September has come and gone so quickly and it is time for another newsletter from the practice of Dr Ian Webster.
We attended a fascinating talk in Cape Town last week presented by, Dr Arthur Swift, a plastic surgeon from Montreal, Canada. The talk titled BEAUTIphiCATION (phi is pronounced “fi” as though you are going to say fire), was one of the most fascinating talks we have ever attended.
Dr Swift lost no time in making it clear that over-treating a patient in pursuit of perfection is not the way to go in the aesthetic market. He told the audience of plastic surgeons and dermatologists, that they were to ‘’think improvement, rather than perfection”. Problems often start when patient pressure demands that the doctor perform miracles on someone who was never been the belle of the ball and never will be… Dr Swift’s take on this was to rather improve on what is and not try to create what isn’t, as this is a good example of how things can go wrong! What a relief to find a voice of sanity in this sometimes out-of-control industry, where faces are stretched like an artist’s canvas, lips are filled to balloon proportions and faces are frozen in a surprised stare.
In New York recently, in the area where all the top specialists practice, I saw many examples of an aesthetic industry gone wrong. Crossing a traffic island near 5th Avenue, I saw a gigantic pair of bright orange lips cross the road – I stood spellbound and my sister had to remind me that it is rude to stare! When I came to my senses, I noticed the lips belonged to a very dainty lady who was probably in her mid-80s. Her lips were so overfilled and puffed out in a fishy pout, I never saw the rest of the lady, only her carefully painted orange lips!
I saw many examples of elderly ladies in this area who were obviously pushing for perfection and it was definitely at odds with their age, which was immediately telling by their hands, droopy necks and the way in which they moved. Instead of looking beautiful, many of them looked ghoulish. Interestingly, Dr Swift, spoke of treating his patients holistically and not only looking at surgery, fillers etc but also skin, hair and eyebrows. He explained that in his practice he works with experts in their respective fields, to help patients attain an overall improvement and meet their expectations.
The main theme of Dr Swift’s talk was based on the studies of Dr Stephen Marquardt, who has studied human beauty for many years in his practice of oral and maxillofacial surgery. Dr Marquardt, in his quest to find out if “beauty was quantifiable”, performed cross-cultural surveys on beauty and found that all groups had the same perceptions of facial beauty. This led him to analyse the human face from ancient times to modern day and through his research, he discovered that beauty is related to phi, the perfect proportions of the Golden Ratio 1:1618 found in nature, architecture, design, geometry, aesthetics . Beauty, using this ratio, can be defined for both genders, for all races, cultures and through the various eras, from ancient to modern day. Dr Swift showed many examples of famous beauties to illustrate why they are deemed to be beautiful and all of their facial proportions fall within the golden ratio principles, yielding pleasing and harmonious proportions.
Dr Marquardt developed and patented a beauty mask called Golden Decagon Mask, This mask uses the pentagon and decagon as its foundation and embodies phi in all their dimensions. It is used to measure the correct proportions in patients who are undergoing plastic surgery or having fillers, so that the symmetry of the face is kept intact.
SKIN ACTIVE RANGE
As promised, I said I would give you feedback on the new Neostrata Skin Active range of products after using them for 16 weeks. After some initial dryness in the early stages of using this range (this is a transient side effect), my skin slowly adapted to the potently high cocktail of active ingredients and became silky soft with just the right amount of moisture. I definitely saw a clarity in my skin that was not there before I started using this range and for my 50-something old skin, I was comfortable in the knowledge that my skin matrix was being repaired and rejuvenated with these latest cosmeceutical products in the Neostrata range. It is not always easy to find products that penetrate your epidermis and work on the dermal layer of your skin but this range is certainly one of them.
1. Cosmeceuticals are a combination of cosmetic and pharmaceutical products.
2. Your skin matrix is like the scaffolding in the skin – in order for your skin to be smoother, tighter and have a more youthful appearance, your skin matrix needs to be in a healthy state. This is often broken down due to sun exposure, inflammation, irritation and bad lifestyle choices such as smoking etc. A combination of good products with active ingredients can help repair the skin matrix to a certain degree.
I am hesitant to limit the Skin Active range to an age group – I would say it is more for the mature skin from your 50s onwards but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone who feels they have started with photo-ageing (sun damage) in their late 30s or 40s.
It is not a cheap range (it is still cheaper than some of the other products in the cosmeceutical stable) but I do need to point out that what sets this range apart for me, is that the all the active ingredients necessary to try and ward off the ageing process, are found in each tube of the day and night cream. I love the fact that I no longer have to add in products to gain all the benefits needed for an ageing skin.
Dr Webster himself likes this range because he is seeing satisfied patients and also because he is a firm believer in evidence-based medicine and this range comes with published, scientific data and that makes him very happy!
I would like to point out that the entire Neostrata cosmeceutical range has been scientifically formulated by dermatologists and pharmacologists and many products in this range are still up there with the best …. Our most popular products are the Ultra Smoothing Creams (day and night), Bio-Hydrating and Bionic Cream/Serum and everyone loves the Vitamin A Renewal cream – these products are not as pricey as the Skin Active range and are still amazing products which may suit some pockets more than others.
Next month I will also give you more information on Environ which is also an excellent product range for South African skins.
We are going to be stocking a range of stylish, Cansa-approved, UV protection hats from October 2011. I will send out information and photographs of the hats once our stock has arrived. The hard part is going to be choosing which style and colour you would like to buy because these hats have got it all – style and protection! Imported from Australia, they come in variety of styles, colours and fabric for men, women and children.
SCLEROTHERAPY / LEG VEINS
Sister Liz du Toit has proved to be a hit in Somerset West! We have many happy patients whose leg veins have either disappeared or lightened considerably after undergoing treatment with her. We are now looking to give Liz another day in Somerset West as her bookings are under pressure as more and more people see and hear about the good results. To make a booking, you can phone either Gail or Renzana.
NEOSTRATA GLYCOLIC PEELS
We also have some very happy patients who have undergone Neostrata Glycolic peels this winter – I always love seeing a sleeping skin awaken to the delights of these treatments after the first winter peel. For people who have never had a peel or used glycolic products (fruit acid products), it really is a revelation when they find what a great booster these treatments are. These peels allow for better penetration of moisturisers and other active ingredients as the dry, horny layer of old dead skin cells is removed. The peel gives the skin a ‘polished’ look and the comments that I keep getting from people is that they feel it is the best facial they have ever had!
Of course the more profound benefits are that the peels help speed up cell renewal that slows down as we age and the added stimulation of the glycolic on the skin, also stimulates collagen and elastin production.
I have seen for myself that they can lighten freckles and they can smooth out fine lines with consistent use of the peels in conjunction with the Neostrata products, although this is privilege in my book and not a given fact!
We usually like to do between 4-6 peels on patients during the winter months when the threat of pigmentation from the sun is lessened but we do continue to do 20% peels on patients who have very little sun exposure in summer. So if you are a golfer, tennis player, hiker etc, rather factor in a series of peels during winter months.
TREATMENT OF HYPERHIDROSIS WITH BOTOX
There have been quite a few advertisements placed in the press by Allergan for the treatment of Hyperhidrosis. Allergan is the world-wide manufacturer of Botox. Hyperhidrosis means increased sweating and this can occur under the arms, on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. It can be a very distressing and disabling condition for some patients.
Dr Webster has been injecting Botox for approximately for the last 9 years, using it very successfully for sweating under the arms. One requires a number of superficial injections of Botox into the skin of both armpits and this results in an 85% reduction in sweating. The effect of this treatment lasts for approximately 6 to 12 months. Generally if the Botox injections are given in springtime, then in reality the patient comes once a year for a treatment because it lasts through the hot summer months.
This is a very safe treatment if performed by an experienced medical practitioner and other alternatives include more radical treatments such as Sympathectomy i.e. cutting of the sympathetic nerve chain that runs inside one’s chest wall. This has to be performed under a general anaesthetic and is permanent solution..
Dr Webster administers this treatment with the outmost care and has helped many patients overcome the embarrassing side effects of underarm hyperhidrosis.
UNTIL NEXT TIME …
I wish we could say Spring has Sprung but I am not sure in reality that this has happened with each day bringing a different season! However, summer is just around the corner and we have a good stock of sunscreens ready and waiting and I will let you know when our stock of hats has arrived.
If you would like to come in and discuss anything to do with your skin and products, I am always happy to chat to you – each person is individual and so are their product/treatment requirements. I love nothing more than to help people charter a course through the often confusing world of anti-ageing products and treatments. Our desire is to help you without putting any pressure on you … with the right knowledge, you can make the right decisions.
Keep well and take care