The mission of your medical spa is to help clients achieve “physical heath, inner joy and improved looks.”  What’s the connection between the “inner self” and aging– especially skin aging?

When a person is less stressed, more mindful and content, he or she will make better choices, for one thing.

There is no doubt that nutritional intake plays an integral part in healthy aging.  Good nutrition is an excellent way to improve skin condition.  Not smoking, avoiding sun damage, drinking more water, and choosing quality skin products—these healthy choices also help prevent the ravages of aging on skin.

At the spa, we strive to help clients increase mindfulness through breathing, meditation and relaxation techniques.   A relaxed body and mind that has just experienced aromatherapy and good massage will be more inclined to hydrate and taste some fruit, rather than grab a bag of chips and a soda.  The extra few seconds that it takes to make a better choice, coming from the inner mindful self, can translate into many years of longer quality life.

We are all beautiful, but some of us want to be more beautiful than ever.  And that’s good.

Can you give us an example of the wellness/health connection?

Emotional stress can increase blood sugar levels—just one example of how stress can be physically harmful.  So one’s ability to cope with stressors can have a profound effect on wellness.  Diet is also a factor in maintaining healthy blood sugars.  So we offer training, products and services at our spa to meet both mental and physical benefits.

If you were to select one stress-reduction technique that has the greatest positive effect on skin health and beauty, what would it be?

In medicine, we are trained to think in terms of lower-cost, easy-to-perform methods to achieve the greatest positive effect.  For instance, in cancer screening the more likely a test is to be performed, due to low cost and convenience, the greater positive effect it will have in detecting cancer in the general population. So I would have to say for both stress reduction and skin health, the easiest tasks to perform are deep breathing and daily stretching to both relax muscle tension and improve circulation.  Healthy skin is very dependent on good circulation! Learning and practicing Yoga exercises daily is a great way to start.   Once you learn some of these stretches and positions from a professional, it’s very easy to perform them at home at little or no cost.

How do you “stay in the moment,” day-in and day-out?

It takes practice.  It’s also a choice.  Each time you apply that moisturizer, drink extra water, take those vitamins, stretch and breathe, and choose to bite into a nice fresh apple, you are staying in the moment.  Listen to sounds and say kind words.  These things take effort, but are worth it!

Let’s say a patient comes to you with an issue relating to crepey, wrinkled skin.  How do you determine whether or not the patient is a candidate for, say, microdermabrasion and micro-current treatment versus a topical skin-care solution?

I would not exfoliate or use microdermabrasion for this; I would want to stimulate collagen and elastin under thinning, crinkly skin.  Daily use of a good topical skin product for moisturizing and protection should go a long way in aiding the treatment method for collagen stimulation. Microcurrent, radiofrequency treatments, and microneedling using growth factors are all helpful methods of collagen stimulation.  The severity of laxity, location on body, and client preference, time frame or budget will factor into which method is chosen.   We often employ a combination of treatments.  To get lasting results, periodic refresher treatments are necessary.   Once we see what works best, using before and after photos, the best regimen will be customized to the client.

What topical skin-care treatment do you recommend to enhance the effects of a procedure?

I myself have used MEG 21 Advanced Formula daily for 8 years.  It is especially good to use after micro needling or facials; also MEG 21 Redness Relief or Cell Therapy are excellent “post procedure” products. MEG 21 is by far the best topical treatment for deep moisturizing and anti-aging effects that I have found.  I first discovered it when I was visiting booths at an aesthetics trade show in 2009 in Manhattan.  Brief periods when I tried other products always ended with me resuming MEG 21. Many doctors have a natural curiosity, I think, and will readily experiment on themselves.  I have used a lot of different products—some very expensive.  Today, when I recommend MEG 21, I speak from both science and personal experience.  The patented ingredient that sets MEG 21 apart is Supplamine®, which reverses glycation caused by dietary sugars.  Like the name suggests, it makes skin supple—less wrinkled, less dry– less “hard” actually.  Without MEG 21 my own skin has a tendency to form small hard spots, which must be related to the damage of glycation and probably also UV light.  There is a difference in the way my skin feels, the hard spots go away, and the wrinkling decreases, when I use MEG 21 by Dynamis.  

Much has been written—and researched by our team of scientists at Dynamis Skin Science—about the connection between sugar and accelerated aging.  What do you see as the nutrition/skin aging connection?  And, what do you recommend to your patients regarding eating well to look well?

I think that nutrition and aging of the body in general—bones, connective tissue, heart, brain, skin—all of it—are totally connected to nutrition.  The healthiest diet practices involve eating plenty of fresh whole vegetables. My recommendations are Number 1: As much as possible, cut out sugar, and do not consume artificial sugars.  Some natural fruit or honey is fine in small amounts.   Number 2: Hydrate with filtered water, plain or with lemon, throughout the day.  Alkalinizing a drink of water with baking soda once or twice a day is also good.  Number 3: Keep a healthy gut—it improves the immune system for one thing.  Medicine is just beginning to understand the importance of gut and skin microflora.  So eat healthy fiber, take a daily spoonful of apple cider vinegar to help digestion, and try to eat only non-processed foods.  The gut and skin are connected.  Number 4: Eat plenty of green and red vegetables, fresh or cooked a little—not fried. Number 5: Take an antioxidant supplement and maintain good vitamin D and Magnesium levels.  

What about the sugar/skin connection?

As far as sugar and the damage it does to skin, as well as other organs of the body, absolutely there is a proven connection there.  This is all about sugar molecules attaching to proteins in the body, including collagen and elastin.  Once attached, the damage begins; healing and repairs from environmental factors are impaired.

How should doctors work hand-in-glove with estheticians to ensure optimum treatment for enhancing skin health and beauty?

Aestheticians are great client educators.  Under the guidance of a good medical director, they will always have the information they need at their disposal.  A good aesthetician naturally loves beauty and enjoys learning and being inspired.

Spring and summer are around the corner.  What role do you see antioxidants play in protection against environmental factors?

For sun damage protection and treatment, MEG 21 Anti-Oxidant Cell Therapy is a great product.  I also recommend taking a good antioxidant supplement by mouth.  We do genetic saliva testing and also can order bloodwork to gain insight on the best supplements for our clients.  Of course, anytime antioxidants can be applied topically or internally, it’s hard to go wrong.

What do you see as the biggest “watchouts” or cautions in the time-honored quest for younger-looking skin?

Botox or other botulinum toxin injections are big “watchouts.”  The long-term effects are precarious, due to the risk of facial muscle thinning.  This could create an “older looking face” over time. Microcurrent treatment is a nice alternative to Botox-type products.  And of course, a first rate facial product for keeping skin more supple. In addition, exfoliation or aggressive resurfacing might be a thing of the past soon.  My inner “caution light” is going off over these treatments.  Skin is there for a good reason—be careful about injuring it on purpose, in any way.

What’s the biggest insight you have gained in over 27 years of clinical practice about keeping skin both healthy and younger looking?

As with all matters of health and beauty:  love yourself!  A major part of being healthy and staying young in body and mind is feeling that you deserve it, that you are worth it. With that mindset, for skin in particular, avoid damage caused by sun, smoking, sugar, dehydration, stress, and harsh soaps or chemicals.  If you use makeup, go organic. Also, eat a good diet with fruit, vegetables, high fiber; avoid chemicals and preservatives.   Sleep well, practice relaxation techniques.  Look and feel younger from the inside out. Let your own standard of happiness guide you.  Never let a physician or aesthetician tell you what “flaws” need fixing!  We are all beautiful, but some of us want to be more beautiful than ever.  And that’s good.