There are hundreds of articles on beauty and skin telling you what you should be doing to improve your looks and skin health. I’m going to take the opposite approach. There are numerous activities and habits I see in our office that is just plain counterproductive to what I’m trying to improve. If you just stopped these 5 things, your skin, looks, and sometimes overall health would be significantly better.
- Don’t smoke! Without a doubt, this is the worst habit for your skin’s health. The nicotine causes the small vessels in the skin to contract. This “strangulates” the organs and deprives the skin of oxygen and it’s vital blood supply. Toxins from the tobacco enter the blood stream and are distributed throughout the body and skin as well. Worst of all, smoking gives you smokers lip lines – a very difficult problem to fix.
- Don’t use tanning beds! I’m surprised that tanning beds are still legal. There is no doubt in the medical community that tanning bed use increases skin cancers: basal cell, squamous cell, and even melanoma. Looking beyond cancers, severe premature aging of the skin is a result. Just as sun exposure does, tanning beds cause breakdown of collagen and elastin fibers leading to loose, thin, nonelastic skin. Volume loss associated with aging is exaggerated.
- Don’t pick! I see numerous scars related to acne, particularly deeper cystic acne, that the patient tries to “improve” by picking, poking, and needling. This can lead to a worse infection, sometimes MRSA, that requires antibiotics and creams to improve. The end result is often scarring and hyperpigmentation which can require skincare, peels and often lasers or RF treatment.
- Don’t listen to your friend/neighbor who recently became a skincare expert! Isn’t it funny that your friend now knows all about what’s good for your skin and they have the perfect product that will do miracles that they want to sell you. For additional convenience, they will also ship it to you on a monthly basis. Keep your guard up with these folks. Most often, the products are nicely repackaged creams available OTC from multiple different companies. Only physicians can sell certain products which are prescription strength or certain product lines that have peer reviewed research behind them. Aestheticians spend months in the classroom and devote their livelihood to skincare and are truly experts in guiding your skin care regime. At The Aesthetic Clinique, we have 4 fulltime aestheticians, 1 nurse, and Dr. Weiner to give you a team approach to your skin. We offer multiple skin care lines which we have chosen for their particular strengths in certain age and disease related processes.
- Don’t expect a face lift to fix everything! It happens daily in our office. “I’m trying to decide if I should do skincare, peels, filler, lasers, Botox, Ulthera, Infini or JUST GET A FACELIFT”. A facelift will help with laxity, improve the jowls, improve some wrinkles but there is so much more that won’t get treated. In most cases, some sort of neck lift must be done to improve the jawline and “to match the face”. Getting a facelift does not mean you can eliminate Botox. A facelift will do absolutely nothing for the skin damage that would benefit from lasers, skincare, and peels. Volume loss is not addressed by a facelift unless a secondary procedure with fat grafting is performed. It’s been my experience that patients who have had facelifts actually have more volume loss related to fat atrophy in the preauricular area as a result of the flap elevation (lifting the skin). Rejuvenation around the eyes is not part of a standard facelift and requires another procedure called a “blepharoplasty”. The point is that it takes a multifaceted approach to improve all the aspects of the aging face, and a facelift only addresses a small part the problem.
- Bonus (Addendum) Don’t drink from straws. This habit leads to those ugly lip lines, even if you don’t smoke.
Dr. Steven Weiner is a Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon practicing in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, between Destin and Panama City Beach, Florida. After laying down his scalpel in 2005 he has devoted his practice to Lasers and Injectables.