Article by Tanveer Janjua, MD
Bedminster Facial Plastic Surgeon
As we discuss the aesthetics of your physical appearance and possible surgical and non-surgical interventions, it’s also important to consider your beauty in terms of overall health – your face, body, mind and soul.
Before we embark on any type of treatment regimen, it’s important that you feel good about your total self – because shortening your nose, tightening your neck, or eliminating wrinkles will not mask low self esteem or lack of confidence. When you are emotionally, psychologically and physically healthy, it naturally radiates from your face.
One way to help ensure good overall health is to treat your body with respect. It needs proper hydration, exercise, nutrition, sleep, sensuality, spiritualism, stress reduction and skin care.
When you follow these basics of good health, you will look and feel your best.
Drink More Water.
Your body and especially your skin need plenty of fresh, clean water to flourish. Try to drink at least 2.5 litres (17glasses) of filtered or bottled water daily whether you’re at home, in the office or in a car. If you drink water only once or twice a day, it will be difficult to take in as much as you need. So try to drink small amounts throughout the day. Remember, no beverage is a substitute for pure water. And some beverages, like coffee, tea and alcohol actually can be harmful because they tend to dehydrate the body.
It’s a well-known fact that vigorous exercise (increasing your heart rate above normal) for 30 minutes a day for at least three days a week will help prolong your life. Exercise actually releases endorphins that make you happy and help you feel good about yourself. If you don’t belong to a gym, consider vigorous walks. Or strive for 10,000 steps throughout your day. Consider buying a pedometer and carry it with you to tally your steps. I personally make a point to walk whenever possible. I park my car in the farthest spot of any parking lot, and use stairs instead of elevators. It’s also important to keep tabs on your weight regularly with a bathroom scale.
One of the best things you can do is to see a nutritionist. Start by jotting down every thing you eat for an entire week. Share that information with the nutritionist and follow the advice you’re given. Generally, it’s better to eat restricted portions every four hours than to load up a couple of times a day. Choose organic foods when possible, and concentrate on fresh fruits, vegetables of all colors, whole grains, and healthy proteins and fats. Balance your diet and eat fewer processed foods and less sugar.
Salmon is naturally rich in healthful omega-3 fatty acids. Try to eat more fish in general and, if possible, choose salmon twice a week. Wild fresh-caught salmon is preferable to farm-raised fish.
Although vitamin supplements are helpful, they cannot replace good nutrition and a healthy life style. Generally speaking, one multivitamin tablet daily is recommended. Because so many supplements are on the market, it’s a good idea to discuss options with your family physician. Popular supplements include fish oil, flax seed oil, grape seed extract, and coenzyme Q10.
Get Enough Sleep.
The general requirement for adults is about eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. If you experience difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, tell your family physician. Don’t use sleep aids on a regular basis and don’t consume alcohol in the evening. Don’t drink caffeine or consume chocolate after 2 p.m. Establish a relaxing sleep environment. Don’t watch television in your bedroom. Instead, fall asleep with a radio, CD player or a soothing sound machine.
Next to sun exposure, smoking is the worst activity for your skin. It produces free radicals through oxidation and causes premature skin aging and increased cancer risk. If you smoke, please talk to your family physician about quit-smoking options that might include prescription drugs.
Practice Daily Skin Care.
Skin care is essential to maintain the beauty of a face. Keep your skin clean, and thoroughly remove makeup each night before bed. Essentials include sunscreen moisturizer every morning and at least one skin care product at bedtime. My personal favorite is Prevage MD (Idebenone 1%). If you’re willing to spend at least ten minutes taking care of your skin nightly, then use a combination of products from a good skin care line. Our office uses PCA skin care from Arizona. To determine the correct balance of products for your skin, see a doctor or an experienced aesthetician to evaluate your particular needs. For example, products appropriate for an Asian woman with hyper pigmentation (dark spots) will be very different from products used by a Caucasian woman with rosacea.
Limit Sun Exposure.
This is important. You must protect your skin from sun exposure every day – not just when you go out. Your sunscreen should protect against both UV-A and UV- B rays. The SPF factor indicates the level of protection against UV-B rays only. For example, a sunscreen with SPF 60 might not offer any protection against UV-A light, leaving you exposed to harmful rays that can cause skin damage, skin aging and skin cancer. If you’re not sure which products are right for you, try Anthelios-SX from LaRoche Possay. It delivers excellent protection from both UV-A and UV-B and is a moisturizer as well. The key is to use sunscreen every day to establish a healthy habit.
The face of a happy and content person can appear to be very attractive, while lack of spiritual happiness and inner peace can steal the looks of even the most beautiful face.
If you are religious, continue to follow your religion for peace and comfort. If you are spiritual, continue to enrich your life through spiritual growth as you see fit.
A healthy sexual life affects your overall happiness. If you’re a sexually active adult experiencing problems in this area, please confide in your family physician or a specialist.
I have saved this topic for last because it’s the single most important factor in our lives these days. Whether your stress is triggered by financial burden, relationship issues, lack of spiritualism, physical illness, etc., it needs to be treated. If you continually blame your personal life issues for your unhappiness, you’re simply justifying your situation. Move forward in a healthy direction by admitting that your stress is destructive, and then start to alleviate it by improving your responses to stress.
How do you begin? Find inner peace through Yoga, Tai Chi, Meditation, or religious help. Realize that stress can stem from anxiety and depression. Self-help books help treat mild stress, but if you’ve experienced more than two weeks of continued stress, low moods, mood swings, anger, lack of appetite, decreased libido, sense of hopelessness, crying spells, sleep disturbances, an inability to derive positive feelings from things and interactions that used to make you happy, an inability to maintain a job or relationship, or a poor body image, these are signs of underlying depression, anxiety or both. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please seek help from a psychiatrist or psychotherapist. PLEASE REMEMBER THAT CHANGING YOUR LOOKS WILL NEVER GIVE YOU TRUE HAPPINESS OR SATISFACTION UNLESS YOU ARE PSYCHOLOGICALLY INTACT.
If you can honestly say that you don’t suffer from any of the above symptoms of anxiety and depression, you’re ready to embark on the amazing adventure of facial rejuvenation. You might start with a procedure as simple as Botox or as aggressive as a facelift. Always secure at least two expert medical opinions and then go with your intuition. A well-informed patient is the best patient, and usually the happiest one in the long run.