Every day, we’re bombarded with television commercials and magazine ads about products that promise to make you look and feel younger. As a practicing physician, my patients always ask me, “What really works?” As you know, there are so many choices, from plastic surgery to facial creams to more natural remedies. And that’s why I decided to consult with my experts to bring you the best and latest information and practices on how to turn back the clock.
My guest Renee Vandenstockt started doing some low-level non invasive cosmetic procedures when she was only 35-years old. Now 53, and looking great by-the-way, Renee tells me about the variety of procedures she’s had and about the one that went bad. Among the things she’s tried Renee says she likes Botox, fillers, and laser treatments. “You know, I really feel that as you get older, you definitely do show your age a little bit,” Renee says, “You get tired-looking. There are lots of things that can help you with that.” But, Renee also shares her experience with radiofrequency when she was 39. “The procedure was at the time going very high levels, and I went with a high level. I didn’t know,” she tells me, “and then afterwards I started to get kind of gaunt in my face.”
Radiofrequency was relatively new at the time and a potential side-effect that no one was really aware of, was that it could basically melt away the fat in your face. That’s what started happening to Renee. After doing some research and figuring out what was happening, Renee tells me, she desperately started looking for a plastic surgeon who did fat grafting to try and stem the fat loss to her face. “I found Dr. Youn, who did some surgery for me to help with that, so it definitely counteracted some of the loss of fat that I had.” Dr. Youn joins me next to explains what he did to rescue Renee’s face.
The renowned Dr. Anthony Youn, is known as America’s holistic plastic surgeon, and he’s also my good friend. Dr. Youn tells me that Renee is not a unique case, in the sense that it’s not unusual for people to get excited about new procedures that are being hyped about in the media. To make matters worse, he says, potential side-effects are often not discussed or clearly explained. Then the patient gets a nasty surprise when an unexpected complication develops. In Renee’s case, “We took a little bit of fat from her thighs and basically injected it in very tiny amounts in her cheeks, into the areas where she had had some actual dents and scar tissue,” he explains. One of the things Dr. Youn says they learned while doing Renee’s surgery was that the fat was full of stem cells. Meaning they not only fill up the space under the skin, but rejuvenate the skin so it looks even better.
Dr. Youn also shares the latest in non-surgical techniques, surgery’s biggest risk, and the simple steps you can take in your everyday life to reduce the signs of aging. Once again it goes back to the basics, what you’re eating, what you’re putting on your skin, and protecting yourself from the sun.
A leader in the field of environmental medicine and founder of the brand “I Am Fine”, Dr. Ann Marie Fine joins me to discuss how our environment affects us. She tells me that her quest to discover the answer to the difference in women’s and men’s health issues began when she noticed a large number of her female patients coming in with ongoing problems. “All of these women would come and see me with their autoimmune problems and hormonal-related problems like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and all kinds of autoimmune, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, PMS, fibroids.” Dr. Fine says. “I just really started to think, what is it about women? What are we doing differently than men?” What she noticed was the difference in the amount of personal products women put on their bodies compared to men.
According to Dr. Fine, women are using at least 10 to 12 different products, adding up to approximately 126 different ingredients, every morning. To help her patients counteract the effects of all those chemicals, she created a revolutionary line of skin care products. Now, I don’t use the word “revolutionary” loosely. Dr. Fine explains how her product line is unique, “I was formulating my line, which is made with organic seed oils like blueberry seed oil, pomegranate seed oil, cranberry, pumpkin seed oils,” she tells me, “when I had leftover oils, I would make salad dressings out of them.” So there you have it…a skin care line so pure, you can literally eat it and it will be good for you.
Dermatologist Dr. Keira Barr of the Resilient Health Institute, empowers her patients to nourish their skin and their minds. Dr. Barr shares her own painful experiences in childhood that stemmed from having two coffee colored birthmarks on either side of her face. She tells me that when she began elementary school, “They called me ‘Coffee Stain Face’. It was the first time that I became acutely aware that my skin can be a source of shame, embarrassment, and humiliation,” she says, “I quickly discovered that if I got a tan, I can mask them. They almost became invisible.” Dr. Barr explains that after years of tanning, she ended up with horrendous skin damage in the form of hundreds of moles and even melanoma.
Dr. Barr says that, while all of the precautions we can take to protect our skin from the sun; protective clothing, sunhats, sunglasses and even sunscreen are important; they are not the first line of defense. “Well, actually what should be your first, is how you nourish yourself from the inside out,” she says, “You really need a strong foundation.” And that, she explains, comes down to what you put in your body, not on your body. Dr. Barr tells me that our skin has an innate repair system that we need to nourish with foods that are rich in vitamins A, C, E, and selenium. She says these nutrients restore our body’s ability to fight the damage from ultraviolet rays.
One of my favorite guests, holistic family physician Dr. Madiha Saeed joins me to talk about the four S’s — stress, sleep, social, and spiritual health. Dr. Saeed tells me that studies are now showing that something as simple as feeling gratitude and staying optimistic can lower inflammation. Now, we know that the underlying root cause of disease is inflammation. “There’s lots of things that can lead to inflammation, including digestive health and detoxification,” Dr Saeed says, “those are all deficits in your social health, your spiritual health, stress, and sleep.” We discuss how keeping positive people and influences in your life can help you manage stress, which in turn will help you sleep better.
Dr. Saeed points out that our social media-saturated world keeps our subconscious bombarded with messages of inadequacies, especially with respect to what we don’t have in our lives. This is especially detrimental to children. Dr. Saeed shares how she keeps her own young sons grounded by teaching them meditation and gratitude. She also explains how stress affects our heart rates, “If we live in a world of frustration, our heart rate variability is just sort of like a jagged line and it’s incoherent,” she tells me. “But, when we go to a world of appreciation, it turns to more of a, like a sine wave — very coherent.” Dr. Saeed also shares her favorite form of stress-busting…I promise, it won’t be what you think!