Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rethinking Anti-Aging

Media love to jump all over the still young and beautiful who feel compelled to stop aging in its tracks before it even begins. (Hello, Botox Babies!) If you think about it, it’s the quintessential attempt to “anti-age.” Imagine: no lines, no wrinkles and, yes, no sign of life’s experience… pros and cons to be sure.

But is that what we’re really after, anti-aging? I’d venture to say, most of us wear the odd line proudly. My very own are indications to the world that I’m not a baby and have indeed earned the respect that goes with my age and experience. Of course, I don’t want ALL of them left unchecked. (Yes, I do like my Botox, thank-you-very-much!)

So in a recent conversation with plastic surgeon and industry leader Julius Few, MD, of The Few Institute in Chicago, Dr. Few told me that he doesn’t use the term “anti-aging” in his practice. Wow. (Right?) I was intrigued by his perspective and it made me stop and ponder how the industry has changed and is continuing to change.

Let’s start with the Botox Babies phenomenon of the past decade. Pretty obvious. We don’t want to let time slip by and become the 50-something-year-old woman who faces the hard choice of (a) major surgery to get the results she wants or (b) settling for less-than-significant results with less invasive procedures (fillers can’t always replace a facelift!).

But that doesn’t mean we need to start erasing all signs of aging before they begin to avoid the “big” surgical procedure. According to Dr. Few, it’s all about timing and customizing your cosmetic treatment protocol based on the way your particular face and skin age (we all have different aging traits). The idea is to begin an individualized, step-up approach to facial rejuvenation that combines less invasive procedures with selective surgical procedures—at the right time, over time.

The take home message? It’s all about gradual, subtle change that changes with your aging face, rather than trying to change your face.

So it isn’t about anti-aging, it’s about managing the aging process selectively and strategically, embracing elements of aging while maintaining a youthful quality to your skin and facial contours. It’s that age-old (pun intended) expression: Age with grace.

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