The Beauty of Balance
By Chelsea Campbell
We all want to look our best, and sometimes that means making cosmetic changes to keep a youthful look. Other times, we can inadvertently end up doing too much in the name of beauty and cosmetic work has the opposite effect - it can make our faces look too puffy, frozen, disproportionate, or worse yet, it can make us not look like us.
Knowing which prejuvenation measures to use is a delicate balance, and it takes a skilled professional to guide us in the right direction. Dr. Doris Day, a renowned dermatologist in New York City, fills us in about how Botox and fillers can actually distract from our natural beauty when used the wrong way.
Get the Right Recipe
Dr. Day explains that sometimes patients come into their dermatologist and ask for a particular procedure, but they often don't know what treatments they need. "Patients come in asking for prevention, even though they don't need it yet. They think that they should get a treatment like Botox, even though they don't have any lines or excessive facial movement, because they don't want to get old," says Dr. Day. "They may just need sunscreen and a healthier diet. They want to have a recipe, so they count on their dermatologist or their plastic surgeon to give them that advice."
Refreshingly, Dr. Day isn't afraid to say "no" when she thinks that a patient is requesting a procedure that they really don't need. She explains that her job is to talk about all the other non-invasive methods that could aid in better long-term skin health rather than a quick fix that doesn't transform the skin from the inside out. For starters, she will have her patients first try retinoic acids, peptides, and sunscreens. "In the end, nothing looks more beautiful in your 50s than some protection in your 20s. Simple measures that help protect your skin are good."
Don't Go Too Far Too Soon
More than anything, Dr. Day stresses that a patient should always try to look like the best version of themselves, with realistic goals. Many patients and doctors will think that there is little harm in starting Botox at a young age, but Dr. Day warns that doctors have the power to change the patient's perspective of themselves. "And that will dictate the next thing they do," she says, "and that can change them. Their perception of themselves is so different that they'll never know what they really look like, or how they could age looking like themselves. They're going to look completely different, and they'll never be happy."
If you were to take a poll about what makes people look old, no doubt most responses would include "wrinkles". But Dr. Day disagrees. "I don't think that lines and wrinkles make people look old. Uneven skin tone can make you look old, but the lines and wrinkles can be quite beautiful."
She goes on to say, "It's really about proportions, the upper-middle and lower third of the face, the left and right side of the face. All of those things have balance. There's a lot that we look at as aesthetic physicians to help understand what that balance is for that patient. And sometimes people do have an asymmetric smile that will go up more on one side. I mean, Elvis had that and we loved him for it! So having something that isn't quite like everybody else doesn't have to be corrected, sometimes it can be celebrated."
Beauty is Confidence
Dr. Day isn't what people think of when they think of a typical dermatologist. "The first thing I do when my patient comes in is I give them a mirror, and I asked them, 'What do you love about how you look?' because I need them to see their beauty. Otherwise, I'm only going to take them from more flawed to less flawed." She continues," In reality, that's not what I want them to do. I want them to feel beautiful even before I do anything. This way, I can celebrate and enhance the beauty that they have, but not try to change it. Beauty is more than an injection or a laser. Beauty is confidence."