This is one of those moments when I really feel bad for you, dear reader. You see, for whatever reason, the editorial direction of this magazine doesn’t allow for you to see how absolutely fabulous I look at this very moment via a giant, glossy, full-page headshot. Time and time again I’ve asked, but to no avail. Too bad for you, because for this month’s column I’ve investigated the latest in beauty trends—and at this particular moment in time, I have the epidermis of a newborn.
Remember, despite the fact that babies’ bottoms produce all manner of noxious by-products (it’s true), they continue to be the gold standard whereupon all quality skin is judged. And most of us will do whatever it takes to return our skin to a place where bystanders would think it necessary to wrap our heads in diapers.
It turns out that as we age, our skin gradually loses most of the things that are necessary for it to look good—collagen, elasticity, a sense of humor, etc.—and we slowly slide our way from excellent eggplant to awful avocado. Luckily we’ve found a few things that help turn back the hands, feet and wrinkled décolletage of time. (And no, we haven’t included the latest dimmer switch from Home Depot.)
Truly Healthy Skin
Yes, there are thousands of products out there designed to make our skin look flawless—from foundations and concealers to sunscreens and serums. But guess what? A lot of these things have ingredients that are really bad for us. We’re talking industrial chemicals, like carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins and hormone disrupters, just to name a few. “Better living through chemistry has been the single most dangerous marketing campaign that we have ever had,” says local entrepreneur Julie Koester, who has a new skin care line of healthy options called Moxie Skin. “We have since been conditioned to ignore the chemicals present in everything.”
A Ph.D. candidate in public health, Koester is obsessed with clean eating and regularly talks about the lack of governmental oversight in the beauty care industry. She decided to research the healthiest beauty treatments and wasn’t surprised to learn that some of the best skin products come from nature. “If we look to nature to collaborate with our own miraculous system called the human body, we can do amazing things without poisoning ourselves in the process,” Koester says. “Not coincidentally, most of the ingredients that are extremely good for your skin in the most universal sense, meaning it’s good for the rest of you, too, are mostly powerhouse foods that are found in most kitchens.” We’re talking honey, nut oils, salts, aloe vera, coconut oil, etc. Cleaners, moisturizers and serums are notorious in the industry for being loaded with garbage. But Moxie Skin’s versions use purely natural ingredients that deliver the same (or better) results as the top-end industry leaders, without the dangerous chemical additives. For example, its cleanser features watermelon, aloe vera, carrots and chamomile. The face serum utilizes tea, olives and oats. And the moisturizer includes grapes, almonds, kiwi and avocadoes. Their only downside? People may want to lick you. moxiecreed.com
Facts and Figures
Looking good is more than just having a pretty face. If you’re struggling with a few problem areas where perhaps you’re saddled by a few extra pounds, there is a new procedure that recently became the first FDA-cleared laser treatment for noninvasive breakdown of fats and lipids for the flanks and abdomen: SculpSure. “It’s the hottest thing for body right now,” says Tehjan Prendiville, owner of Assuage Spa in both Fort Myers and Naples, Southwest Florida’s first location to get the laser. “It has a lot of flexibility in where you can use it.”
Though the FDA approved it only for the abdomen and flanks, it works just as well on arms, the backs of thighs and even backs, where women sometimes get a little extra fluffiness highlighted by their bra straps. (Not you, your back looks marvelous.) It’s even great for men’s love handles. The process takes approximately 25 minutes and can reduce up to 24 percent of fat in one treatment. Of course, because the fat cells are flushed out through the lymphatic system, it takes about six weeks to see final results. Even so, people can expect noticeable differences. cynosure.com, assuagecenters.com
“Old-school ingredients are coming back into play—enzymes from fruits, turmeric, papaya, etc.,” says Jennifer Licciardi, director of Stillwater Spa, located in the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa in Bonita Springs. “There’s a return to the enlightenment in regard to integrity of ingredients.” For example, Licciardi touts the rise in popularity of Himalayan Superfruit Enzyme Polish from Epicuren. “It has both an enzymatic component like a Pacman that eats away at the dead skin layer, to create very even, pliable skin, and it has a manual component with the seeds, stems and skin. You put it on your skin and let it sit for 5 minutes, then you manually exfoliate with the seeds and skin and stem.” The polish features a puree of pomegranate, goji, bilberry, blueberry, cranberry, acai and noni. It probably even tastes great on an English muffin.
Licciardi, a licensed massage therapist and esthetician, also recommends Hydropeptide’s Solar Defense, which is a broad spectrum SPF 30 lightweight anti-aging day cream that not only blocks 97 percent of UV rays, but also hydrates and features a smart tint that automatically adjusts to your skin tone for better coverage. epicuren.com, hydropeptide.com
Let’s face it, topical lotions and serums can only do so much to help us undo the damage we’ve caused by having the gall to grow older. Sometimes you need a little subdermal manipulation added to the mix. And what seems to be getting the highest grades right now is micro-needling. What’s that, you ask? That’s when you roll a roller of tiny needles back and forth across your face, puncturing the skin in an effort to create controlled injury that triggers healing.
Though rudimentary versions exist for do-it-yourselfers, the latest and best versions are in doctors’ offices. Dr. Stanley Gulin’s office in Naples offers the treatment that stimulates collagen and elastin production. Needles vibrate as they penetrate, helping therapeutic serums penetrate deeper into the epidermis to improve results. Unlike laser resurfacing treatments, micro-needling has almost no downtime post-treatment, meaning you typically can get back to the office the next day. The procedure evens skin pigmentation; reduces scars caused by acne, surgery or burns; reduces fine lines and deep wrinkles; tightens skin; and even fades stretch marks. drgulin.com
Reach out to these folks and ask for the Full Korb. They won’t know what that means, but I promise you will look years younger and feel better than you have in ages. And that, dear readers, will have you smiling like a baby.