It is not infrequently that I hear the comment, “I’m not vain’ or “I want to grow old gracefully,” or “at my age, what does it matter? What is implied in all these comments? Is there a commonality amongst them? Should we not care about how our faces decline as they age? Don’t we have a choice besides watching our looks transform and do nothing, of course, we do! Science and medicine have improved our lives in so many ways, this is just another way of remaining well.
First, instead of answering these questions directly, I might ask a woman patient about the beautiful clothing they were wearing, or maybe I would compliment them on their hairstyle or how perfectly polished their nails are. With a man maybe comment on the level of fitness, head of hair or his nice watch. My question is, are these measures vain? Is it a character flaw, wanting to present oneself in the best light? Is it “not okay” to wear nice clothes or to pamper ourselves?
Folks will spend hours and hours at the gym reshaping their bodies, buy great gym clothes and the best supplements. Hire top trainers and fitness and diet coaches. They spend thousands of dollars on lotions and potions and over the counter anti-aging “medicines” and herbs. Runners buy shoes and pedometers and join health clubs. The quest for the beautiful body of our dreams seems to be widely accepted without question. So, why is the advanced, safe and proven treatments in medical aesthetics somehow vain?
Well, the fact is that self-improvement and investing in medical aesthetics has been found to build self-esteem and confidence. Medical aesthetics has proven to be reliable, safe and much more affordable than ever. Some studies show that an attractive face, scores higher on attraction models than those of the body, especially as we age.
There is nothing else that can halt the progression of the aging face. No cream can counteract the effect of facial volume loss. Rhytids (wrinkles) are inevitable unless the muscles are relaxed, long term Retin-A or skin resurfacing device is used. The advancement of this specialty over the last decade has been amazing. The melding of long-term corrections for the aging face and regenerative medicine holds great promise. We are living longer, and it is just logical that we want to look as good as we feel. No one says “I have a migraine but I want to tolerate it gracefully, we take the Excedrin”!
I recall a patient explicitly saying, “I have earned every wrinkle on my 60-year-old face.” I say, “That may be true, but what about the grey hair on your head”? (as blonde highlighted auburn locks shine, ( from afternoon re-coloring), the twinkle in my eyes evident to her, she laughs out loud!
I rest my case.
Best of health,
Brian Whaley ARNP-BC