Looking fabulous at every age involves more than just wearing the appropriate length skirt with the latest trendy shirt and shoes. The look is made complete by exuding the confidence of knowing that you not only are fashionable but also that you look well. Such wellness is, in part, achieved by managing your age well, or simply, aging less. Aging is a natural phenomenon. It happens. Moreover, there are a number of factors that contribute to aging. These may be generally classified as intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic factors are those with which we were born and cannot control. Extrinsic factors are typically learned or acquired, and therefore can be altered. Factors that lend to aging which may not be adjusted include genetics, skin type, and pore size, while those that may be changed for improved health include lifestyle, nutrition, and stress. Of note, appearance or how you look as well as how you feel about different aspects of your life are now believed to play an increased role in wellness. In fact, the World Health Organization modified the definition of health as “… a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” In addition, wellness has been defined by the National Wellness Association as “an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a more successful existence.” Therefore, aging well is an individualized and broad process that encompasses several variables of health and living. It stands to reason, then, that you have a choice in how well you age. And who does not like having choice?!
The aging process typically begins at 30. Physiologically, hormonal changes occur, metabolism slows, and cells begin to undergo what is believed to be a programmed decline in function. These, along with a plethora of other occurrences, lead to a variety of manifestations. On the level of the skin, facial skin becomes dry, less elastic, less firm (from the loss of collagen), and may show signs of sun damage. It may also be uneven, discolored, sagging, and develop wrinkles and loss of volume or facial fat. These are the result of a combination of natural aging (intrinsic) as well as extrinsic aging, and they may be managed in a do-it-yourself manner or with a little help from our “friends.”
I introduced the philosophy of “Holistic Plastic Surgery” to reflect the concept that beauty and healing emanate from within. Thus, from my perspective, the outer form will not fully experience maximally beneficial outcomes after therapeutic or elective interventions unless the core foundation, i.e., the body’s internal and external organ systems, are intact and optimized. Holistic Plastic Surgery involves more than surgery; non-surgical treatments as injectables (fillers, Botox®, etc.), chemical peels, and Vitaglow may also be part of an individualized plan to achieve beauty goals. The approach also assesses one’s dietary habits, skin care regimen, and general lifestyle, and incorporates recommendations for therapies that complement those goals, such as proper nutrition, stress reduction techniques, manual lymphatic drainage, Reiki, acupuncture, detox, vitamin supplementation, and homeopathy. Nonetheless, this philosophy may not be for everyone.
Regardless of how one chooses to manage and show one’s age, whether or not with the help of a surgeon’s needle or knife, it is beneficial to look good for one’s given age, i.e., to be a better version of one’s current self. Therefore, to age well, I “prescribe” the following 10 tips to looking fabulous at every age:
1. Establish a good foundation: take care of your skin. Moisturize it, protect it from the sun, and stop touching it throughout the day! Whether with injectables or actual surgery, healthy, well-moisturized skin responds better to the needle and the knife;
2. Know who you are and are not: understand what looks good on you; know your own face. What fits your best friend’s cheeks may not be suitable for yours;
3. Keep your mind active and your brain performing; engage in lifelong learning;
4. Stop smoking. Period. If you need help, get it;
5. Avoid prolonged, unprotected sun exposure. Enough said; you have heard it all before;
6. Be emotional: maintain an optimistic attitude and try to live an emotionally enriched life every day. Also, nourish your spirituality and have faith. Explore your metaphysical core. Be present. Practice detachment. Look for deeper meaning;
7. Honor your temple with good nutrition. A proper eating regimen will help to ensure normal healing, maintain active metabolism, and encourage efficient elimination of toxins. If healthful eating is lacking, take vitamins and supplements as directed by your physician or nutritionist as a complement to eating well. Limit intake of sugar, fat, and alcohol and stay hydrated to help your body clear itself of toxins. This is particularly helpful after surgery when your body enters into a state of relative dehydration and is briefly deprived of nutritional support;
8. Remain social: studies have shown that a strong social network may improve health and that close friendships may increase natural immunity;
9. Exercise regularly. There is really no way around it;
10. Manage stress effectively and often. Get consistent and adequate sleep every night (Sleep deprivation limits the body’s ability to regenerate tissues as skin and muscle and thus affects appearance.). Listen to your body.
Aging well is as dynamic as the aging process itself. To look and feel well involves a balanced lifestyle that incorporates a variety of factors to help achieve successful living. With or without the knife, to age well is to be, both inside and out, age-less!
Dr. Shirley Madhère is a plastic surgeon who practices “holistic plastic surgery” in New York City. She may be contacted via e-mail through [thenewaesthete.com]. For more information regarding her practice and for additional tips on beauty and plastic surgery, please visit her website, [thenewaesthete.com] or [drshirleymadhere.com].
Dr. Shirley Madhère is a graduate of Boston University, where she received a B.A. after a liberal arts education concentrating on English, biology, classical dance, and French literature. Having simultaneously cultivated a desire to study medicine, Dr. Madhère matriculated at the Dartmouth Medical School and the Brown University School of Medicine combined program. She also strengthened her foundation in science by obtaining concurrently a Master’s Degree at the Brown University Graduate School. Thereafter, she completed both a full residency in general surgery and a second, subsequent residency in plastic surgery at the Montefiore Medical Center. Dr. Madhère’s subspecialty training was undertaken in Cosmetic Surgery at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary under the tutelage of some of New York City’s most renowned plastic surgeons. A native New Yorker of multicultural background and with international interests, she remained in New York City to begin her private practice.
Dr. Madhère’s medical interests are diverse, and include skin care, general health, and age management. Her practice is aimed also at balancing and integrating these concepts with a focus on aesthetic surgery of the face, breast surgery, body contouring as well as general plastic and reconstructive surgery. Dr. Madhère believes that beauty radiates from within and that the external form and visage are reflections of inner health of the mind and body. The fusion of these concepts to practice a multidisciplinary approach to aesthetics, wellness, form and function is paramount to Dr. Madhère’s success in practicing “holistic plastic surgery” (trademark pending). This unique philosophy, created by Dr. Madhère, is exemplified in her practice, as she incorporates facets of various types of complementary medicine and the healing arts to optimize patients and maximize outcomes. For additional information about Dr. Madhère, her philosophy, or her work, please visit [thenewaesthete.com] or [drshirleymadhere.com].