5 Easy Ways To Shed Post-Christmas Pounds

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Give away leftover treats

After feasting for nearly two weeks, it can be hard to stop eating; especially so if you have too many treats in the cupboard. When people come over for Christmas they tend to be laden with gifts and the odd food-based present. Inevitably, not all of the food items you bought or were given will be eaten come January the first.

Yet with all of those Christmas goodies in the cupboard you’ll find it that much harder to stick to your new healthy eating regime. Rather than keep all of that calorific food, why not continue the Christmas cheer and pack up the food into a hamper or basket and give someone you know a treat. Or, give the hamper to a worthy cause. This will help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions.


Drink water

For the majority of us, Christmas is spent nibbling cookies, cakes and all sorts of other unhealthy food. Therefore, once the festive season ends our bodies are filled with harmful toxins. To flush out these substances, drink lots of water. You should aim to drink around three quarters to one full gallon of water in order to flush out these toxins.

If you don’t like drinking water or struggle to guzzle lots, then we have some tricks to help you drink more. Firstly, you could invest in a drinking glass that you really like. Or you could attach elastic bands to your water bottle. Every time you drink a bottle’s worth of water you can remove one of the bands. If you dislike the taste of water, try decaffeinated iced tea or add some squeezed lemon juice to turn plain water into a refreshing, zingy drink.   


Make plans

After Christmas most of us struggle to shed post-Christmas pounds because we are bored. January signals a time for cutting back and staying in, so that we can address our finances and save a little money. Yet after all the glitz and fun of December, staying in becomes hard and we often find ourselves bored and low. Consequently, most of us tend to indulge in a little comfort eating. This is terrible news for your resolution to shed that Christmas weight.

To combat the boredom and post-Christmas blues you need to plan some fun, cheap activities. You could volunteer at a youth centre, enter a fun run event or arrange to meet up with friends and go on a long walk somewhere pretty.



Want to kick your sluggish post-Christmas metabolism into life to shed those post-Christmas pounds? Well, you’ll be pleased to hear that protein is the solution to your metabolism issues. For breakfast eat around 10 to 15 grams (0.35oz to to 0.53 oz) of protein in order to get your metabolism into gear at the start of the day. An egg on toast or some low-fat yogurt with honey and nuts is a great breakfast if you want to shed that Christmas weight.

After your busy day, half an hour before you go to sleep you should eat another protein heavy snack. This time you could choose a small protein shake or some cottage cheese with berries and honey. Eating protein before bed will help to increase your metabolism when you are asleep.


Light a candle

Over Christmas we consume a shocking amount of sugar. Therefore, when we come to shed post-Christmas weight our blood sugar levels are unstable, which can cause us to crave calorific, unhealthy snacks. If you want to beat these cravings the trick is to light a vanilla candle.

A study at St George’s Hospital in London found that vanilla-scented patches significantly reduced participants’ appetite for sweet foods and drinks. It is believed that this is because the smell of vanilla can help to suppress sweet cravings. This January, make sure you have a stock of vanilla scented candles in your cupboard and light one when you have an urge for something sweet.

Healthy New Year's Resolution Ideas

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New Year’s resolution ideas for fitness beginners

OK, so you’re an absolute fitness beginner who has little or no idea about the pleasures and pains of healthy, active living. However, if you feel it’s time to get off your behind and improve the state of your mind and body, it might be prudent to adopt some of the following healthy and active New Year’s resolution tips to enjoy a healthier lifestyle:

  • Eat more fruit and vegetable portions every day – This is a simple yet highly effective New Year’s resolution that could really boost your day-to-day health. Try to eat the recommended portions of fruit and vegetables each day to keep your body energised with nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
  • Join a gym or health club – If you really want to fight the flab, joining a gym or health club could be ideal for burning fat and improving your body shape. With a variety of membership types available to suit all your needs, joining a gym has never been easier!
  • Cut down on your daily salt intake – High salt consumption can lead to a variety of health problems, including raised blood pressure and heart disease. As a result, there really is no need to make every meal taste like the Dead Sea.
  • Try a new sports activity – If you want to boost your fitness levels but feel the gym isn’t right for you, a new sports activity could provide a fun yet fit alternative. With clubs offering everything from karate classes through to skydiving tutorials, it could be time to get sporty and enjoy a healthier future!
  • Curb your drinking habits – As all those festive hangovers may have hinted, heavy alcohol consumption can entail serious health consequences, with long-term implications including weight gain, depression, chronic sickness, and an empty wallet! Whilst the odd social drink is perfectly acceptable, it might be time to reassess things if you frequently binge drink. So curb your alcohol intake today and you may just save more than a little money in the process.
  • Broaden your knowledge – Whilst it’s important to maintain your physical fitness, it’s equally vital to exercise your mind if you want to enjoy a healthy and happy life. If you feel you don’t always maximise your brain power, why not take part in evening classes (or even further education) to broaden your knowledge and offer a work-out to those sleeping brain cells?
  • Spend more time with your family – Another way of boosting your mental wellbeing is to enjoy more family-friendly activities. Whether playing a board game, day tripping or cooking with the kids, a supportive family environment will make you appreciate the simple pleasures in life more readily. So think twice before saying yes to that overtime and enjoy some quality family fun instead!

New Year’s resolution ideas for fitness lovers

You may be a long-term health and fitness convert, but that doesn’t mean you can afford to rest on your laurels just yet! Even if you have the body of a supermodel or the stamina of a stallion, it could be well worth adopting some of the following New Year’s resolution tips if you really want to lead a fresh and varied lifestyle:

  • Try an extreme sport – If you’re getting tired of the same old sporting activities, why not try something a little different by signing up for an extreme sport? Whether skydiving, white water rafting or even attempting a desert marathon, extreme sports will make your life feel exciting and adventurous, whilst taking your fitness to another level.
  • Vary your stretches – It’s amazing how many fitness fanatics jump straight into their exercise without even warming up properly. However, stretching for a sports or gym workout is essential in preventing serious injury, so try out a variety of stretches in future, to prepare all your muscles for physical exertion.
  • Use your fitness knowledge to support others – You may be a prime example of a healthy athlete but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t support others who might not enjoy the same fitness benefits. Why not use your fitness knowledge to advise your friends and family members who are just starting out in the world of healthy living? They’ll certainly feel better for it, and so will you!
  • Enjoy regular spa therapies – What better way to relax your body after a tough day in the gym than a soothing spa session or massage? Treating your body after exercise is essential if you want to prevent injuries and feel fresh the morning after. So don’t skimp on your down-time, make spa therapy a regular habit this year!
  • Find more time for relaxation – Fitness fanatics are all the same; they work so hard and exercise so long that sometimes they meet themselves coming back! However, if you really want to live a long and healthy life, make sure you don’t overdo it. Trying to squeeze as much out of each day is one thing but missing your sleep just so you can spend an extra hour at the gym is just plain silly. Resting from exercise is vital if you want to avoid illness so make sure you get some!

Whether you’re a complete fitness beginner or seasoned health lover, coming up with a list of active New Year’s resolutions needn’t be so tough. Rather than being a chore, these resolutions should inspire you by opening your mind to new experiences. So this new year, revitalise your mind and body with some lifestyle changes large and small. It could be the dawning of a new you!

Beauty Tips to Remember

Beauty Tips to Remember
By Michele McDonough

Are you often confused when buying beauty products? Do you reach for that product which advertises the most therefore capturing your attention? Or, do you head to the counters to buy the secret potion that a friend recommended while sharing that her wrinkles had disappeared overnight?
Whatever reason motivates your beauty purchase or anti-aging investment, here are some simple things to remember:

The most expensive on the market is not always the best. Many times products can be extremely close in formulation but just packaged differently. Some products have cleaner ingredients and a better delivery system.
Buy your skincare when there are free gift promotions so you can try free samples first to make sure you have no allergic reactions.
A facial once a month not only forces you to sit still; it gets the blood moving which is very good for your skin.
Our diet shows up on our faces, unfortunately! Watch what you eat and avoid diet drinks and fast foods. Think about the old saying, “You are what you eat.” It’s true!
Sleep is the cheapest form of an anti-aging product! Make sure you get your 8 hours of sleep if you can.
Alcohol, medication and cigarette smoking can promote early signs of aging as well.
Our Moms used items from the kitchen before there were fancy products available at the cosmetic counter. Sometimes just a little olive oil or coconut oil can ease the pain of dry hands or feet.

My favorite “go to” resource for beauty information is euromonitor.com. Below are some consumer industry trends I’d like to share. The beauty survey referred to in this article can be found on their website in its entirety.
The beauty space is turning green, and smart companies are taking part. Green features are secondary only to efficacy, suitability, and a quality-price balance in consumers’ decision-making, and are actually more important than low prices and strong brand names, according to the 2016 beauty survey results. So what are the best “shades” of green? In particular, “all natural” product claims matter to 50% or more of green-minded buyers in all markets, while other factors, like water efficiency, 100% organic, or botanically-derived ingredients exhibit regional appeal. 
It’s all about me! Consumer demand is moving from ‘suitable for me’ towards a ‘made for me’ level of customization. This is achieved through individual product formulations, digital consultation on brands’ and retailers’ websites and smart devices and applications that provide near constant feedback on efficacy. At the same time, consumers’ expectations for a healthy and extended youthful appearance continue to hold strong across many age groups.
Michele McDonough is a Strategic Consultant and Executive Recruiter in the field of health and beauty. She is also co-founder of Women’s Power Circle and can be reached at [email protected]

Functional, Fashionable Footwear

Functional, Fashionable Footwear
A guide to finding the perfect summer shoes By Elizabeth Scarcella
Wedges are comfy and complement most summer wear.

Few fashion items seem as elusive as finding the perfect summer shoe. As the years grow on me, my tootsies demand more respect (and support) than an inexpensive pair of trendy flip flops can provide. In addition, I have finally accepted that Birkenstocks and Crocs, albeit comfy, are not always the most suitable choice to complete a more polished look.
Having been on the quest for a chic-practical-go-with-everything-in-my-closet shoe, I have curated 3 must-have styles that are sure to keep your feet smiling and your inner fashionista proud.
Neutral platform wedges with an ankle strap. Platform sandals come in a variety of styles to suit your preferred look and budget. Whether you go for a “flatform” wedge in which the entire sole of the shoe is anchored solidly on the ground (similar to a sneaker) or you opt for a raised platform, you can’t go wrong with this choice, which pairs perfectly with linen shorts, cotton capris, or a full skirt. When selecting the perfect hue, check your predominant color palate…do you tend toward warm tones or cool tones? Purchase a pair that complements your wardrobe in order to get the most use.
Flat stacked mule slides. Mule slides are an easy, classic shoe that transcend many fashion styles and have remained on trend for decades. Since you can find them in unlimited colors and fabrics, it becomes effortless to match them with your existing summer wardrobe. Alternatively, I am obsessing over this summer’s ice cream colored palette serving up all the “flavors” – from mint green to yellow sorbet. Decide to be bold and add a pastel punch of color to an ordinarily plain colored outfit.
Block heel sandals. Flat sandals aren’t always an option, especially when attending a swanky garden party or dining at a chic restaurant. However, a block heel, also called a chunky heel, is the ideal option. Again, this style of sandal comes in a bevy of colors and fabric choices. Block heel sandals work with everything from fancy adorned jeans to a midi-length dress, or even a ball gown. I suggest choosing a scrappy metallic version to instantly increase the sizzle factor and look appropriately dressed, all while being comfortable throughout the duration of your festivities.
Regardless of the color or particular style you are drawn to, functional fashionable summer footwear is not as mystical as you may have thought. Use the suggestions above to create a custom look that’s entirely your own.
Remember, the most important factor in choosing your summer supplies is that you think happy thoughts, feel a sense of calm and peace, and consequently, inspire others to do the same. Happy feet forward!
Elizabeth Scarcella, founder of Go Get Young and co-owner of Rx2Fitness, is dedicated to helping others find health in all aspects of life. For more information, find her at [email protected]

What are Micro Peels?

What are Micro Peels?
By Kymberly Whitaker

One of the more popular facial rejuvenating treatments today is the micro peel. It is a superficial chemical peel which can smooth and soften your skin, brighten your complexion, minimize pore size, and reduce discoloration, all with no social down time.  
This simple 30-minute procedure should not be confused with the micro laser peel which is a more invasive therapy requiring 48-72 hours of down time. Both procedures aim to exfoliate the skin for regrowth of dermal cells; however, laser peels work beyond the surface and can require preparation, medications, and down time for healing.
Micro peels are the lightest of all chemical peels and, because they work on the outer surface, are standardly not painful. The procedure uses lactic and glycolic acids which are naturally occurring alpha hydroxyl acids (AHAs) found in fruits and other foods.
What are the benefits?
Micro peels are an effective adjunct to skincare, and expedite the results that can be achieved through skin care alone.  Because they are more potent, they offer significant advantage over skin care products, and without recovery time. A micro peel will improve your skin texture, color and overall appearance as well as decrease the apparent size of your pores. Many experience improvement of small, superficial wrinkles as well.
How does the procedure work?
First, dead skin cells are gently removed through a painless technique called dermaplaning, which is similar to shaving.  The AHA solution, usually between 20% and 50%, depending on your skin type, is brushed on and remains for approximately 10 minutes.  You may experience mild, temporary stinging and itching.  Then stimulants such as dry ice are applied, followed by moisturizing cream.  Immediately following your micro peel, you can return to your usual activities.  
The extent of the exfoliation depends on the type and concentration of the AHA. At high concentrations, AHAs function as peeling agents which act more rapidly and at a deeper level.
The skin rejuvenates for up to six weeks after each treatment. The procedure is safe to do on a regular basis; monthly treatments create a constant turnover of dead cells, so skin looks and feels fresher.
Are there disadvantages?
As long as your expectations are realistic, there are few disadvantages. A micro peel will not improve dynamic or skin fold wrinkles. If you have thin, sensitive skin, you may have redness for one to two days following the treatment. If this occurs, a lower concentration of solution can be used for subsequent treatments.
Because of their simplicity, safety, effectiveness and low cost, physician supervised micro peels have become very popular. The benefits are significant, the risks negligible, and the costs affordable.
Kymberly Whitaker is a member of the Society of Plastic Surgical Skin Care Specialists and a medical esthetician in the office of Maja Ruetschi, MD, FACS. She can be reached at (760) 340.1199.

Non-Drug Treatments for Rosacea

Non-Drug Treatments for Rosacea
By Lauren Del Sarto

Rosacea (pronounced “roh-ZAY-sha”) is a chronic and potentially life-disruptive disorder primarily of the facial skin and often characterized by flare-ups and remissions. It typically begins any time after age 30 as a redness on the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead that may come and go. In some cases, rosacea may also occur on the neck, chest, scalp or ears. Over time, the redness tends to become ruddier and more persistent, and visible blood vessels may appear. Left untreated, bumps and pimples often develop, and in severe cases the nose may grow swollen and bumpy from excess tissue. This is the condition, called rhinophyma (pronounced “rhi-no-FY-muh”), that gave the late comedian W.C. Fields his trademark bulbous nose. In many rosacea patients, the eyes are also affected, feeling irritated and appearing watery or bloodshot.1
Signs of rosacea may include redness and/or small visible veins
Oral and topical anti-inflammatory medications have traditionally been used to treat the condition; however, laser and light therapies are also used effectively to help control or reverse signs and symptoms.  Essential oils are even beneficial to help soothe irritated and inflamed skin.
“When people see redness, they may think it is acne and apply abrasive skin care products that are drying and cause more irritation,” says medical esthetician, Nancy Cornicelli. “With rosacea, you want to avoid harsh cleansers and opt for calming, organic products that reduce inflammation and soothe the skin.” She recommends extracts from flowers and herbs such as calendula (her top choice), chamomile, lavender and rosemary. “Many underestimate the potency of essential oils,” she says reminding us that herbs and flowers are the basis for most medications.
Since the mid-1980s, lasers have been used to treat the dilated blood vessels, persistent redness, acne-like breakouts, and thickening of the skin that are characteristic of rosacea, and most recently, intense light therapy, which Joan Warren, M.D., of The Vein Institute considers the leading treatment
for rosacea.
She prefers FotoFacial, which uses optical energy to go beyond the surface to the lower layers of the skin while providing little discomfort and strong results.
“With 5-7 treatments over a 3-4 week period, we standardly see 90% improvement,” she says. She also recommends wearing sunscreen all of the time and avoiding retin-A products which can make the condition worse.
Most of the time Dr. Warren uses two types of procedures to address different symptoms. For the tiny blood vessels that appear (and may or may not be associated with rosacea), she uses the “Vein Gogh,” a small needle that pops and coagulates the blood causing the vein to disappear. 
Certain foods are said to increase symptoms including some dairy products, citrus and spicy cuisine, along with alcohol, and hot beverages such as tea and coffee.1 Many now point to wheat as the core cause. “After suffering from acne for over 30 years, I started to develop rosacea on my face,” says primary care physician Joseph Scherger, M.D., of Eisenhower Medical Center. “Being from rural Ohio, I was a big bread eater and after reading Chapter 12 of Wheat Belly, realized – and was frankly angry – to learn about wheat as the cause.” He gave up wheat and in two weeks saw his rosacea disappear. He now prescribes wheat elimination to patients suffering from skin conditions such as rosacea.
There is no cure for rosacea and the cause is unknown. Individuals who suspect they may have rosacea are urged to see a qualified health care practitioner for diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
For more information on rosacea, visit rosacea.org. Nancy Cornicelli of the Facial Cottage can be reached at (760) 250.7229. Dr. Joan Warren of the Vein Institute can be reached at (760) 610.5573.
Reference: 1) National Rosacea Society

Let Me Introduce Myself

Let Me Introduce Myself

Partners and friends, Dr. Andrew Ordon and Dr. Ritu Chopra
I am delighted to have the opportunity to present a regular column about the latest news in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. I am very passionate about my chosen field and am always striving to be better, know more, stay current, perfect technique and offer my Coachella Valley patients the newest and best that plastic surgery and age prevention techniques can achieve.
Ever since I was young, I wanted to know how things work. I was always taking things apart and reassembling them. I drove my parents crazy! But part of knowing how things work is developing the knowledge, creativity and intuition to improve on the status quo. I am still like that today (except I try not to drive anyone crazy any more).
My natural fascination with structure and building inspired me to want to follow in my father’s footsteps. You know how people say, ‘he’s no rocket scientist’? Well, my dad was a rocket scientist, and I credit him for the creative intuition that defines my plastic surgery career. However, I was also inspired by my grandfather, a renowned health care professional who practiced both medicine and Ayurveda healing. Thus, I began my studies at the University of California earning a civil engineering degree before following my heart into medicine and graduating cum laude from Boston University School of Medicine. I was trained in general surgery at Cedars Sinai and finished with a residency in Plastic Surgery at Albert Einstein School of Medicine in New York.
Fully trained and ready to work, I was recruited by America’s best-known plastic surgeon, Andrew P. Ordon, M.D. When he told me about his Rancho Mirage practice, I said, “The desert? Really?” I had visited Palm Springs but couldn’t imagine working in the desert, much less living here. But I gave it a go and boy, am I glad I did. Now I love the desert. I love the people, the place, the natural beauty, the recreation….everything. I call Indian Wells home and operate in our surgery center in Rancho Mirage, as well as Eisenhower Medical Center. It’s a blessed life.
I feel fortunate that Dr. Drew Ordon sought me out. Our partnership is exceptional in that we work so very well together and often collaborate on cases. That is very unusual in our field. We are the best of friends, business partners, and co-surgeons. I have even contributed on his television show, The Doctors, as their plastic surgery correspondent. I have performed over a dozen surgeries for television, and many of the most memorable cases have been charitable. We recently reconstructed a young lady who was run over by a lawn mower when she was 3 years old. She’s now sixteen, so you can imagine the impact of a deforming injury on her personality and self-image. Assisting in erasing the physical signs of the accident greatly aided in her recovery from the emotional trauma and was tremendously rewarding for me. That’s why I consider myself so fortunate. I GET to do these types of things and am very grateful for the opportunity.
As medical director of The Plastic Surgery Institute, I try to lead by example. It is by no means a ‘one-man-show’ as I am supported by an exceptionally talented medical staff. But it’s not all about the surgery. Good looks aren’t accidental, it takes work, and I take pride in prescribing preventative measures and quality skin care practices in addition to non-invasive and surgical options. My grandfather was the first to expose me to the benefits of botanical extracts, and I have long been aware of the healing powers found within our natural environment.
Now that you have gotten to know a little about me, I want to know about you. What topics in the field of plastic surgery are of interest to you? I look forward to your input so that I may write about the latest technologies and options available which interest you most. You’ll be surprised and impressed with the newest in breast reconstruction now that the surgery has become more accessible. Laws have been passed that require insurance to cover many procedures. If your insurance covers a medically necessary mastectomy, it now has to cover reconstruction as well.
The latest in the rocketing field of cosmetic fillers and nerve blockers (like Botox) will also amaze you. Innovations in breast implant surgery, liposuction and skin resurfacing with lasers are rapidly unfolding, and no other area of plastic surgery has experienced more evolution than the facelift. When I share what we are doing with our facelifts – and the impact it has on the results and recovery times – you will see why it is the very best time to consider the options.
We have a lot of topics to cover, so I hope you become a regular reader of this column. Tell me what you would like to hear about, and tell your friends to read along with you.
Let us begin.
Dr. Chopra is medical director of The Plastic Surgery Institute in Rancho Mirage and can be reached at (760) 569.2211. Please send your ideas and recommended topics for his new column via email to [email protected]

Options to Living Life Scarred

Options to Living Life Scarred

Injury can leave scars that are often more than skin deep.
Scarred. It can mean a lot of things, both physical and emotional. The physical scar can remind us of an event or process that we’d rather not have experienced. Surprisingly, improvement or elimination of the scar can bring about a kind of healing and recovery that no amount of acceptance or therapy can produce.
While scar removal procedures are often a daily routine for practitioners in our field, for the patient, the effects are often profound and life changing.
When we meet a new scarred patient, the tie between the physical and emotional is obvious. As someone tells us their story, often their fingers will drift to the scars and gently touch them as they speak. Usually emotions build and build, and we can see the weight this condition puts upon their mind and spirit. A sadness evolves, a feeling of being doomed to this situation forever.
After carefully listening to the patient about the history of the scars, and the attempts that have been made to improve them, we do a physical examination. In many cases, we can offer a significant transformation, yet in others, we cannot.
Dr. Ordon addresses a facial scar removal procedure.
Scars can be objectionable for several reasons. Factors include coloration, wideness, pigmentation (either too light or too dark), depth (either depressed or raised) and location. If a scar is in a troubling location, often we can relocate it into a fold or crease and make it less conspicuous. Most often, we recommend a “scar revision.”
Scar revision is simply cutting out the old scar and re-suturing it. One might ask, “If surgery caused the scar, how will more surgery fix it?” The answer is in the details. Several factors can be dramatically improved with good technique and tissue handling. For example, let’s say someone fell and was cut by a blunt surface. They went to the ER and were sutured up by the doctor on duty. The scar is wide and indented…and right in the middle of the forehead.
In our experience, improvement can be seen in 4 out of 5 categories that most often lead to scarring, or 80% of the time. Those categories include:

Mechanism of injury. A scalpel in the hands of a skilled surgeon is much more delicate and precise than a blunt curb or fist.
Delay. In trauma situations, the time between the injury and suture closure is prolonged – the trip to the ER, the waiting room, waiting for x-rays or test result, and finally the surgery repair. Hours pass. In scar revision surgery, the closure immediately follows the excision of the old scar.
Technique. Technique applied in trauma situations tends to differ greatly from that of a planned procedure by a physician trained in cosmetic surgery. We focus on releasing local tissues so there is less tension on the wound in the healing phase, as tension leads to wide scars. We use “atraumatic technique,” which means treating tissue gently and exposing the skin to a minimum of manipulation, dryness and heat, while using delicate, sharp instruments that cut cleanly without crushing or traumatizing vital tissue.
Wound care. Plastic surgeons tend to use smaller sutures and more of them. That way we can remove half of the sutures early, which allows better blood flow and oxygenation of the wound edges. Patients are also followed closely and seen every few days post-surgery, which may not have happened after your original occurrence.
Genetics and environmental factors. This is the one area we cannot control. Genetic ability to heal varies from person to person and despite all our efforts, it can shoot us in the foot. Also, smoking or poor hygiene can sabotage an otherwise perfect operation. For elective surgery, we suggest smoking cessation a month before surgery and can only hope that a patient is compliant.

Removing scars can help remove negative memories and restore character.
Clearly, gathering a thorough and detailed history is vital before choosing a course in scar revision. Often laser therapy is the best course as lasers can substantially improve coloration of scar tissue with virtually no recovery. Intense Pulse Light Therapy can also eliminate the enlarged blood vessels that make some scars conspicuous.
If you have disconcerting scars, there are options to consider. With so many advances in technique and technology, there is absolutely no reason for those with concerns to live life scarred.
Dr. Chopra is medical director of The Plastic Surgery Institute in Rancho Mirage and can be reached at (760) 568.2211. Please send your ideas and recommended topics for his column via email to [email protected]

The Beauty of Your Genes

The Beauty of Your Genes
By Darren Clair, MD

Since the unraveling of the human genome project concluded in 2003, genetic scientists and researchers have been studying human genes to determine how we age. The fact is, our cells age, and they begin to age from just moments after we are born. After 30 years or so, our cells begin to produce physical signs of aging such as graying hair and wrinkling of skin.
Consumers are constantly seeking ways to slow down this aging process. The sale of creams and pills to reduce the physical signs of aging has created a multi-billion dollar industry in the U.S. alone. We have become obsessed with trying to remain younger looking. We dye our graying hair. We spread creams on our skin. We have skilled surgeons alter our physical appearance with tummy tucks, liposuction, and facelifts: all in a frantic attempt to maintain that youthful appearance just a little longer.
All of these attempts to regain our youth are missing the vital point towards which real science is pointing us. The National Institute on Aging advocates diet and exercise and other natural ways to slow the aging process.
Due to advances in the science of genomics, we are beginning to learn how genes affect the aging process. The theory is to identify the gene, or genes, that affect aging and study them to see what genetic pathways they follow. Then by altering either the gene itself, or its genetic pathway, or both, we can actually change the way the body looks and acts.
Professor Judith Campisi of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging is one of those studying the role of genes on the aging process. She notes that the process of doing nothing more than breathing causes genetic damage. We breathe in pollutants in parts per million that damage our genes every day. We eat foods that are altered by chemicals that damage our genes. Further, cells can simply “make mistakes” when they divide all on their own. We have lots of cells in our bodies, so mistakes happen.
There are several estimates on the number of cells we have in our bodies. Depending upon whether we measure by volume or weight the estimate is either 15 trillion or 70 trillion cells. So, let’s assume that we have around 37.5 trillion. To put this in perspective, the population of the entire world is currently 7.3 billion. So doing the math, one human body has the same number of cells equal to 5,137 times the population of the entire world!
Science is now realizing that if we treat our genes well, we can extend their lives. Healthy genes mean a healthy body.
So, here’s what we can do: eat fruits and vegetables, nuts and whole grains, and foods that are high in healthy fats, like fish which is high in omega 3 fatty oils as well as anti-oxidants. Avoid sugar, and “junk” or processed foods. Avoid smoking, drinking, and drugs. Exercise regularly by walking to increase blood circulation. Get at least 7 hours of sleep and take time to relax every day.
Smile and be happy. Your genes are counting on you to take care of them.
Dr. Clair is founder and medical director of Vibrance Rejuvenation Center in Rancho Mirage and can be reached at (760) 324.4872.

Incorporating Growth Factors Into Treatment Modalities

Incorporating Growth Factors Into Treatment Modalities
By Paul Malkin, RN, BSN

When considering factors that contribute to improving the properties of skin tightening, skin rejuvenation, wrinkle reduction, acne and acne scar reduction, smaller pores and generally fighting the effects of aging and gravity, one of the newest, most innovative treatments is the introduction of growth factor technology.
A growth factor is a naturally occurring substance capable of stimulating cellular growth, proliferation, healing, and cellular differentiation. Usually it is a protein or a steroid hormone. Growth factor for skin is already produced by human skin. Facial rejuvenation techniques such as micro-needling and radiofrequency purposefully injure the collagen of skin in a controlled environment. Fibroblasts producing new growth factors activate cellular proliferation and differentiation – in other words, cell repair. Adding an application of an overabundance of naturally produced, concentrated skin growth factors helps to boost the healing process, naturally.
Growth factors are all about skin and tissue repair, as they are proteins that help the healing process of skin. Added growth factors injected into skin during the micro-needling process and other treatments supplement the skin to repair signs of aging and encourage healing after clinical skin resurfacing procedures. Growth factors also calm inflammation and irritation caused by many skin treatments.
Here are some things to consider about growth factors:

The benefit of growth factors is that they have the ability to turn essential cellular activities “on” and “off.” They play a role in increasing cell functions, which include cell division, blood vessel formation, and collagen and elastin production. The application of growth factor technology to skincare is using nature’s processes to help achieve a more youthful and vibrant look.
The best source of growth factor for skin is fibroblast cells. This finding has been supported by numerous scientific publications; they are considered the key cells in wound healing.
One would be hard pressed to find a scientific publication supporting the claim that stem cells produce growth factors beneficial to the skin.
Plants produce growth factors, but plant growth factors do not work on human skin.

There is a large variety of mechanical and light-bearing technology to effectively enhance facial rejuvenation. Adding growth factor technology can assist in maximizing nature’s healing process during cosmetic procedures and skin rejuvenation.
Paul Malkin is the corporate manager of the Vein Institute of the Desert. For more information visit www.VeinInstituteOfTheDesert.com or call (760) 610.5573.