Stay hydrated with DIY Fruit & Spice Infused Spa Water Recipes

October 27th, 2014

These infused water drinks are each made from natural and readily available ingredients: Tangerine Fennel Thyme, a powerful combination of fruit and herbs low in calories and high in nutritional value that aids digestion, reduces inflammation and boosts metabolism; Ginger Pear, curative and preventative juicy gems good for the immune system, is packed with anti-inflammatory properties; Pomegranate Apple Rosemary, a heart healthy blend of super fruits, stimulates the immune system and brain function; Meyer Lemon Mint, a hybrid of lemon and mandarin, contains an abundant amount of vitamin C, antioxidants and photochemicals that soothe the digestive tract.

Meyer Lemon Mint

* Needs to infuse for at least six hours

1 gallon water
6 Meyer Lemons, zested and seeds removed
10 sprigs mint

Method of Preparation
Combine zest, lemon, and water in a large container. Allow to cold steep for 6 hours. Strain through fine mesh. Fill pitcher or jug with Meyer Lemon and mint water. Garnish with slices of lemon and sprigs of mint. Serve chilled.

Apple, Pomegranate and Rosemary

1 gallon water
10 apples, sliced
15 pomegranates, seeds only – muddled
½ cup rosemary, chopped
1 apple, sliced 1/8 inch
2 lemons, juiced in water for cylinder
20 pomegranate seeds for garnish

Method of Preparation
Combine apple slices and muddled pomegranate seeds with rosemary and water. Allow to cold steep for 6 hours. Strain through fine mesh strainer. Fill pitcher with Apple Pom Rosemary water. Fill cylinder with lemon water and garnish with pomegranate seeds, apple slices and rosemary sprigs.

Ginger Pear Water

1 gallon water
10 pears, sliced 1/8 inch
½ cup ginger, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch

Method of Preparation
Combine all ingredients in a large container. Allow to cold steep for 6 hours. Strain through fine mesh strainer. Fill container with Ginger Pear water. Garnish center cylinder with slices of Ginger and slices of pear.

Tangerine, Fennel, Thyme Water

1 gallon water
12 tangerines, zested and pith removed – use zest and fruit
8 sprigs thyme
2 bulbs fennel, shaved

Method of Preparation
Combine all ingredients in a large container. Allow to cold steep for 6 hours. Strain through fine mesh strainer. Fill container with Tangerine, Fennel, and Thyme water. Garnish center cylinder with slices of tangerine, fennel, and thyme sprigs

5 Things That Age Your Smile

October 13th, 2014

Just like your skin, face and body, the smile can age with time. But, certain factors, especially discoloration—think gray, yellow or brown stains—can instantly add years to your appearance. “The color of your teeth is the number-one factor that ages a smile,” says New York cosmetic dentist Irene Grafman, DDS. Keeping your teeth as white as possible is one of the easiest ways to age-proof your smile.

1. Discoloration: “The shade of your teeth is the most obvious factor that contributes to an aged smile,” says New York cosmetic dentist Steven E. Roth, DMD.

2. Chipped teeth: Often overlooked, tiny chips on the edges of teeth give of a jagged, worn look to the smile that equates to a mouth that’s experienced years of wear, tear and trauma.

3. Excessive wear: If your bite is not ideal or you are missing teeth, wearing can be a problem. You lose height in the face, the bite looks closed and everything collapses, giving an aged look.

4. Extreme asymmetry: “Anything that isn’t symmetrical isn’t perceived as being normal,” says Atlanta cosmetic dentist Ray Morgan, Jr., DMD.

5. Shifting: Everything from gum issues to missing teeth can cause your teeth to shift, resulting in a smile that’s not straight.

Top Plastic Surgery Myths

September 29th, 2014


Choosing a surgeon to perform a breast augmentation, liposuction or rhinoplasty (nose job) is a big deal. This person will have not only your beauty in their hands, but also, your life. And you’ll find that when searching for the perfect doctor, the one who is going to make you look and feel your best, there is a lot to consider.

For the laymen, first knowing what your doctor does and specializes in is very important, for instance, what really is the difference between a cosmetic surgeon and a plastic surgeon? One of the most common misconceptions in plastic surgery is the fact that both a plastic surgeon and a cosmetic surgeon are essentially the same.  “This is completely wrong,” says Scottsdale, AZ, plastic surgeon Marc Malek, MD.

“The difference is that all plastic surgeons are cosmetic surgeons, but the opposite is not true,” says Beverly Hills, CA, plastic surgeon Ritu Chopra, MD. “To be a plastic surgeon you have to go through a residency program for six to eight years to be eligible to become a board-certified plastic surgeon that is trained in cosmetic as well as reconstructive surgery,” he says. “While Plastic Surgeons and Facial Plastic Surgeons go through years of specialized training and have to take tough exams and meet rigorous criteria. A ‘cosmetic surgeon’ may be simply an internist who learned how to perform eyelid surgery by observation or a seminar,” says Chevy Chase, MD, facial plastic surgeon Shervin Naderi, MD.

So why does it matter if your surgeon is just a cosmetic surgeon and not board-certified? It is critical in the case that something goes wrong. “It is extremely important for doctors to understand the full extent of reconstruction when it comes to cosmetic procedures if any complications are to arise,” states Dr. Malek.

Moral of the story? “The take home message is, if your doctor calls himself or herself a cosmetic surgeon, make sure he or she is actually a Plastic Surgeons, Facial Plastic Surgeons, Maxillo-facial surgeons or Oculoplastic surgeon,” says Dr. Naderi. Then you can take the next steps to have a consultation and see if the doctor is a good fit for you.

Please click on the link to find out more baout Dr. Turk.

10 Facts You Should Know Before You Pick Your Surgeon

September 15th, 2014

Maybe you think having a board-certified doctor is no big deal, but it is. Just like how you wouldn’t opt for your dentist to perform heart surgery on you,  the same rule of thumb holds true for any aesthetic procedure. Don’t fall victim to the potential pitfalls that come along with having a nonboard-certified doctor perform a cosmetic procedure. Make sure you know what to look for and what to avoid when you’re on the search for a beauty expert.

1. Any board-certified doctor is legally certified to practice medicine. But not all are trained or have the knowledge and education to practice cosmetic procedures.

2. Plastic surgeons receive certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology, both of which are recognized by the ABMS.

3. Becoming a board-certified doctor is not a quick and easy process.

4. Being a board-certified doctor means that you have undergone the required amount of training to ensure that you have experience and knowledge to perform a procedure limited to that specialty with consistently good results.

5. There are several years of medical school, residency and training that need to be completed, followed by lengthy and difficult exams that must be passed.

6. Board-certified plastic surgeons have completed medical school, a minimum of five years of surgical training, a residency program in plastic surgery and exams.

7. Board-certified facial plastic surgeons complete medical school and a four-to-six year residency in otolaryngology (head and neck surgery), which includes up to two years of general surgery training and exams.

8. Besides medical school, board-certified dermatologists must complete a one-year medical internship, a three-year residency program and exams.

9. When you think of a general doctor (family, primary or general practitioner) you think of someone you visit for a checkup or to treat you for the common cold. All doctors in the U.S. must complete medical school, residency and training. Surgeons continue their education and choose a specific field of medicine to practice; more specifically, a plastic surgeon is a physician who has completed a specialized residency and an additional plastic surgery training residency. All surgeons are doctors but not all doctors are surgeons.

10. According to La Jolla, CA, plastic surgeon Robert Singer, MD, a cosmetic surgeon and plastic surgeon may sound the same, but the term cosmetic surgeon is not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. Encino, CA, plastic surgeon George Sanders, MD, adds, “Doctors can call themselves board-certified, but they are only certified in what they hold training in.” To determine if a doctor is board-certified in the specialty for which they were trained, visit

A Skin Cancer Survivor Shares Her Story Of Prevention And Protection

September 1st, 2014

A Skin Cancer Survivor Shares Her Story Of Prevention And Protection

We hear about skin cancer and the importance of wearing sunscreen daily, and with good reason. One in five Americans will develop melanoma in their lifetime, and one person dies from it every hour. So while we are aware of the dangers, we might not actually be taking the precautions we should to prevent this deadly disease. Watch this video to hear one melanoma survivor’s story and see how you can prevent and protect yourself with the right SPF and antioxidants, all with tips from New York dermatologist Jordana Gilman, MD.

15 Biggest Sunscreen Mistakes

August 18th, 2014

Common ways you’re screwing up sunscreen, and how to truly protect yourself from the sun.

SPF smarts

by Sarah Z. Wexler

By now, you probably know that you should use sunscreen every day both to help reduce your risk of skin cancer and to prevent pesky wrinkles, dark spots, and other signs of premature aging. Yet even people who do slather it on religiously make potentially dangerous mistakes. Here are the most common ways you’re messing up with sunscreen—and how to truly protect yourself from UV rays.

1.You wait until you’re outside to apply sunscreen

How many people have you seen get to the beach, spread out their blankets, strip down to their swimsuits, and then start slathering away? “You actually want to apply your sunscreen 30 minutes prior to exposure,” says Jeannette Graf, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. That way, it has time to get absorbed and start working—and so you don’t get UV exposure for those first few minutes when your skin is vulnerable

2.You apply sunscreen around your clothes

Skin cancer can strike anywhere, so it’s best to apply sunscreen when you’re buck naked. Otherwise, “if you already have a swimsuit or clothing on, you’re likely to apply it gingerly so you don’t get it on your clothes, which makes you likely to miss a spot or not apply liberally enough,” says Noelle Sherber, MD, a consulting dermatologist for the Johns Hopkins Scleroderma Center. Strip down in front of a full-length mirror, she says, which “helps ensure you entirely cover tricky spots like the mid-back and backs of the legs.” (And you should apply before going outside anyway, right?)

3.You don’t protect your lips

Just like the rest of your skin, lips are vulnerable to UV rays, so it’s extremely important to use sunscreen on your mouth, Dr. Graf says. But don’t use the same stuff you use on the rest of your body—it tastes weird and won’t last that long on your lips anyway. So try a lip balm with SPF, which is thicker so it stays on longer. “Then reapply even more frequently than you do body sunscreen, since talking, eating, and drinking removes the sunscreen on your lips faster,” she says.

4.You miss other key spots

Think you can smear sunscreen on your nose like a 1950s lifeguard and be covered? Unfortunately, there are lot of less-obvious areas people tend to forget—and they’re just as important to protect, Dr. Graf says. “The most commonly missed areas are toes and feet, including the bottoms of your feet; underarms; back of the neck under the hairline; ears, especially the tops and back of your ears; eyelids; and inner upper arms.” Put that stuff everywhere

5.You sweat (or rinse) it all off

The small print on your sunscreen label matters, so make sure you’re choosing the right sunscreen for your activity, especially if that activity involves sweat, a pool, or the ocean. “Make sure you get a water-resistant formulation for swimming or activities where you’ll perspire, because non-water-resistant formulas can slide right off,” says Dr. Sherber. “Plus, they tend to mention migrate into eyes and sting, whereas water-resistant ones won’t.”

6.You use a body formula on your face

It’s not just a marketing gimmick: There is a difference between face- and body-specific sunscreens. “Facial skin is generally more sensitive to irritation than body skin, so face formulations have been tested to cause less irritation and not trigger acne,” says Dr. Sherber. “If you’re acne-prone or sensitive, avoid the body versions for your face, especially the dry-touch sprays—they’re absolutely full of alcohol, which is very drying and irritating for facial skin.”

7.You only use it when it’s nice out

Danger! It may seem counterintuitive to slather on sunscreen on a gray or drizzly day, but you can get UV exposure without ever seeing the sun in the sky, says Dr. Graf. Eighty percent of UV rays still come through on cloudy days, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, so don’t let the weather affect your sunscreen use.

8.You don’t use enough

The old rule about using a shot glass worth of sunscreen every time you apply still holds up, says Dr. Graf. (That’s about 1.5 ounces.) But now that more of us are opting for continuous spray formulas, it can be hard to tell if we’re really getting enough coverage. To make sure you’re using sprays correctly, she suggests holding the can six inches from skin and spraying nonstop, so you can see the moisture covering the entire area. “Then rub it in—yes, even if the bottle says you don’t have to—so you don’t miss spots,” Dr. Graf says. “And repeat the spray a second time.”

9.You think you’re safe indoors or in cars

Unless you choose to spend your time in a windowless bunker, you’re not protected from UV rays when you’re inside. “Driving can be a major source of incidental exposure,” says Dr. Sherber. “The windows and windshield block UVB rays so you don’t see a sunburn, but UVA seeps right in, and that’s the spectrum that causes most skin aging and skin cancer.” Your best bet: apply sunscreen every morning, then feel free to sit by a window or take a drive! At the very least, try a moisturizer with SPF so you’re not adding a step to your daily routine

10.You don’t use a broad-spectrum formula

It used to be that many sunscreens only blocked UVB rays, the high-energy kind responsible for sunburns. But shielding against UVA rays is just as important, says Dr. Graf, because they “penetrate the skin more deeply, are constant throughout the year, and cause premature aging.” Umm, no thanks! To be fully covered, look for sunscreens labeled “broad spectrum,” which means they thwart both types of rays. And good news: these formulas are increasingly becoming the norm.

11.You chose an SPF that’s too low

Yes, tanning oil with SPF 8 technically is sunscreen, but it’s just not enough protection. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15. But should you go higher? Some say the often-pricier high-SPF sunscreens are a waste of money, since they don’t provide much more protection—SPF 30 blocks 97% of rays, while SPF 50 blocks just 1% more. However, they do have some benefit.

“They absorb more free radical-producing energy, so I recommend them for the summer,” Dr. Graf says. One caveat before you reach for the SPF 100: “The super-high SPFs can provide a false sense of security, like you’re protected for longer, but you need to reapply just as often as you would an SPF 30.”

12.You don’t reapply often enough

It may feel like you did your due diligence by applying sunscreen once, but it’s not a day-long cloak of immunity. Reapplying it just as important as putting it on in the first place. How often? “Every 80 minutes, even if it’s water-resistant,” says Dr. Graf.

13.You use an old bottle

If you’re using enough sunscreen when applying—remember that shot glass-worth, or those two coats of spray?—then having bottles leftover from years past shouldn’t be much of an issue. But if you happen to have sunscreen that’s been lingering for two years or more, Dr. Graf says to chuck it, since it can lose its effectiveness over time.

14.You skip it if you’re going to be in the shade

Seeking solace under a beach umbrella or an awning near the pool doesn’t mean you’re getting adequate protection from the sun. Why? Sand and water both reflect damaging rays, and 34% of UV radiation gets through when you’re under a beach umbrella, “so you still have to apply sunscreen if you’re sitting under cover,” says Dr. Graf. Even if you don’t get a sunburn, you’re still getting UV exposure.

15.You don’t protect your eyes

Sunglasses aren’t just a fashion statement—they’re critical to keeping your eyes safe from UV rays. Make sure your sunglasses offer UV protection, because some inexpensive styles don’t have the protective coating. “Without it, the dark lenses actually allow your pupils to dilate, allowing even more UV rays in, which can play a big role in cataract development,” says Dr. Sherber. Finally, a health reason to buy a pair of nice shades!

In the Wrinkle Wars, a New Weapon

August 4th, 2014

As she aged, Sandi Bachom, 69, a filmmaker and producer in Manhattan, tried Botox to keep the inevitable wrinkles away, but she was wary of anything more invasive. She wanted, as she explained recently, to avoid “going under the knife.”

So a couple of years ago, at the suggestion of her dermatologist, Dr. David Colbert, she first tried Ultherapy, in which ultrasound waves are shot through a gel into the skin. She had the treatment on her face and neck, particularly the tricky jowls.

“I call it my ‘way-back machine,’ ” Ms. Bachom said. “It has effective, fast results, and it’s natural enough so you don’t look like ‘Brazil’ the movie.”

The session took about 15 minutes and included some pain: Ms. Bachom was offered a squeeze ball and Valium. The treatment provided a noticeable lift to her face that lasted nearly two years, she said; she repeated it last November.

“It was worth the money,” Ms. Bachom said. (Dr. Colbert said his Ultherapy prices start at $5,000, depending on the area addressed.)


At Townhouse Spa in Manhattan, an aesthetician uses ultrasound waves on skin.Credit            Jennifer S. Altman for The New York Times

Across New York City, women young and old are riding the ultrasound wave. Doctors rave about Ultherapy because it leaves no evidence.

“There’s no needle marks, no peeling and no bruising,” said Dr. Francesca Fusco, a dermatologist in New York who performs Ultherapy in her office. And, Dr. Fusco pointed out, patients are comfortable with the new technology because they associate ultrasound with the test many women have during pregnancy. “It’s something they have heard of before, and if you can do it on pregnant women, they feel it’s safe,” she said.

Dr. Fusco added that while the therapy is actually “very safe,” she warned that it’s not appropriate for patients who have a history of cold sores, a pacemaker or a cheek or chin implant. Additionally, any kind of skin disease can be worsened by the treatment, and when operating the Ultherapy machine, she avoids pressing it near the thyroid gland in the neck or at the middle of the forehead or chin, where “nerves course superficially,” she said.


Dr. Francesca Fusco, a dermatologist, also uses ultrasound.Credit            Jennifer S. Altman for The New York Times

With bikini season on the horizon, it’s not just necks that may be getting the treatments. A high-intensity focused ultrasound, Liposonix, can zap fat on the back (hello, this season’s crop tops!) and slim waistlines, said Dr. Cheryl Karcher, a Manhattan dermatologist who gives the treatment. A 45-minute appointment starts at $1,000, she said.

The way it works: The ultrasound waves are so strong (and painful — some patients pop a couple of Percocets beforehand) that they actually kill fat cells, although it takes about eight weeks for results to show, Dr. Karcher said. Slim ladies with minor quibbles need not apply. Dr. Karcher said she turns away patients who have less than an inch of fat. The Liposonix “goes deep,” she said. “You don’t want to damage a nerve.”

Several spas also offer ultrasound services. (Aestheticians deploy ultrasound waves at lower energy levels, and thus show less noticeable results than a dermatologist’s treatment, Dr. Fusco said.)


Products for at-home use.Credit

About a year ago, at the Townhouse Spa in Midtown, Caroline McBride, 34, the director of public relations and business development at the Serafina Restaurant Group, tried ultrasound therapy on her thighs and tummy. She had been going to Townhouse for four years for “facials, massages and mani-pedis,” she said, but was combating bloat from her hectic work travel schedule.

“I try to stay in shape,” said Ms. McBride, who added that she was on the thin side. “But I eat a lot of pasta and pizza on the road. It’s tough to fit in those tight dresses for events after one of those trips. In New York, it’s beautiful but competitive. Everybody looks fabulous, but no one will tell you how they squeezed into that Alaïa dress.”

She described the 45-minute service as “not uncomfortable,” adding that “when I have a baby, I guess that’s what this would feel like.” More important, the treatment tackled bloat and even improved the appearance of cellulite, she said. Now Ms. McBride buys a package of six sessions for $750 and goes regularly, about every two months. If there’s an important event, however, she’ll go twice in a week before the big night. She’s recommended the service to a couple of her friends, who reported good results.


Credit :Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Of course, it wasn’t long before companies that sell devices for at-home use saw potential dollar signs. Last June, JeNu, a $249 wand that claims to decrease wrinkles and increase hydration by using ultrasound waves to propel the company’s serums deep into the skin, hit department-store counters to a flurry of attention (Vogue, Elle and Harper’s Bazaar have all featured the device).

Perhaps more novel, Emmi-dent, an ultrasound toothbrush from Europe that uses frictionless cleaning technology (you hold it in front of your teeth as the waves explode the nanobubbles in the proprietary tooth gel), has been pushing into the American market.

According to its chief executive, Peer Blumenschein, the technology originally came from cleaning techniques used for jet and Formula One car engines. It is “harmless for the body but lethal for bacteria,” he said. The device ($189 at retailers like Amazon) is gentle enough (no actual brushing) for sensitive gums and teeth, he said.

And it seems the family dog can even be in on the trend. The company released Emmi-pet last year.

“People love it for their dogs because so many people just love their dogs so much,” said Mr. Blumenschein, who owns two Dalmatians he has tried the product on. “There’s a bit of pent-up demand, actually, in Germany and the U.S. because we’ve had customers request it for their dogs and horses.”

But cats, he said, don’t qualify: “Cats are unfortunately too small to have it work.”

13 Everyday Habits That Are Aging You

July 21st, 2014

Are you aging too quickly? Get expert tips on common mistakes and learn how to reverse the process.

Anti-aging tips

by Linda Melone

Are you aging faster than your years? If you don’t like what you see in the mirror, it may be time to evaluate some of your daily routines. The foods you eat and even the way you sleep can add years to your face and may shorten your lifespan. Here, experts discuss the most common age-accelerating habits and ways to reverse the process.

1. You multitask

If your to-do list never seems to get any shorter, the stress from your hectic life may be taxing your body. “People think multitasking is good, but you don’t actually get anything done—you just create more stress,” says Raymond Casciari, MD, chief medical officer of St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif. Several studies show that chronic stress triggers the release of free radicals, the unstable molecules that damage cells and are responsible for aging. Instead of trying to do it all, Dr. Casciari suggests concentrating on one task at a time and only moving on once you finish it.

2.You rarely pass up dessert

Aside from adding excess pounds to your body, your sweet tooth may also be adding years to your face. “Internally, sugar molecules attach themselves to protein fibers in each of our cells,” says Susan Stuart, MD, a San Diego, Calif. board-certified dermatologist. This damaging process, known as glycation, can result in a loss of radiance, dark circles under the eyes, loss of tone, puffiness, an increase in fine lines and wrinkles and a loss of facial contours and increased pore size. Pass on the sugary treats if you want to preserve your youthful glow.

3. You get by on fewer than five hours sleep a night

Skimping on sleep not only results in dark bags under the eyes—it has also been linked to a shorter lifespan, says Dr. Casciari, who founded a sleep laboratory at St. Joseph’s Hospital. “Sleeping within the seven-hour range is optimal,” he says. Get to bed earlier if you have the symptoms of sleep deprivation, which include a lack of daytime energy, mental sluggishness, attention problems, or weight gain, Dr. Casciari says. Here are seven tips for the best sleep ever.

4. You love a good TV marathon

Binge-watching the latest season of House of Cards is one thing; regularly gluing yourself to the TV is another. In a British Journal of Sports Medicine study of about 11,000 Australians ages 25 and older, researchers found that for every hour of television watched, adults cut their life expectancy by 22 minutes. What’s more, people who spent an average of six hours a day watching TV lived five years less than their non-viewing counterparts. “This effect is more about sitting and being inactive than the TV watching,” says Dr. Casciari. “When you sit for more than 30 minutes your body begins to deposit sugar into your cells, which makes it much more likely you’ll be overweight as well.” Whether you’re watching TV or at your desk, get up every 30 minutes to walk around, says Dr. Casciari.

5. You spend most of the day sitting

The dangers of a sedentary lifestyle are well-documented: People who spend most of their days parked in a chair are at increased risk for kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, not to mention obesity.

Naturally, exercising regularly helps to prevent  these health issues and keeps you living longer, according to a study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Study participants who exercised 150 minutes or more a week lived 10 to 13 years longer than the inactive bunch

6. You don’t use eye cream

Even a no-fuss skincare routine needs to include a good eye cream to keep aging wrinkles at bay. Skin around the eyes is thinner than the skin on the rest of your face and shows age faster, says Dr. Stuart. Keeping the eye area moisturized can take years off your face. “Eye creams that are most effective contain Retin A, a form of vitamin A,” says Dr. Stuart. Other important factors include emollients and moisturizers that trap moisture, antioxidants, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin C. “These promote formation of collagen and elastin to tighten the skin and reduce fine lines around the eyes,” Dr. Stuart says.

7. You use sunscreen, but only on vacation

Running errands, driving, and walking back and forth to the mailbox may do more damage to your skin than spending a day at the beach if you do it sans sunblock, says Sarah L. Taylor, MD, associate professor of dermatology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “The number-one cause of nearly every sign of premature aging on the human face is ultraviolet exposure,” Dr. Taylor says. “UV light is present even when it’s cloudy or raining.” Protect your skin by wearing sunblock any time you go outdoors. Dr. Taylor recommends an SPF between 30 and 50 for daily use. You should also follow these golden rules of sun protection.

8. You wear too much makeup

Metallic blue eye shadow aside, excess makeup can age you in less obvious ways, too, says Dr. Stuart. “Wearing excessive amounts of makeup, especially oil based products, can clog your skin pores and cause outbreaks.” In addition, overusing skin products with fragrances, irritating chemicals, and alcohol agents may dry out the skin by removing its natural oils, which causes premature lines and wrinkles. Consult with your dermatologist for guidance, and avoid these 18 beauty mistakes that age you.

9. You sleep with your face in the pillow

Sleeping on your stomach or on your side with your face smashed into the pillow can create wrinkles and accelerate aging. “The connective tissue and collagen in your face becomes weaker and less supportive with age,” says James C. Marotta, MD, a board-certified facial plastic surgeon and skincare expert. “So when you sleep on the same side of your face night after night, your skin won’t smooth out or spring back as quickly as it did when you were young.” Those crease lines from your pillow can become permanent. Sleep on your back or invest in a satin pillowcase to keep skin smooth

10. You keep your home toasty warm

When it’s a snowy mess outside, it’s tempting to crank up the heat indoors. But whether you light up the fireplace or turn up the thermostat, both suck moisture out of the air, says Dr. Marotta. “This can lead to dry, inflamed skin, which over time has aging effects.” Investing in a humidifier helps counteract the dry air  (40 to 60% humidity is optimal) and can free your skin from itching, scratching, and flaking. Alternatively, Dr. Marotta recommends placing a wet towel over a radiator or a bowl of cold water in the room as a way to add back some of the lost moisture.

11. You sip drinks through a straw

Drinking dark-colored beverages through a straw can prevent stains on your teeth, but just as squinting can eventually cause wrinkles to form around your eyes, pursing your lips can also bring about premature wrinkles around the mouth. “This also occurs when smoking cigarettes,” says Janet Prystowsky, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York. Pour your bottled beverages into a drinking glass to avoid puckering up.


12. You cut out all fat from your diet

Some fat is necessary for maintaining a youthful feeling and appearance, says Franci Cohen, a certified nutritionist and exercise physiologist from Brooklyn, NY. “Heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids found in oily fish (such as salmon and mackerel) and certain nuts (such as walnuts and flax seeds) keep skin supple and plump, thereby preventing wrinkles, and they boost both heart and brain health as well,” she says. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends including fish in your meals at least twice a week.

13. You slouch

Slumping in front of a keyboard for hours on end can cause your spine to form an unattractive and potentially harmful hunched posture over time, says Jeremy Smith, MD, orthopedic spine surgeon at Hoag Orthopedic Institute in Irvine, Calif. “The spine has a well-balanced S-shaped curvature in order to stabilize and support us,” Dr. Smith says.  “Poor posture or slouching deviates the spine from this normal alignment, and as a result, the muscles, disks and bones become abnormally stressed.” Pain and fatigue often follow, and possibly spinal degeneration and a permanent deformity. Practice good posture by checking it throughout the day: ear, shoulder, and hip should form a straight line when seated

Can your face reveal how long you’ll live? New technology may provide the answer.

July 7th, 2014

Imagine that an insurance underwriter comes to your house and, along with noting your weight and blood pressure, snaps a photo of your face. And that those wrinkles, mottled spots and saggy parts, when fed into a computer, could estimate how long you will live.

Facial recognition technology, long used to search for criminals and to guess how a missing child might look as an adult, may soon become personal. A group of scientists is working on a system that would analyze an individual’s prospects based on how his or her face has aged.
“We know in the field of aging that some people tend to senesce, or grow older, more rapidly than others, and some more slowly,” said Jay Olshansky, a biodemographer at the University of Illinois at Chicago who came up with the idea. “And we also know that the children of people who senesce more slowly tend to live longer than other people.”
The research is still in its early stages, but the idea of using facial recognition technology has prompted interest from insurance company executives who see potential for using it in determining premiums, Olshansky said. There’s also a potential benefit for individuals: The technology might prod them to change their health habits before it’s too late.
The technology involves using a computer to scan a photograph of a face for signs of aging. Factoring in the subject’s race, gender, education level and smoking history — all known to affect longevity prospects — it would analyze each section of cheek, eye, brow, mouth and jowl looking for shading variations that signal lines, dark spots, drooping and other age-related changes that might indicate how the person is doing compared with others of the same age and background.
As the United States skews increasingly older, research into extending life span and, in particular, increasing the number of healthy years is a boom topic for public and private entities.
Google last fall announced Calico, a new enterprise focusing on aging and associated diseases, for which it has been recruiting top scientists; it has not revealed details of its plans or how much it is investing. Another organization, Human Longevity Inc., headed by the well-known genomics researcher Craig Venter, launched this spring with plans to build a database of human DNA sequencing to tackle diseases of aging; it raised $70 million in an initial round of funding.
And the National Institutes of Health recently launched an unprecedented collaborative initiative across 20 of its 27 specialized institutes to address aging and longevity. National Institute on Aging director Richard Hodes said the NIH would also like to work on the topic with some of the emerging organizations.

A new system uses a complicated algorithm and a growing database of faces to assess how old parts of a person’s face appear to be. Researchers behind the site hope to one day link the appearance of aging to longevity. Here’s what the computer said about two Post reporters.
The economic and social implications could be staggering. Not only will living to 100 become more common one day, longevity experts say, but the quality of life in the final decades might also be drastically improved, reducing the burdens imposed by an aging population.
Increasing life expectancy by 2.2 years by slowing aging would save $7.1 trillion in disability and entitlement programs over 50 years, according to a paper in Health Affairs co-authored by Olshansky, who is also a research associate at the University of Chicago’s Center on Aging.
Longevity scientists say the key to extending healthy life lies in focusing on aging itself rather than on aging-related diseases. Even minor progress in slowing the aging process would be more groundbreaking than major progress that tackles just one illness, they say.
In fact, drugs already in use for some age-related diseases may turn out to work because they are delaying aging overall.
“We may be at the beginning of a time when drugs approved for diabetes or macular degeneration are actually working because they are delaying the onset of aging,” said Dan Perry, founder of the Alliance for Aging Research, a Washington-based advocacy group.
And while it is not yet clear whether humans will one day live 150 years, as some have predicted, scientists are optimistic that the number of years of healthy life — or “health span” — of humans can be significantly increased and the infirmities associated with aging reduced.
“Aging is not such a deep part of our biology that it can’t be changed,” said Steven Austad, chair of the biology department at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “All this stuff seemed like science fiction a few years ago, but now we have it, at least in mice.”
A personal approach
The idea for the facial recognition project came to Olshansky a couple of years ago during dinner with an insurance underwriter . “He was complaining that he had a very short time to assess people’s survival prospects” and that the methods used to do it were too blunt, Olshansky said.
Olshansky, whose work includes exploring the limits to human longevity, slowing aging and studying health and public-policy implications of individual and population aging, knew that people who live longer generally look younger than other people of their age. He wondered whether that knowledge could translate into something more scientific.
He contacted Karl Ricanek, a professor of computer science at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, who has worked on facial recognition technology for the National Security Agency, the CIA, and the FBI; along with a biostatistician and other computer scientists, they developed a program to analyze photographs of faces.
They have launched a Web site inviting anyone in the world to submit a photo. The database they are developing, called Face My Age, is expected to deliver increasingly more accurate assessments and predictions as more people participate. The researchers are hoping for large numbers of people — at least 10,000 or 20,000, but preferably more — to submit photos and basic biographical information in exchange for feedback on how quickly they are aging and what this means for their longevity prospects. The person in the photo cannot smile or have makeup on, and must reveal if he or she has had plastic surgery.

Staff writer Tara Bahrampour is shown here in an actual photograph taken at her current age of 47. The images at later ages were produced using computer technology developed by researchers at Face Aging Group at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. (The Washington Post)
The technique is more personalized than the current approach to face aging.
“The technology that is out there utilizes group norms, so they can artificially age you,” Ricanek said. “But . . . the lines they paint on your face are actually the same as the lines they paint on my face, [whereas] the ones we’re using are individual.”
Initially the site will give users only  one number — their apparent age — but as it becomes more refined, it should be able to assign perceived ages to different parts of the face, Olshansky said.
“Imagine taking your iPhone and snapping a selfie and putting it into our Web site and discovering that your eyes are that of a 50-year-old, your lips are that of a 70-year-old, your cheeks are that of a 50-year-old,” he said.
The algorithms work differently for people of different genders and ethnic groups, Ricanek said. For example, the skin of lighter-complected individuals, which has less melanin, tends to age more as a result of sun exposure than the skin of people with darker complexions. Women’s faces tend to age more quickly than men’s because of different distributions of fat and blood vessels.

Staff writer Robert Samuels is shown here in an actual photograph taken at his current age 29. The images at later ages were produced using computer technology developed by researchers at Face Aging Group at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. (The Washington Post)
Wait and see
It won’t be clear how well the technology works until enough participants die and the researchers can see how good their estimates were. But the project recently got a boost when it gained access to several thousand photos taken years ago of people, some of whom have subsequently died; knowing the date of death for so many will allow the Web site to start providing users with even more reliable life span estimates in the next 12 to 18 months, Olshansky said.
If successful, it could be used not only by insurance companies but also by health advocates, financial institutions and other scientists.
The concept is intriguing — if it works, said Nir Barzilai, director of the Institute for Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. But he said it is not clear whether skin appearance alone can reveal deeper signs of aging.
“You really want to see if the skin biomarker is associated with other disease,” he said.
Barzilai, who works with centenarians, said he plans to submit photos of some of his subjects, ages 60 to 116, to the database.
James Kirkland, director of the Kogod Center on Aging at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said that more important than estimating a person’s life span would be predicting  his or her functional state, which Ricanek and Olshansky’s database will not do. But like many discoveries that end up contributing to science in unexpected ways, “it could be part of a pipeline that eventually results in something,” he said.
Potential for bias
Ethical and practical concerns may also arise, said Leonard Fleck, a professor of philosophy and medical ethics at Michigan State University.
Even if it can predict life span, the analysis might not be able to predict a person’s need for long-term care, he said. And it could open the door for discrimination.
“If at age 40 if there were something about your face saying you’re not likely to make it past 60, an employer could say, ‘Oh, I’m not willing to promote you to some position of importance because it’s not likely to be a good investment,’ ” Fleck said.
And people who look younger than their years do not always last long, said Mark Collins, president of the California-based Glenn Foundation, which funds aging research. “Sometimes people who look very healthy drop dead in the middle of the track, while others who look crinkled are still running at age 80,” he said.
Olshansky conceded that even if face aging is found to correlate with longevity, there will be outliers who don’t fit the general pattern.
“The longest-lived person in the world smoked for 100 years,” he said, adding that U.S. presidents, too, tend to be outliers, aging visibly faster in office but generally living longer than average.
However, he said, for the most part a face is a window onto a person’s overall health.
“The face picks up a lot of risk factors for health, such as tobacco smoking (wrinkles around the mouth); excessive alcohol consumption (larger nose); and excessive exposure to the sun (early brown spots and wrinkling) as well as stress,” he said in an e-mail.
At the very least, learning the results of one’s face-age analysis may nudge participants to try to extend their healthy life spans by adopting good habits.
“If someone came to you and said that your life expectancy, for example, is five years from now, you would think pretty hard and long about what’s going on in your life,” Ricanek said. “It can make us wake up and change some of the things that we’re doing — maybe we’re stressing out too much about our job; maybe we need to make different lifestyle decisions. I would like to shake people up.”

Top 5 reasons why you are losing volume!

June 25th, 2014

We all have varying degrees of fat in our faces and a multitude of factors can cause changes to these fatty compartments. “Volume loss occurs because of gradual changes in the appearance of the fat,” says Littleton, CO, facial plastic surgeon Brent Smith, MD. “There is a loss both superficially and at a deeper level that comes along with aging.”

1. Yo-Yo Dieting And Extreme Exercising
Keeping fat off your body is no easy task since the body can’t be told where to lose weight from and where to keep it. So even if you want to “spot-treat” a specific part of the body, you may end up reducing the amount of fat in your face as well. “The ups and downs of recurrent dieting cause a stretching of the ligaments that support the tissues of the face. This can result in a loss of elasticity and volume, which promotes an aging effect,” says Dr. Smith. A lack of facial fullness is often seen in avid exercisers and runners because they are consistently burning off a high number of calories—volume loss is often evident even if they are at a healthy weight. “They may feel healthy, but they often look older than they really are,” says La Jolla, CA, plastic surgeon Robert Singer, MD.

2. Excessive Sun Exposure
Although fat loss is not directly dependent on UV rays, it is important to protect your skin from the sun. “If you don’t wear SPF daily, the sun will accelerate the breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin. When collagen and elastin levels are of poor quality, the condition of the skin is affected and the loss of fat can be accentuated,” says New York plastic surgeon Alan Matarasso, MD.

3. Hormonal Changes
Female hormones, namely estrogen, are partially responsible for changes in the amount and quality of fat. As hormone levels begin to dip, fat can start to thin out.

4. Too Thin Of A Frame
It is possible to be too skinny. When that’s the case, the aging process will become even more of your foe than your friend. The reason: A naturally thin face has little natural fat to begin with and over time the inherent amounts of fat begin to diminish, causing an extremely haggard look.

5. Receding Bones
With age, we naturally lose bone mass in the face. The muscles also begin to atrophy to some degree. These changes alter the underlying structure of the face and can cause the cheekbones and midface to look collapsed (the effects usually don’t take hold until later in life). “It’s noticeable in the 70- to 80-year-old patient and while it’s highly variable, the majority of resorption happens around the nose and in the central face,” says Chicago plastic surgeon Julius Few, MD.

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