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The New Self Care Standard

Gabby Garritano

By: Gabby Garritano

Every now and then I am hit by surprise when someone asks, “I hope you don’t mind me asking, but have you had injectables?” Of course, as an advocate of reducing the taboos behind cosmetic injectables, I am quick to tell all the little “secrets” that I have been doing for years now. And after their disbelief, with a little education, they are even quicker to jump onboard with this new concept of preventative aging.

Modern beauty has changed. It isn’t necessarily about possessing exceptional features that don’t look like you. Real beauty comes from within and having the confidence to be your best self. Being pretty isn’t about looking like some influencer or celebrity, it’s about looking smooth, natural, and healthy. It’s about appreciating our own unique features while also thinking about new a type of self-care standard.

Ageing gracefully is a well-known concept from the baby boomer generation, but it’s meaning is transforming in this rapidly changing world. In my opinion, aging gracefully was a euphemism that was an agreeable or even noble term, substituted for the unpleasant reality, about giving up the ongoing struggle to keep up appearances, given that aging changes of the face are progressive. There seemed to be this idea that once we hit a certain point in our lives, we should let ourselves go and give up all the maintenances we used to do to make us look and feel great.

I’d argue that as we age, taking care of our physical appearance is extremely important, as many studies have shown that feeling good about your appearance has positive effects on lifestyle and mood. A significant amount of research focuses on the importance of maintaining physical activity, eating correctly, and sleeping regularly. So why at some point would we give up on our external appearance when we know it has a direct correlation on decreasing depression rates, increasing work productivity, and producing positive thoughts internally.

Our goal is to continue to maximize our potential in all aspects of life as we age. Hello #boss. By using medical-grade products to help regulate and return cell turnover, restore collagen and elastin, and improve sun damage to a more youthful rate. Botox injections to smoothen lines and wrinkles, as well as dermal fillers to restore facial harmony and balance. This plan utilizes preventative measures while addressing immediate concerns.

Let’s reflect on what is really happening as we mature….

A youthful look depends on having the right amount of facial fat in the right places. Redistribution, accumulation, and atrophy of fat lead to facial volume loss.

Facial Fat Pad Aging

*Note: correlation between age and fat pad loss may vary depending on genetics and external factors.

Why do I look so tired all the time? This is one of the most common concerns we see as we age. This is because as we age, there are changes occurring deep below the skin such as volume loss from the fat pads, bone reabsorption, and weakening of ligaments that is cause an unrested look. Specific changes we see happening are a decrease in volume in the cheeks, leading to increased hollowness under the eyes and heavier smile lines. As we continue to mature, these changes continue to move downward, and we start to see more of a sad look to the corners of the mouth and thinner lips, jowls, and less definition to the jawline. The aging process of the face is inevitable, but we can now do things to think about how to maintain our youthful selves.

Starting Skin Deep

We know that the cell turnover of our skin slows as we age causing the skin to look more wrinkled, rough and dull. In addition, our skin becomes thinner and dry looking from loss of hyaluronic acid, collagen, and elastin. These patterns vary depending on genetics, external environmental factors such as UV exposure, and internal stressors put on the body. The skin is constantly evolving and skin cell turnover is an important part of both its function and its appearance. Medical-grade skincare helps regulate and return cell turnover, restore collagen and elastin, and improve sun damage to a more youthful state.

One of the seven perceptions of beauty is skin clarity. We can achieve this by stimulating regrowth and renewal of skin cells, stimulating production of collagen and elastin through different types of skin treatments such as radio frequency, chemical peels and microneedling. Aquagold (also known as mesotherapy) shrinks the pores, gives a plumpness to the skin, and an overall smoother skin clarity. In addition to in office treatments, maintaining your skin health by using medical-grade skincare products is vital because we know the best results start from home. Check your products at home and make sure what you are buying is actually going to improve and protect your skin and give you visible results! Used over time these products progressively rejuvenate the skin, the surface texture, thickness and even its elasticity.

That Pesky Coin Slot

These treatments are not just about “fixing” existing problems, but about preventing problems from arising in the first place. Wrinkles, especially the ones between your brows, forehead, and around your eyes, are caused by repetitive motion, and they can be softened and avoided by inhibiting (not freezing) the movement of those muscles with neuromodulators. It also helps train your face to reduce these movements, even once the product wears off, so getting treatments before the wrinkles become deep will help stop them from occurring in the first place. Neuromodulators or wrinkle reducers (i.e. Botox, Dysport, Jeuveau, Xeomin) are agents that block muscular nerve signals, which in turn weakens the target muscle limiting muscle contraction. This results in diminished unwanted wrinkles in the target area. Another significant benefit is you also see a lifting affect in the brows and the eyes can appear to be more open after the treatment.

You may have heard the term “baby Botox” which has become very popular these days. Baby Botox is perfect for the select population of patients especially when thinking about preventative treatments, but more often than not, we really need to be thinking of how to adequately and fully treat the muscle, without leaving that frozen look. For example, you wouldn’t decrease an antibiotic if the patient is just “a little sick.” The same goes for wrinkle reducers, we should be treating the muscle to give the patient the maximum benefits (while still allowing movement) while also addressing surrounding accessory muscles which gives more of an overall natural look.

Triangle of Youth Aging Process

Achieving Facial Harmony

But what does harmony really mean? The definition of a musical harmony can actually be thought of very similarly when it comes to the face: “a consistent, orderly, or pleasing arrangement of parts; congruity. The simultaneous combination of tones, especially when blended into chords pleasing to the ear.” When thinking about facial aesthetics, this is exactly how we should be thinking, how can we balance all the features, not just focusing on one area, which actually creates more of a natural overall appearance. It is okay to have some asymmetry, as they say, the sides of the face are sisters not twins! Although facial symmetry might have a positive influence on facial attractiveness, slight asymmetry can give a more natural perception and may personalize the face.

When it comes to achieving harmony, dermal fillers are the first line treatment. These safe, degradable hyaluronic acid (polysaccharide sugars) fillers are helpful at reducing early signs of aging such as restoring volume and softening facial creases and wrinkles. But instead of filling in the lines, they can be used as a natural lifting agent to restore the volume loss causing these issues (increased smile lines) in the first place! Volume deterioration and deflation can be exaggerated in people who have experienced weight loss and even in people who excessively exercise.  

A youthful face has round contours, high cheekbones and a well-defined jawline. As we age, the layers of the face start to change and we begin to lose this youthful appearance. Common areas of volume replacement include around the eyes, the temples, and cheeks as well as the lips. Restoring the structure to these areas gives an immediate youthful appearance. Often we are aiming to:

                    • Restore cheek volume and enhances cheekbones
                    • Improve the appearance of tear trough (under eye hollowing)
                    • Soften nasolabial fold
                    • Improve the angle of the jawline

Pro Choice

Lastly, I would like to add that I am not trying to pressure anyone to feel as if they must partake in these procedures. The way I look at it is, it’s merely your body and your choice. With that being said, I personally have come to love these treatments, along with other thousands of patients I have had the pleasure of treating. I feel it would a shame to not share this education with others because at the end of the day, when you look your best and feel your best, you simply are your best self. It is such a joy to help others feel like their most confident best self.  

With people living and working longer, wanting to maintain your looks is entirely logical. The most common mistake people make is to delay due to fears or taboos, therefore, not benefitting the most from what is available. It is my hope that by having this modern understanding of what “aging gracefully” means, you will look and feel as though you are one of those people fortunate to “naturally” look good for their age. And even for someone as “natural” looking as myself, I have had multiple syringes of filler, many wrinkle reducer treatments, as well as a several chemical peels, microneedling sessions, AquaGold treatments, and of course the five-minute skincare routine I perform every single night before bed!