City Magazine July 2007

Ask the expert

Beauty’s only skin deep…

What’s the best way to maintain a youthful appearance? Dr Waseem Saeed could have the answer…

Make me younger? That’s so last century. No today, it’s keep me younger and you’re demanding it – with a vengeance. The cosmetic surgical and beauty industries are falling over themselves to keep up with your increased knowledge, longevity and expectations. And the good news is they’re on a collision course that’s eventually going to put me out of business.

In the old days it was easy; baggy eyes – eyelid lift, face on the floor – facelift, saggy breasts – you get the picture. Now it’s more like ‘doc, it’s starting to go a bit… how can I get it back without resorting to major surgery?’ And the creams, well how we surgeons have laughed; how can you spend so much on trendy potions and lotions that obviously don’t work – and then quibble over the price of a facelift?

We’re not laughing now. No, we’re reading carefully, because non-surgical rejuvenation just got scientific. The tricky bit, of course, is knowing what might work – and I say might because it’s still early days and all too often things prove to be complete fad, fashion and frankly someone having a laugh all the way to the bank.

Keep me young I’m 18.

Adhere to the basics: Hydrate, eat healthily and please go to sleep now and then – ideally for eight hours a day. Use factor 50 in the sun (you will still get a tan) and factor 15 in winter. Do I really need to tell you to stop smoking and drink sensibly?

Keep me young, I’m 25.

You have a few lines under the eyes, your frown lines stick around a bit longer than your frown and your skin is starting to lose its spring. Do the basics – these are no longer optional. Then fix your collagen with specialist vitamin C cream (not just any preparation) and supervised bursts of Retin-A treatment. If you’ve smoked, an Obagi Blue Peel will get rid of that grey look. If any of your lines don’t vanish when you relax your face, it’s time for a filler; Restylane with a bit of Botox will get you out of the frowning habit.

I’m 45+ and /or I’ve shamefully disrespected my skin all my life.

We need to talk. We’ve moved from preservation to restoration and this requires careful planning – usually a quick fix won’t do it or won’t last, but the good news is that you are salvageable. One last thing, whatever your age – get a professional opinion. You only get one face – at least for the moment…

Help, I’m 35!

Don’t go into denial! Your face is getting on a bit even if you aren’t. Don’t bury your head in the sand – go to war. What you have done in the last 15 years will determine the extent of the damage. If you got seriously lucky on the gene front, the best thing you can do is carry on with the 25 year formula.

However, if you are anything like most, you are probably finding that your brow is starting to hang a little, crows feet ‘give your face a bit of character’, your cheeks are jowling ever so slightly and those nose-to-mouth folds are casting a deeper shadow. Perhaps your skin is a little blotchy and it’s losing its firm texture, particularly in the eyelids and your upper lip may well be starting to thin.

Solution? First, step up the action on all fronts mentioned above. Then, the clever use of Botox will lift that brow and soften lines. This can be combined  with a small amount of not-goldfish- style filler to the lips as well as fixed lines and that cheek fold. What filler depends on a number of factors, but a good rule is make sure your filler and surgeon have a good track record. Try a short-acting filler like Restylane to begin. Restylane Sub Q and  Sculptra last longer and can be used once you know what you want. If your eyelids are still out of sync, you’ll need to consider an eyelid lift; value for time, effort and money – it’s hard to beat. After this, it’s a peel programme that addresses both blotchy pigmentation and texture. Finally, this is the time when those minimal facelifts actually can make a difference with a low downtime.