Rediscovering your Beauty

Rediscovering your Beauty, blog by Dr Ling. Cosmetic Medicine, Austin, Texas. Tips by Dr. Ling on restoring your inner and outer beauty.
May 2014

Rediscovering your Beauty

Restoring outer beauty is my business … and so is restoring inner beauty. “So, how does one restore inner beauty?” one asks … for it is with inner beauty that outer beauty can truly manifest itself. How can we replicate the glow that someone has when they are in love … the translucent skin of a pregnant woman … the smooth, poreless skin of a child?

All beauty starts from within … down to the teeny tiny cells that comprise us … no, actually, down to the genes contained within those cells. It is the cellular environment we create that determines which genes – the good or the bad – express themselves.  Just search for the twin studies on wrinkles caused by smoke, stress, alcohol, sun damage.  Identical genes, different expressions … so you are not doomed to your genes.

What can you do to improve your inner beauty? They say garbage in, garbage out…so modify your intake…eat real food, drink real water, use real sweetener (or forego the addition). Shop the perimeter of the grocery story…where the fresh fruits and vegetables and other products that don’t require ingredient labels lie…or help out your local growers by going to the farmer’s market, and get produce picked in season, when they have the most nutrients.  Or, better yet, build your own little garden, where you can monitor what does and does not go into your food. Eat organic, so your cells do not accumulate the neurotoxic pesticides, and avoid GMO’s.  Eat organic or natural grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, free-roaming chickens, to reduce the hormones, and concentrated pesticides and herbicides from the ground. Inflammation on a cellular level also shows on your skin, and your insides (diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s are all inflammatory diseases).  Avoid inflammatory foods, like red meat and charred foods. Eat more anti-inflammatory foods, such as blueberries, cantaloupe, salmon. Just make sure you have a colorful plate consisting of ¾ vegetables, ¼ meat.  Food intolerances can also play a part in the inflammation that can show on your face.

As for beverages, keep your cells hydrated not only for the best appearance, but also for cellular efficiency.  Drink half your body weight in ounces daily (50 ounces if you weigh 100 lbs) as a baseline, if you don’t have much activity. Drink more if you exercise, drink caffeinated or alcoholic beverages (add two cups of water for every cup of these).  Diet beverages and artificial sweeteners are especially bad, since these your body responds to these chemicals as if you consumed 100 times more sugar…your insulin response will spike, and that can lead to all sorts of mayhem.  If you’re trying to avoid the calories, just drink water…it’s what you’re made of. And, remember, many people mistake thirst for hunger, so try drinking a glass of water before you reach for an unnecessary snack.

Exercise is quite crucial to maintaining and regaining your beauty. Regular exercise is good for not only building muscle and bone, but it is also good for the mind…you release endorphins, the happy hormones, when you exercise…which helps reduce stress…which helps reduce stress-induced wrinkles. The foundation for the skin is bone, muscle, and fat. After 30, you start losing bone; after 40, muscle.  You may notice some sagging of skin because of the loss of muscle, especially on the arms and legs. I encourage you to lift weights (including your own weight) to build muscle and bone, and rebuild the foundation for your face and body.

Sleep.  Women are particularly susceptible to the ill effects of sleep deprivation. This is the time when your body remodels, when your body produces growth hormone.  Sleep disruption also affects your cortisol and leptin levels…both of which can affect your reaction to stress, deposition of fat, and hunger.  Fortunately, you can improve sleep by exercising, avoiding caffeinated beverages at night, and having good sleep hygiene.

Stress. Environmental stressors, emotional stressors.   Stress does not kill us…it is how we react to stress that does. UV radiation causes wrinkles, sun spots, worsening of rosacea, and genetic damage that can lead to cancers. Wear sunblock with an SPF of at least 30 daily, reapplying every 80 minutes while exposed to the sun…apply 30 minutes before going back out into the sun (before you leave work).  Seasonal allergens can lead to chronic inflammation in the sinuses, which will show on your face.

Now that you have restored your inner beauty, let us discuss restoring your outer beauty.

Structural changes in the face occur with age.  Bone is reabsorbed, leaving smaller jaw bones (leading to jowls and wrinkles around the mouth), larger eye sockets (more sunken eyes), flatter cheekbones. Muscles also atrophy, fat pads migrate downward and inward, making nasolabial folds more prominent. These fat pads are also worn down by sleeping on them. 

Acne scars. Microdermabrasion, chemical peels help to whittle down the skin to reduce the appearance of these and wrinkles. CO2 fractional resurfacing stimulates your own body’s collagen production to fill in the depressions.

Loss of volume. Usually due to migration or just plain loss of fat pads, this can be rectified by the use of dermal fillers, fat transplant, or silicone implants. Dermal fillers, such as Juvederm, Radiesse, and Voluma last a few months to years. Implants have the risk of some migration.

Brown spots. Usually caused by UV radiation or hormones (melasma). You must use SPF 30 for the rest of your life.  Photofacials are the quickest way to reduce the appearance of brown spots, and are typically performed in a series. The darkest spots respond the quickest, because they absorb the most light to get destroyed in toto. When the spots get too light to absorb enough light to be destroyed, lightening creams should be used. Melasma is the most difficult to treat, since the pigment comes from below the skin surface. Hormone balancing is important prior to addressing melasma by these means.

Rosacea / spider veins (telangiectasias). These are worsened by UV radiation, alcohol, exercise, hot showers and saunas.  Sometimes, rosacea can be caused by microscopic parasites that defecate and irritate the blood vessels, so may respond to antibacterials. IPL or laser is also great to quickly remove unwanted blood vessels. Judicious use of SPF is also warranted to prevent further damage.

Wrinkles. Microdermabrasion and chemical peels remove the top layer of skin to minimize the appearance of wrinkles. Botulinum toxins help relax the muscles that create wrinkles. Once the skin is not constantly bombarded with folding, it has a chance to fill in to some degree. Dermal fillers are used to fill the deeper wrinkles that remain.

Sagging skin. Skin tightening procedures with the IPL or lasers may temporarily improve collagen tighten the skin. When it is severe enough, a face lift or partial face lift can help.

Dull, lifeless skin. As we age, our skin does not turn over as fast as it used to, so it accumulates on the surface, clogging pores, leaving a layer of dull, dry flakes.  Daily exfoliation techniques, such as using a facial brush to cleanse, helps to flick dirt and makeup out the pores. Other exfoliating procedures, such as microdermabrasion, enzyme masks, and chemical peels remove deeper layers of skin on a monthly basis. Retinols also improve skin turnover. Other products containing epidermal growth factors also aid in rejuvenating the skin.

There are many daily habits to incorporate into your life that can restore your youth, both internally and externally. Try a couple out and see if you start turning a few heads.  If you need a little extra help to see your former self in the mirror, trust your rejuvenation to an artful eye to recreate what you lost over time. Rediscover your youth.  Rediscover your self.

Dr. Ling


Dr. Ling
Dr. Shirat Ling is a national instructor who trains physicians to perform medical aesthetic procedures. This experience has provided Dr. Ling a unique perspective, recognizing that cosmetic medicine involves not only science and technique, but also an artist’s eye — a rare but essential combination.