The economy is gloomy. We are in a recession and experts agree the economy will not rebound for the next 1-2 years. It is time to be frugal! I have recommended this regimen for 10 years now, and it seems like a good time to put my advice in the blog. The cheapest plastic surgery you, as a patient, can do is to limit your skin exposure to the sun and stop smoking.
Any degree of tanning means your skin’s defense mechanism has been activated to minimize the damage to your skin cells. However, there is always some damage. As you can imagine, the damage is cumulative: the longer the tanning, the more advanced the damage. Therefore, tanning salons are just as bad as the sun. Your tanned skin may look cute at age 17, but as we age, we lose water, collagen and elastin from our skin cells. The damage from sun or tanning booth will compound the aging process, resulting in thick, leathery skin. Even the most aggressive face lift or laser procedure cannot reverse this aging process, and may result in an unnatural, “operated on” result.
Skin cancer is also another potential side effect of chronic tanning. If you have pale skin, red hair, freckles and green eyes, you are especially prone to developing melanoma. As you may recall, Senator Mc Cain recently had extensive surgery to remove a melanoma from the left side of his face.
The nicotine in cigarette, along with thousand of other compounds cause vasoconstriction (“choke” the blood vessels) throughout the entire body. This means the largest artery and the smallest artery in our body will constrict from smoking. This is also a cumulative effect and the degree of damage is proportional to the amount of cigarettes and the number of years consumed. As you can imagine, the blood vessels to the skin will also be affected, limiting the oxygen supply to the cells and thus accelerating the aging process. Furthermore, one can save hundreds to thousands of dollars a year if smoking is discontinued.
Exercise! We have all heard the benefits of exercise and time has not disproven any of the claims. Exercise works! It improves the blood supply to your skin and produces endorphin (your body’s own morphine) which gives one a natural high. You do not have to join any gym either. I have found walking to be one of the best exercises available. All it requires is a good pair of walking shoes. Walking briskly for one hour, 5-6 days a week is the only exercise you may need. Drink plenty of water. Remember, as part of the aging process, our skin cells lose water. Dehydration is certainly not going to help. My rule of thumb is to drink enough water so the color of my urine is light yellow or clear. The advice I have recommended assumes you are healthy. If you have any medical condition which may affect your ability to exercise or drink fluids, please check with your physician.
There you have it. I hope this will make you take better care of yourself. Remember, no body is going to take better care of you than yourself. As the Kaiser Permanente commercial says: Live long and thrive!
Dr. Jazayeri is a board certified plastic surgeon with over 20 years of experience. To schedule a complimentary consultation, please call 714-834-0101.