important to have realistic expectations. “The results will take time and may be subtle.” Radiofrequency works by applying heat to an area, kickstarting collagen production and other processes in skin cells. The length of treatment depends on the body part being treated, and Moore says it usually takes about six to 10 sessions over the course of around two months. There is no downtime with radiofrequency, and the only side effect is redness at the treatment site for 30 minutes to an hour afterward. “One benefit of radiofrequency is that it’s painless,” Moore notes. “Ultrasound can also be used to tighten skin, but it’s painful. There are a lot of those devices
gathering dust in offices.”
“People may not think of liposuction as antiaging, but it can help people look younger,” says Dr. Terry Myckatyn, a Washington University plastic surgeon. “As we age, our metabolism slows, and we develop stubborn pockets of fat that don’t go away with diet and exercise. Liposuction is an effective way to address those concerns.” The most commonly treated areas are the belly, flanks and back, but the arms, thighs and even double chins also are options.
Myckatyn notes that liposuction is more effective than noninvasive alternatives, such as freezing fat. “Coolsculpting removes about 15 to 20 percent of fat, and it can take several months to see a result,” he says. “Liposuction removes about 50 to 60 percent of fat with immediate results.” He adds that it’s a fallacy to say noninvasive options are cheaper because they take more sessions to get comparable results.
Liposuction can be done with or without anesthesia and requires a very small incision. Side effects include bruising and swelling, and patients wear a compression garment for two to three weeks to help contour and smooth the treated area. Myckatyn says many people are able to return to work within 48 hours and the gym after about a week. “The most important thing is for patients to have realistic expectations,” he says. “Liposuction won’t tighten up excess skin, and it should be used in combination with a healthy diet and exercise routine, not as a replacement.”
How should your workout change as you get older? Eric Emig, co-founder of Evolution Fitness, says there are several concerns older adults should focus on to make the most of their fitness routines.
flexibility: Yoga helps balance both your body and mind, accordin gto Emig. He also suggests using foam rollers on the IT band, quadriceps and back.
balance and stability: A BOSU—it stands for ‘Both Sides Up’—is basically half of a stability ball. “Periodically, all exercises can be done on a BOSU,” Emig says. “It promotes better balance by activating new neural pathways and also improves core strength.”
strength training: Emig recommends heavy but controlled weight lifting. “It helps combat osteoporosis and slows down or even reverses sarcopenia (muscle loss with aging),” he explains.
low-impact aerobic activity: As you get older, high-impact activity can have negative effects on joints, especially if arthritis is a problem. Emig suggests walking, swimming, biking or using the elliptical.
lower back health: “Pain in this area is one of the biggest complaints for older adults,” Emig notes. “Giving proper attention to it can prevent or relieve discomfort.” Hyper-extensions and dead-lifts can help strengthen the back.
What you put in your mouth can impact your skin just as much as the moisturizers and toners you put on it. A proper diet can help you turn back the clock with vitamins, minerals and amino acids necessary to keep your skin healthy and beautiful.
salmon: Fatty fish are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These antioxidants reduce inflammation and protect your skin against damage from free radicals.
soy: The isoflavones in soy have been shown to improve skin dryness and elasticity as well as reduce wrinkles.
green tea: Catechins, a type of powerful antioxidants found in green tea and berries, protect your skin and reduce redness while also helping with hydration and elasticity.
walnuts: They have omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, vitamins E and C, protein and selenium, which are all nutrients your skin needs to stay healthy.
avocado: Containing beneficial fats and vitamins E and C, eating avocados is associated with supple skin and may even protect against UV damage from the sun.