Skin Beauty: Vive la belle peau!

I’ll be perfectly honest with you.  Growing up, no one in my family had facials.  My frugal mother was a teacher, so spending money on fancy skin products was not seen as a smart use of money. I had bad acne early on, so my mother did make sure I entered into the care of dermatologist by age 12 and maintained that care until around 18 when things finally got better. Fast forward to medical school… I really loved the subject of dermatology in medical school and almost went into that as my specialty of choice.  I chose plastic surgery instead because I wanted more surgery in my life and was already addicted to the rapid before-and-after of plastic surgery.   As a surgeon, compared to the dramatic changes that surgery produces, I couldn’t imagine that skin care choices could ACTUALLY matter.  I knew that most of the ingredients in products sold at local pharmacies were the same as what was sold at department stores, just for less money.  I did not understand that cosmeceutical (pharmaceutical grade cosmetics) had stronger ingredients and ingredients that you could often not have access to otherwise. My plastic surgery mentors didn’t care about skin care, and I followed suit.

Then, when I began working in my first cosmetic surgery practice,  I chose to use the products of our skin care line so that I could communicate to my patients what the experience would be like.  And…I kid you not…6 weeks after using these products, my mother-in-law told me that my skin looked prettier.  I was shocked because I had not expected to see any sort of change.  Shortly thereafter, I had my first superficial but real peel (meaning my skin actually visibly peeled off starting a couple of days after the treatment was performed), and, no joke, 2 weeks after that, I was having patients comment on how beautiful my skin was approximately every day.  I had NEVER had that experience before.  But that became my new norm. I’m now 47 years old, and 2 days ago a patient thought I was in my 30s.

So, my belief structure in regard to skin care has changed over the years. I now spend a lot of time thinking about what the goal is in terms of skin care and how to make that goal happen. And, in this next series of blogs, I’m going to share with you my belief structure and my advice. Do with it what you will!

Chapter 1:  Why does beautiful skin matter?

Having attractive skin is not gonna solve world peace issues or anything of serious import. But, it is a component of being attractive. Most of us want to try to make our features as attractive as possible. There is no shame in this nearly ubiquitous human instinct. There are many features that contribute to one’s attractiveness. Probably the most feature important is the eyes, which makes sense considering that our attention is primarily directed at the eyes when engaging with another human. The mouth is the second thing that we focus on since audible communication generates from there (and since the mouth is used to express love, we cannot help but to pay attention to it). In between the 2 is the canvas upon which these 2 sources of attention are positioned, the skin.

Right or wrong, the human being is drawn to youth and beauty. This is an instinctual compulsion. Think about what the skin of a child looks like (before it gets attacked with hormones)… the skin is shiny (reflects light), plump, firm, the pores are small, the skin color is uniform, the landscape of the skin is smooth (rather than bumpy).  On the RARE occasions that one can find an adult with skin that looks like that, universally THAT person will be touted as have GORGEOUS skin. (In all honesty, I’ve only encountered that once…in a professional ballerina who had essentially never entered normal puberty because her body fat had always been abnormally low, so never ravaged by pubertal hormones.)   So…THAT is your goal.  Your goal is to try improving upon each of those issues.  As you age, you loose nearly all of those traits.  The skin gets dull (doesn’t reflect light), is thinner, you lose fat underneath the skin so the face appears to deflate,  pores are larger (the fault of the hormones and their effect on the oil glands that live in the walls of your pores), dilated blood vessels(caused by sun damage) on the skin surface start to make some parts of the facial skin pinker than others, pigment-producing cells start to join into clumps, making pigment together which from afar looks like large freckles (age spots, hyperpigmentation…another sign of sun damage). The landscape isn’t as smooth from scars accumulated over one’s life and from wrinkles that are caused by skin creasing (yet another sign of sun damage and the aging process that leads to too much loose skin and loss of elasticity).  So, if and when you decide to try to improve your skin in an effort to improve your attractiveness, what you’re doing is you’re trying to reverse the clock and make the canvas of your face look younger.  You are not a failure if you cannot improve every single one.  Any improvement you can achieve in ANY of those factors MATTERS.

In this next series of blogs, I will break down for you how you can accomplish improvement in each one of the factors. I will not be pushing any particular product or line I will simply be sharing with you the science behind the ingredients, the techniques, and the surgeries that can actually make a difference for you just as they have for me and my own patients. Vive la belle peau!!

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