In the aesthetics’ world, many nurses “stare a little too long”, and I too, can be guilty of this. I am not judging you by any means, it is just the hazard of my two decades long career and the nurse in me, that wants to help with everyone's beauty and skincare (whether you asked for it or not!)
What am I searching your face for? In the biz, we refer to it as the “global signs of aging” or “visible signs of aging.” I cannot see what is happening internally that results in aging. I cannot see your DNA or your genetics, but I can see the visible manifestations of that internal aging and those caused by the number one cause of aging - UV damage, and other culprits such as environmental pollution and lifestyle. Aging is a multifactorial, dynamic process and fortunately there are many modalities to address the process. Of course, there is NOTHING wrong with aging per se, I mean, we cannot live a long life without it. BUT there are those of us who want to look good for our age because it makes us feel good! Let me share with you what I look for when I do a patient assessment and educate you how to look at yourself with grace, set realistic expectations so that you engage in beauty steps that enhance your looks (not drastically change them) and thus, enhance your life. I am frustrated at the world where everyone is starting to look the same, individual features that are beautiful and unique to an individual are blurred and changed because there is a standard of beauty that has been declared. I see beauty in everyone - there is something or many things that are beautiful in everyone who walks through my office doors, friends, or family I see, or in strangers I meet on the street. And even though I love what I do in my office, all the procedures and treatments that make up my medical aesthetics career, the one thing you will hear me say over and over again, is this: work on your skin quality. Make your skin healthy, and you will be delighted by the outcome. They say the eyes are the window to your soul and the skin is the reflection of your health. I could not agree more - but I am getting ahead of myself. SO, what do we look for?
I was asked the other day; how do I know I am aging well? That is a loaded question and one that is not easy to answer. Comparing ourselves to others is a recipe for disaster made much easier to do with our love/hate relationship with social media. We cannot compare ourselves to others because we don’t have the same life story. We should take notice of how we look, how we feel and how we choose to age. Gracefully letting it just happen or gracefully fighting it with every means possible. Both are good and it’s up to you. My mom does nothing, I do everything. Both are simply fine. The thing that makes me sad is I have received texts saying: “Help me I’m ugly!” Trying to be funny? Probably. Desperate cry for help? Maybe. I blame it on our culture where youth is everything and getting old, or at least LOOKING old, is undesirable to lots of people. We get down on ourselves and criticize how we look. Don’t get me wrong; it is HARD to get older but the alternative is death so we need a fundamental change in our brains that will allow us to accept what’s happening. We should do what we can to improve it to the extent we want to and go out there and live our best lives. That is my goal anyway and something I need to remind myself to do every day.
We age on the inside and we age from the outside too. There is not much we can do about our genetics, the traits of our parents and grandparents, are what they are. We can, however, minimize the external forces contributing to aging and try to treat, correct, support, or reverse some of the visible signs of aging, if we choose to do so (I do not want anyone to feel they must do anything at all other than wear daily sunscreen to reduce skin cancer). I will focus on the manifestations of aging from my perspective. As an aesthetic nurse. I will focus on the things I look for in my daily practice with each one of my patients. I am known for standing at the foot of the exam table and carefully looking at everyone from all angles, as the patient often laughs and squirms in their seat hating the scrutiny but loving how earnest, I am too. Patients also look directly at me too, especially when I’m up close, and personal to them, so it goes both ways. It makes us giggle because I look so serious, this is just beauty after all we ask, right? Well, it is serious business to me- it's my job!
Focusing on the face, aging depletes the major substances in our skin, thinning and narrowing of our boney structures, flattening and descent of our youthful fat pads and weakening and loss of support from our muscles and ligaments. Skin quality, sagging, bagging, eye socket hollowing, decreased muscle tone can all be signs of normal aging. Even though our skin is just one piece of the aging face puzzle, I will focus on this for the blog today.