Anti-Aging: Even the World’s Oldest Woman Made Time for It

Anti-aging rituals are becoming part of the lives of younger and younger women. Part of the reason is social, of course — for good or for ill, we live in a world that values youth over age in almost every aspect of life, including appearance.

But part of the reason is also health. As we learn more about the physiology and psychology of aging, we discover that many of the qualities we used to associate with growing older — physical frailty, lines and wrinkles, loss of mental clarity — are actually preventable or at least postponable.

That’s especially true for the health and youthful appearance of our skin. As with many other health areas, skin aging does rely in some part on genetics. But environment and lifestyle play an even bigger role. A lifetime’s exposure to UV radiation, weather, and pollution takes its toll on skin’s clarity and elasticity. As strong and flexible as the amazing skin — our largest organ — is, we test and damage it by exposure to the same oxidation processes that cause rust in unprotected metal.

Our lifestyle choices can also speed — or slow — the aging of our skin. Unprotected UV exposure (including natural or artificial tanning), smoking, substance abuse, a sedentary lifestyle, even a constant diet of junk food can negate any anti-aging steps we might take, no matter how costly.

On the other hand, anti-aging lifestyle choices can be quite simple. The New York Times recently profiled the world’s oldest woman, who passed away on April 15 at the age of 117. Emma Morano credited her longevity and energy — she worked until she was 75, and entertained visitors from around the world until only recently — to the clean air of her home by an Italian lake, her simplified lifestyle of few possessions, the 3 raw eggs she had for breakfast every day, and her freedom from male bossiness after leaving a bad marriage in 1938.

Emma’s way may not be our way, but there are anti-aging strategies found in her example we can put to good use. Spend as much time as possible outdoors in good, clean air. Eat a simple diet rich in proteins, antioxidant fruits and vegetables, and good oils that keep the skin nourished from within. Drink lots of water. Avoid stress. Interact with lots of people.

Emma, old as she was, remained as concerned with her appearance as any younger woman would. “Inside the drawer of her night table,” the Times article noted, “was a supermarket-aisle anti-aging cream that she had applied every evening before going to sleep.” Until recently, she went regularly to the hairdresser, insisting that she couldn’t let her appearance go because so many visitors stopped in to see her unannounced.

We may not be aiming for 117, but anti-aging is a lifelong process. Take a few hints from Emma Morano, and contact us at Comprehensive Dermatology Center of Pasadena for a whole range of cosmetic treatments and skin care products that will keep your skin healthy and beautiful. Our cosmetic consultant Mary Lou Brimecombe can tailor an anti-aging plan just for you!


Vollure: Because Parentheses Belong in Sentences, Not on Your Face

Vollure is a newly approved injectable filler you’ll be hearing a lot about. Part of Allergan’s JUVEDERM line, Vollure is especially formulated to treat moderate to severe facial wrinkles and folds — including those pesky nasolabial folds nicknamed parentheses lines that score deep grooves from nose to mouth.

Nasolabial folds (also called static wrinkles) which add years to our faces, are one of the top reasons people seek treatment with injectable fillers. But until now the available treatments didn’t satisfactorily address moderate to severe parentheses lines, or didn’t provide long-lasting results.

With JUVEDERM Vollure, Allergan has addressed both of these treatment gaps. Like the recently released Voluma for cheek contouring and Volbella for lip enhancement, Vollure makes use of Allergan‘s patented Vycross technology. This creates a filler that combines the softness of hyaluronic acid with the ability to employ various molecular weights of the HA into one filler, extending the duration of treatment effect. In tests required for FDA approval, patients experienced at least a 12-month duration from the first or touchup treatment, with many patients seeing improvement that lasted up to 18 months.

Besides parentheses lines, JUVEDERM Vollure offers great results in facial contouring and addressing volume loss, which can make us look older and more tired than we are.

Also on the horizon from Allergan, with approval expected sometime later this year, is JUVEDERM Volite — one of the first injectables designed to increase skin’s hydration and elasticity from within. Also using the Vycross technology, Volite can be used to improve skin quality characteristics in the face, neck, hands, and decollete. Effects last up to 6 months.

At Comprehensive Dermatology Center of Pasadena, you don’t have to wait to ditch those parentheses lines — we have JUVEDERM Vollure treatment available now! Contact us today for your complimentary cosmetic consultation or to schedule treatment. And watch this space for more on when JUVEDERM Volite — along with all new cosmetic treatments and products — becomes available!

Undereye Bags? Here’s How to Unpack Them

Undereye bags are high on everyone’s list of unwanted baggage. The puffiness and drooping, known medically as infraorbital edema, make us look old and tired. That’s probably because age and lack of sleep are the two main causes of bags under the eyes.

As we get older, the skin around our eyes — already some of the thinnest skin we have — gets even thinner and dryer, losing its natural elasticity. At the same time, gravity is at work on the fat pads that give youthful contours to the face; they slip south, pulling down the stretched undereye skin with them. Thin skin wrinkles more easily, too, adding to the aging appearance of undereye bags.

Lack of sleep — something that’s epidemic these overscheduled days — also leaves undereye skin less time to recuperate. The fluid from swelling that might normally be reabsorbed when we’re horizontal just continues to puff up, the longer we’re up and around.

According to a Medical News Today article by Jennifer Berry, other conditions that can contribute to bags under your eyes include injury, weakened facial muscles, irritation from smoking, allergies and colds, and even genetic factors (more family baggage!). If the undereye bags show up suddenly or are accompanied by unexplained redness, itching, or discharge from the eyes, you should check with your health care provider.

Here are some precautions you can take to keep undereye bags from developing and to minimize their appearance if they do show up.

  1. Up your dosage of Vitamin Zzzzzz. Good-quality sleep is good for your whole body, mind, and spirit. Sleep allows the skin to carry out its normal turnover process, instead of being clogged by dry, dead cells. Skin care products that promote rejuvenation — including eye creams to prevent wrinkling and edema — also work best while you’re sleeping. Sleeping on your back or with your head slightly elevated, if these positions are comfortable for you, are best for reducing swelling and smoothing wrinkles.
  2. Cut back on caffeine and alcohol consumption. These beverages are dehydrating to the skin and can interfere with quality sleep. One exception: Skin care products containing caffeine can be applied topically to reduce the swelling of undereye bags.
  3. Don’t smoke. Bags under your eyes are the least of your worries when it comes to the harmful effects smoking can have on your looks and your life. Get help quitting, or better still don’t start.
  4. Get treatment for seasonal allergies that cause eye irritation.
  5. Moisturize and repair. The fragile skin around your eyes needs to be well hydrated even if the rest of your face tends to be oily. Choose quality products like SkinMedica’s TNS Eye Repair and Uplifting Eye Serum.
  6. Don’t put concealer on with a spatula. We sometimes have a tendency to slather on foundation or concealer or even highlighter to “cover up,” but all that does is draw more attention. A touch of concealer or a roll-on product that reduces puffiness are the best options.
  7. Keep cool. Undereye bags caused by lack or sleep, irritation, or stress can be soothed using cold compresses. Some people swear by sliced cucumbers, others by cold tea bags (the caffeine effect), but a cool washcloth or chilled eye mask will do just as well. So will the rest your eyes get while you lie back to keep the compresses in place.

More extensive cosmetic procedures for reducing bags under the eyes include these treatments and more offered by Comprehensive Dermatology Center of Pasadena:

  • Dermal fillers, which temporarily plump wrinkles and restore volume or fullness to areas of the face.
  • Chemical peels, which remove the damaged outer layers of the skin and promote the growth of new, healthy, smoother tissue.
  • Laser lifts, like our Madonna Eye Lift, that provide the results of cosmetic surgery without the added expense, risk, and longer recovery time.

If you would like to explore further treatment for undereye bags, contact us today and request your complimentary consultation with our cosmetics consultant, Mary Lou Brimecombe. She’ll help you decide what products and treatments are best for you.

Tanning Addicted? Maybe It’s Because You’re SAD

Tanning — whether out in the unprotected sun or using an indoor tanning facility or device — has been so thoroughly proven to be dangerous that many states ban the use of tanning beds by people under 18. Yet skin cancer rates related to UV exposure and tanning continue to go up, especially among younger women.

Why do people who know the dangers continue to tan? Why do so many claim to be addicted to the process or demonstrate definite patterns of dependence?

A new study from the Yale School of Public Health suggests some interesting possibilities.

Researchers discovered a higher propensity toward other addictive behaviors, such as alcohol abuse or “exercise addiction,” among study participants who described themselves as addicted to tanning. While this may indicate addictive personality issues, there was one other correlation that the researchers found intriguing. Tanning-dependent subjects were three times more likely to experience symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) than non-tanners.

SAD is a type of depressive disorder keyed to the change of seasons, with patients generally exhibiting sadness, sleep and eating disorders, generalized aches and pains, and loss of interest in pleasurable activities during the late fall, winter, and early spring months when there is less available sunlight. Seasonal affective disorder is commonly treated with exposure to controlled, filtered light.

Those who can’t stop tanning might well be using the tanning bed to self-medicate for seasonal depression, the study posits. There is even a possibility that the co-addictions to alcohol and exercise may be attempts to fight SAD or other depressive disorders as well. Sunlight and artificial tanning rays stimulate the body’s production of endorphins, the hormones that contribute to our feeling of well-being and happiness. So does exercise. And alcohol, though actually a depressant, initially stimulates the reward areas of the brain, distracting us from feelings of sadness or depression.

It is certainly possible that these links are only circumstantial. Tanners may also be addicted to exercise because they are highly conscious of how their bodies look. Those who abuse alcohol may also abuse other things like tanning. But the SAD connection is a good one to explore if you are trying to kick a tanning addiction (which we strongly urge you to do, for the sake of your health, your skin, and your beauty!).

Your physician can arrange tests for SAD and other depressive conditions and can recommend treatment that lifts your spirits while not sacrificing your health. At Comprehensive Dermatology Center of Pasadena, we offer a wide variety of sun protection products, plus treatments to help restore your skin’s natural, youthful glow and stop UV damage before it turns disfiguring or deadly. Contact us to get help kicking the tanning habit.



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