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Turning Back the Clock

Ahh, the beauty of youth...and the struggles to maintain it.

How often have you stood in front of the mirror and noticed a new wrinkle or vein that wasn't there a week or two ago? Grumbled through another birthday? Vowed to get back the hair, skin or body that you were blessed with as a teenager or covet on television models? If it's more often than you care to admit, you are probably not alone.

As medical care improves and Americans increasingly live longer and feel younger, we want our looks to follow suit. As a result, we spend time and effort seeking ways to stave off the effects of growing older. But what really works? Are there any "miracle" lotions or cures? What about more permanent steps to looking younger?

We all inevitably age, but some people do so faster than others. Dr. Robert Young, a plastic surgeon affiliated with St. Luke's Hospital, offers some insight on aging and a few suggestions on what to start doing now to help turn back the clock.

  1. Bronze Obsession
    Dr. Young reports that harmful exposure to the sun and artificial tanning beds can dramatically increase the aging of your skin. Unfortunately, he says that 70-80% of the average American's lifetime exposure to the sun occurs before age 21. While we might have been irresponsible in our youth, it is still not a reason to continue. Skin ages by cumulative lifetime exposure so even if you have a history of sun worshipping, protecting yourself now will help you in the future. Dr. Young recommends limiting exposure to the sun and always wearing sun protection.
  2. Lighting Up
    Smoking is one of the top four indicators of premature aging-producing, among other evidence, the signature wrinkles around the mouth. Aging is just one of the many harmful effects of this unhealthy habit. For help in quitting, attend a St. Luke's smoking cessation class to quit smoking happily. Call 314-542-4848 for more information.
  3. Yo Yo Dieting
    The more you gain and lose weight, the more you play havoc with your body. Dr. Young reports that excessive fluctuation in weight can stretch your skin, leaving your face and other areas sagging. Exercise and eat right to maintain a consistent and healthy weight.
  4. Realize It's in the Genes
    "You can't beat good parents," says Dr.Young, "The best thing that will determine your aging process is your genes." Realizing that aging is largely a result of genetics can help you deal with this sometimes-emotional evolution. Although it's lucky if you have these youth-like genes, what if you don't?
St. Luke's Hospital is answering this question in "Turning Back the Clock"-a program conducted by St. Luke's affiliated dermatologists and plastic surgeons who will answer questions and provide information on the full gamut of treatment options so you can decide what is best for you. Topics covered include skin care, suggestions of the most beneficial topical treatments or lotions, laser treatments, injectibles (such as Botox, collagen, etc) and plastic surgery.