In Defense of Beauty

Use one word to describe any of the following people: Christie Brinkley, Halle Berry, Marilyn Monroe, Raquel Welsh, or Sophia Loren. The number one answer will always be “beautiful.” This makes us all judges and for this we feel we have the right to also judge how they become or stay beautiful as they age. Everyone has their own sense of how far is acceptable to go to maintain or attain beauty, and, of course, there are those among us who impose their views on others. A friend innocently posted an article on their Facebook page announcing Christie Brinkley’s partnership with  Merz in which Christie discussed certain aesthetic treatments she’d chosen to have, using their products of course.  I wish I could say I was shocked by some of the vicious and woefully uninformed comments that followed. I won’t mention them here, because they are not deserving of repeat, but you can probably guess what they were. It was especially upsetting to see this since I had the pleasure of having worked with Christie early on on her skin care line and found her to be not only stunningly beautiful but also one of the nicest people I’ve met and a great mom to boot! Sure she has great DNA but you don’t get to where she is, especially at her age, without also being smart and working very hard.

Hardest on ourselves vs. others

In some cases, we are hardest on ourselves. In others, we impose our views on those around us, especially celebrities and models. There are a few women who beat the system and are recognized and celebrated for their beauty even as they age. My hope is they will set the tone for the rest of us. One example that comes to mind is Jane Fonda who looks beautiful for any age, and just like herself, even if she’s had the help of some very talented aesthetic physicians along the way. I met her once. Ok, not actually met, but used to see her way back years ago in the late 1970’s at a gym called the Manhattan Cardiac Institute. It was in the time before there was a gym on every corner. You were assigned a trainer and needed a doctor’s note to attend.

I was there because my dad wanted me to lose weight and Jane was probably there because it was the best place in town, known for no-nonsense, intense work outs. Jane was on the mat next to me, stretching and doing our standard 100 sit-up warm ups, and then she went to work with her trainer and I went with mine. I was 17, she was… not. I couldn’t help but notice her workout kicked my workout’s butt! She also took great care of herself over the years and so have most, if not all, of the women you see who look great as they age.

Aging has its challenges

Up to 90% of how your skin ages is from sun exposure and other lifestyle choices  you’ve made over the years. The skin thins, discolors and wrinkles and genetics also kick in and kick out hormones of youth and reproductive potential. Thick flowing hair thins and grays. The brows and corners of the mouth drop and lines and wrinkles settle in. As words on paper, that doesn’t conjure up the ideal image of beauty. To make matters worse, most of us did not win the DNA beauty-queen lottery at birth, but we all have beauty and it’s normal to want to make the most of it and to hang on to what we have. Sadly, it’s sometimes even harder for those very few who did win the genetic beauty-lottery. Many of these women end up being commoditized and unable to see their own beauty because it’s always defined in comparison to others and is eventually in comparison to a younger version of themselves.

Beauty in Aging

Embracing aging does not mean letting your hair go gray or avoiding aesthetic treatments any more than It means letting go of a healthy lifestyle, including proper diet and exercise, sleep and sex. There is also no aesthetic treatment that will recreate the beauty of a life fulfilled, but it can enhance and more accurately reflect it.

Beauty and the word “beautiful” change as we age and take on richer meaning as the years add on.

There is no greater beauty than the beauty of a life lived, love had, love and loss, gratitude and inner peace and of a satisfaction that you made it this far and are still here to tell the tale.

For many women, aesthetic treatments help them look as good as they feel, or sometimes as good as they want to feel.  Treatments can help repair the damage of indiscretions from earlier years when the lack of sunscreen and sleep may have seemed like a small price to pay for a good time at the time, but accelerated the aging process and added artificial and distracting layers to aging skin years later. 

Bottom Line: it’s no one’s business what you or anyone else does, or how much you choose to tell or not to tell. You have options – enjoy what you see or turn the page.

Dr. Day Approved Summer Skin Tips

 

  1. DO exfoliate gently to decongest and enhance the way your skincare works for you. Summer sun is dehydrating which can actually compromise the way your body is designed to protect you from its damaging rays. The right kind of exfoliation will enhance your skin’s barrier function while also readying it for medical-grade skincare ingredients that keep you well defended.

  2. Hydrate with light moisturizing gels and serums that leave the skin feeling supple, not sticky. Most of us need to rethink our lotions and potions in the summer to avoid feeling like an oil-stick and subsequently becoming congested. Even dry skins that revel in the warm and humid weather may benefit from a lighter formulation. Some of our office favorites are: SkinCeuticals H.A. IntensifierSkinMedica HA5 and MDRejuvena Pore Perfecting Complex.

  3. Apply antioxidant serums daily to protect your skin from the season’s stronger UVA/UVB/Infrared rays and more concentrated air pollution and also nightly to repair and restore while you sleep. Try SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF GelSkinCeuticals Resveratrol BE, or SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum
  4. Apply a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher every morning and reapply every 2-3 hours during the day into the early evening. Remember your neck, chest, ears, back, shoulders, arms, and legs. If applying SPF to your body daily seems cumbersome, use a moisturizing formula before you get dressed in the morning in place of your regular lotion and be sure to have a travel tube in your purse for when you’re on the go. It’s worth it! We lovePCASkin Weightless Protection Broad Spectrum SPF 45 and Colorescience Sunforgettable SPF 50.
  5. Wear wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses with a UV rating, avoid long exposure during peak sun hours from 10am-2 pm and try to walk on the shady side of the street as often as possible.

  6. Drink plenty of water and eat your fruits and vegetables. Not only is your skin likely to become dehydrated in the sun, but so is the rest of you! Drink 8-10 glasses of water daily and infuse it with lemons, herbs and fruit to activate its potency and absorption. For the best defense, take Heliocare every day.

  1. Trust the experts! We are here to guide you to the best products and cleansing treatments to ensure you keep your skin healthy and beautiful for life!

    *If you’re not yet signed up for access to our online store, RegimenPro.com, please call us at (212) 772-0740 and we will happily register you!

Excellent Sun-Friendly In-Office Treatments

Botox Injections

smooth away those fine lines you got from squinting at the sun’s reflection off the water

Fillers that restore and define cheeks, chin and jawline

a must for avoiding bad angles in friends’ photos

Lip Injections

keep your pout ready for kissing and sipping rosé

Vaginal Rejuvenation and Non-Surgical Breast Lift

make your summer even hotter….

Oxygenating Facial Treatments

detoxify and enhance luminosity in sluggish skin

Clear and Brilliant- Gentle Laser Resurfacing

decongest, slow down oil production and degunk buildup

Acne Treatments

soothe and calm skin that doesn’t like the heat and humidity much

Ultherapy:
for the very best non-invasive FDA-approved Skin Tightening and Skin Lifting

(We are one of the TOP 3 providers of Ultherapy in the nation!)

Cellulite Treatments

smooth away lumps and bumps and wear those new bikini bottoms with pride

5 Foods That Are Better To Put ON Your Body Rather Than IN Your Body

Is Coconut Oil really the best ingredient out there? Read on to learn the answer

Fads come and go, some take social media by storm and seem like they’re here to stay, and fiction becomes fact by virtue of repetition. We see the same information over and over, and somewhere along the way we accept it without questioning the source. Anyone with a following is accepted as a credentialed expert and source. Sometimes there’s some truth to some parts of the story which makes it even more difficult to know how much of that source to trust. You’ll see what I mean as you read my top 5 ingredients I would rather have you apply to your skin than put in your body:

Coconut oil

This is among the newest of the fads to hit the scene. I’ve seen article after article and blog upon blog touting the multitude of benefits to brain, heart, immune system, and every other organ of the body including the skin. I wondered how it was possible that this common ingredient that’s been around forever and which I remember from my childhood as being tasty but my dad telling me it’s full of fat and not entirely healthy for you could somehow be a panacea overlooked for so long. I scoured the medical literature and found it contains medium chain fatty acids, and as with most plants it has antioxidants- all good in helping protect the brain and other organs avoid disease and destruction. But it also contains a good amount of saturated fat which is not good in the quantities that I’ve seen being promoted. For most people a little goes a long way.  The American Heart Association (AHA) released a statement pointing out that 82% of the fat in coconut oil is saturated fat. Compare that with butter which is 63% saturated fat and beef fat which is low in comparison at 50%. Pork fat looks downright edible at 39%. They are not fans of saturated fat saying it raises the bad LDL cholesterol and increases clogging of the arteries.

So now you know not to put too much of it in your body but how about on your body? That’s another area where it’s been overblown but still has benefits. All that fat makes it an easy DIY hydrator for the hair and body if you need something fast and easy or should you unexpectedly run out of your hair conditioner or body cream. If you use it in your hair, make sure to add shampoo and create a lather before trying to rinse out the coconut oil, or you’ll be left with a greasy heavy mop of hair that will take days to wash out, proving the point that oil and water truly don’t mix. The antioxidants and antibacterial properties also have some benefit against the bacteria that causes acne so if you break out but have dry skin it may be worth a try as spot treatment but be warned that it is occlusive which means it can block pores and that can make acne worse. It may also be allergenic which means you need to watch out for allergic reactions to it. I do like coconut oil as a go to for hydration and the smell works well as a relaxing aromatherapy.

Honey

As a food, it’s sugar. Ok a little better than simple sugar, but still sugar. Having lost 50 lbs myself, part of my success came from teaching myself to enjoy the natural flavors from foods without adding extra sweeteners, including too much honey. It’s amazing how we get used to sugary flavors and how that sabotages our weight and health.

When it comes to honey and the skin, the story has a much sweeter ending. Honey is one of my most favorite ingredients for healing and barrier repair and it’s one of the few times the word natural means something when it comes to skin care ingredients. There are thousands of published studies in the medical literature on the benefits of medical grade honey for use in healing chronic ulcers of the skin in diabetics and in patients who are immunocompromised. It creates a breathable barrier that behaves as a layer of healthy skin would, has antiseptic and anti inflammatory properties and is readily available. I would caution against using it in an area where there are bees or flies as it may also attract them and cause greater problems than what you were trying to treat with the honey!

Three of my favorite uses for honey:

  • Dab on a pimple that has been irritated or picked at. I know you would never do that, so tell a friend.
  • Add to DIY home scrubs and masks to help thicken them while adding skin benefits
  • Apply over a burn with aloe and over the counter cortisone to help reduce pain, inflammation and risk of infection while also speeding up healing and lowering the risk of scarring

Crisco

It may be good cooking oil but otherwise not great for those trying to lose weight or optimize health. It’s one of the old school offers my professors used to tell patients to use for the treatment of dry skin if they had skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis. Add it to the list of saturated fats good to put on the skin in a pinch if you need hydration, not in the arteries or on the hips.

Coarse Brown Sugar

This is sugar, sugar leads to inflammation, and inflammation ages you. There you have it. Now that you have all this sugar and no plans to eat it, mix it with coconut oil and honey and you have a great scrub!

Salt

A little salt is good, too much leads to dehydration of the skin and body and is not good. That’s why you would die of dehydration if you got stranded on a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean with water water everywhere and not a drop to drink. If you work out a lot or do hot yoga or hot workouts you may be sweating and peeing out all your natural salt so you may be one of the few who need to add it to the diet, but for the rest of us we get more than enough, I would even say often too much, from the foods we eat so don’t add more. Instead, follow instructions above for coarse brown sugar and make a nice scrub or mask for your skin. Especially good if you have oily skin or large pores.

Bottom Line

For all of these items, each has it’s place and moderation is key. I would not advise putting coconut oil all over the face of oily skin with acne nor would I use a coarse scrub on dry irritated skin. Listen to your skin, pay attention to detail and know that common sense should always rule the day.

Dr. Day’s Top 6: Best Treatments Available for Hair Growth

Thick, lush, healthy, silky smooth and shiny hair – it’s every woman’s dream. For men, it’s simpler but the same idea- a thick full head of hair. Hair thinning and loss is one of the most emotionally difficult concerns patients present with and it’s anything but superficial. Hair is deeply tied to our self-esteem. I wrote an article on hair loss for LVBX Magazine that reviews the common causes and facts – this post is devoted to the best treatments available to grow hair.  There are many options from over-the-counter products to in-office treatments and home-use lasers:

1. Over the counter

These are options available at your drugstore or online. They often contain the FDA approved active minoxidil, alone or in combination with other ingredients. Your dermatologist may also custom-make a formulation adding in prescription-strength ingredients not otherwise available.

  • Minoxidil: at 5% is FDA approved to grow hair in both men and women and is available in various concentrations from lots of companies from your local drug store, online, department store or dermatologist. The ones dermatologists carry typically also include other supporting ingredients. I have one in my hair growth program that also contains niacinamide and caffeine to minimize irritation, improve absorption and also optimize the anti-aging effects to the skin and follicles.
  • Antioxidants: are helpful in creating healthier scalp skin and hair follicles, improved circulation and stronger hair. They work well with other components of a hair growth program to support and optimize results.
  • Julien Farel Magnifique serum: contains an excellent cocktail of antioxidants including resveratrol in a formulation that leaves the scalp rejuvenated. I’ve even seen it help with patients who have itching, scaling and redness of the scalp with or without hair loss. It works well alone and even better with Julien Farel Restore shampoo.
  • Esteem botanical hair loss solution: is one I created and has a mix of natural actives (biomimetic peptide combined with a red clover extract rich in Bochanin A) to help support hair growth as part of my hair growth kit consisting of a specially formulated shampoo and conditioner to complement the botanical solution.

2. Low Level Laser Therapy

This is an area where I’ve seen excellent advances in quality, efficacy and ease of use. There are over 2,000 investigations from over 80 countries on the effect of Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) on humans and animals published in the medical literature.

The early hair combs are now also offered in versions that look like baseball hats that cover a broader surface area of the scalp, leaving your hands free and making treatments easier and more efficient. They also have better diodes, providing excellent energy while covering a broad area of the scalp at one time. It’s still not fully understood how they work but the idea is that they:

  • Influence hair growth in 3 stages
    1. Stops hair loss
    2. Current hair becomes thicker and fuller
    3. Regrowth of new hair (hair follicle grows terminal (thicker) hair in place of very thin “peach fuzz” (vellus) hair)
  • Almost 100% of patients using a Hair Growth Laser go through stages 1 and 2
  • 70% of patients using the Hair Growth Laser experience stage 3 (regrowth)

Low level laser therapy caps allow for flexibility within your schedule as it can be done in the comfort of your own home and can absolutely be used in conjunction with other hair growth procedures and prescriptions. Brands I’ve researched that stand out as superior include:

Theradome

Capillus

Laser Cap

3. Cortisone Injections

This is done by your dermatologist and, in my view, works well for all types of hair loss including the genetic male and female types. I do low concentration injections at monthly intervals for 5 months and then switch to treatment every 3 months. Using topical cortisone is not effective since the follicles are deep and the medication will be carried away by the bloodstream before reaching the follicle if applied topically. At the concentrations and volumes I use I have never seen any systemic side effects or atrophy (thinning of the skin of the scalp).

4. Supplements

There are two supplements I believe have the greatest amount of data for hair growth:

  • Viviscal Professional: this is a 100% drug-free way to nourish thinning hair and promote existing hair growth and has excellent clinical data. The formulation includes:  
    • 50% more of revolutionary AminoMar ingredient. Exclusive and Patented AminoMar Marine Complex provides the essential proteins needed to nourish thinning hair and encourage growth of existing hair
    • Horsetail Extract, an organic form of silica which increases the strength of the hair and revitalizes lifeless hair
    • Vitamin C derived from the Acerola Cherry (one of the richest sources of Vitamin C available)
    • Fish and shellfish, making it not appropriate for those allergic to these ingredients or for those with celiac disease
  • Nutrafol: This is a super-supplement that addresses the critical stages of hair health, helping to combat the effects of hair-damaging hormones, free radicals, inflammation, and stress – addressing the causes of unhealthy hair and empowering follicles to absorb nutrients and grow fuller, healthier hair. Key ingredients include:
    • Tocomax 20%™, a form of Vitamin E extracted from Tocomin® palm oil, that’s been shown in a clinical study to increase hair growth on average by 34%
    • Sensoril® Ashwagandha, clinically proven to decrease the levels of hair damaging stress hormone Cortisol by up to 30.5%, reduce inflammatory C-reactive protein (CRP) by 35.2% and improve resistance to stress
    • BCM-95® BioCurcumin, a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant clinically proven to lower inflammatory biomarkers, like CRP.  Extracted from turmeric, curcumin optimizes the immune system + fights many inflammatory molecules that slow hair growth
    • Cynantine® HNS, a solubilized, more bioavailable and bioactive keratin provides the building blocks of hair – amino acids like cysteine and proline; proven to improve hair strength and brightness
    • Hydrolyzed Marine Collagen & Hyaluronic Acid, rebuild the structural integrity of the hair follicle environment, improve moisture, and promote diffusion of nutrients. Hydrolyzed to a low molecular weight for better bioavailability
    • Bioperine®, a natural thermonutrient that synergistically increases the body’s absorption of other phytonutrients and key ingredients
    • It does not contain: Gluten, Wheat, Shellfish, Binders, Fillers

5. Prescription Medications

These include Propecia which is FDA approved for men and Avodart. I offer these to my male patients with male pattern hair loss alone or along with my hair growth program. If I use both medications, I have them take Propecia for 5 days and Avodart for 2 days of the week since Avodart stays in the blood longer and has more side effects (your dermatologist can review side effects and treatment options with you).  I recommend that patients alternate between the two medications, such as taking Avodart on tuesdays and fridays and Propecia the the remaining days.

Some doctors also prescribe these for women as well but it’s not something I’m comfortable with. For women with a hormonal pattern and who are not planning pregnancy, I sometimes offer Spironolactone, an off label use of Avodart, usually prescribed as a diuretic but also has effects of blocking androgen hormone receptors so it has some use in hair thinning. We need to use high doses and there can be side effects of irregular periods, dizziness, high blood potassium levels and breast swelling and tenderness. It can also take a full year or so before seeing results.

6. Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections

I spent years researching and reviewing data and devices for PRP for the scalp before deciding to add it to my hair growth program. The hair promoting effects of PRP are supported by studies showing a faster transition to the growing (anagen) phase of hair cycling back from the resting and transitional phases, and also an increase in the number of newly formed follicles and earlier hair formation.

The process is an in-office treatment which starts with gentle tapping into a vein in the arm to extract a small amount of blood, the equivalent of about 1.5 tablespoons, which is drawn into a specialized test tube. The test tube is actually the key to the process and is what separates one system from another. It contains filters that when placed in a centrifuge and spun at rapid speeds, separates out and concentrates the platelet-rich plasma. There is no FDA approved process or protocol so each office determines their own program.

Who is a good candidate? This is something I recommend for my patients with male or female pattern hair loss or for rejuvenation of the scalp and follicles to recover from the changes of loss of volume and density that comes with age even for those without male or female pattern hair loss. I do not recommend it for those with the autoimmune form of hair loss such as alopecia areata, alopecia totalis, universalis, or for scarring forms of hair loss.

Based on the data, I created a schedule for treatment as follows:

Active Phase:

  • 4 treatment sessions at 1 month intervals
  • Hair Growth supplements
  • Esteem Hair Growth Kit
  • Hair Growth Laser
  • Esteem Active Drops

Year One Maintenance Phase:

  • One Treatment every 3 months
  • Hair Growth supplements
  • Esteem Hair Growth Kit
  • Hair Growth Laser
  • Esteem Daily Drops

Year Two Maintenance Phase:

  • One treatment every 4 months
  • Hair Growth supplements
  • Esteem Hair Growth Kit
  • Hair Growth Laser
  • Esteem Daily Drops

Follow up Maintenance:

  • One treatment every 6 months
  • Hair Growth supplements
  • Esteem Hair Growth Kit
  • Hair Growth Laser
  • Esteem Daily Drops

BEFORE & AFTER

Bottom Line

Hair growth is complicated. We don’t understand all the mechanisms of loss so it’s difficult to come up with a precise single mode of treatment. For every patient I recommend managing stress and diet along with using one or a combination of hair growth treatments to help maintain and grow the healthiest most beautiful hair possible. Not all dermatologists are comfortable treating hair loss so it’s important to find one who can properly assess your condition and review the best treatments for you.