Do You Look Your Age?

Southern Seasons Magazine

It's said that we are as young as we feel, though our appearance doesn't always represent our inner sense of age.

Due to the advancements in health care, life expectancy has steadily increased, with many living well into their 90s in relatively good health.

Customized esthetic treatments coupled with solid goals, and self-discipline can contribute to a rewarding and meaningful "extended life."

A 60th birthday can mark the beginning of "old age," or it can be viewed as the beginning of life's second half. One of the growing number who can choose the latter perspective is former Bostonian Susan H. As part of her self-perscrived "Project Me," Susan planned a series of treatments to look younger.

THINK, PLAN, ACT

Susan's decision to update herself after her 60th birthday was not taken lightly. "I took an inventory of my life, reviewed my goals, determind how I would like to live this next segment and what steps I would need to take to make it happen," she says.

When Susan first sought my help with "Project Me," and we analyzed the aspects and goals of her aging face, a clear set of customized plans and goals emerged:

Susan and I agreed that the goal was a bright, attractive smile to evoke confidence, clear unfettered eyes to reflect inner beauty; smooth, supple skin to convey youth and vigor.

WHY ADVERTISE YOUR AGE

The smile is one of the most important components of the face, and should be the starting point for change. Computer imaging helped ensure that Susan and I were in agreement on the proposed changes.

Treatment began with periodontist-prosthoodontist Dr. David Garber, who performed cosmetic gum sculpting. I completed her smile makeover with bleaching, cosmetic contouring, all-ceramic crowns and a fixed bridge. "My dull, discolored, overfilled and misaligned teeth were transformed into bright, healthy-looking, better-functioning teeth."

As Susan learned, an attractive smile can remove years from one's appearance. By the end of the first stage of "Project Me," she was thrilled.

"I chose to start with my smile because I know how I react to others' teeth and the attractiveness or unattractiveness of their smiles. I knew I had started a process that would add priceless happiness and opportunity to my life."

NEXT STEPS

Susan began state two, facial treatment, with ophthalmologist Dr. Jesse Lester, who performed cataract removal surgery. Dr. Theresa Jarmurz, the Atlanta plastic surgeon who treated her, explains. "An attractive face for a woman involves a larger upper face, namely eyes and cheek bones, with a smaller lower face and jaw. As we age, fat redistributed and gravity cause our skin to sage and accumulate at the jaw line and neck. This leads to squaring of the jaw line and a heaviness to the lower face, which can be masculinizing for women." Susan's treatment plan called for a facelift, brow lift, facial fillers and Botox therapy.

Once the medical procedures are complete, the hard work of maintaining the "new you" begins. Susan explains, "I learned completely new methods of taking care of these changes, and then I also decided to lose weight. This last step I did on my own and eventually lost about 25 pounds." Susan's resolve to make "Project Me" a success drove her to design and maintain her own low-carb diet and to regularly practice yoga.

In addition to her preventative dental regimen, Susan is dedicated to a facial maintenance schedule. Dr. Jarmuz explains, "Some of the most well-maintained and naturally youthful-appearing patients are those who visit the office regularly for maintenance visits, staying head of the aging process." Susan is so committed to her new way of life that she is planning additional treatments.

WISE INVESTMENT

A well-planned approach to an esthetic makeover is not a frivolous self-indulgence. It is an investment in an enhanced quality of life that helps people enter their latter years with dignity and self-assurance, prepared to compete in a youth-oriented society and embrace life on their own terms.

"I cannot even estimate how many times people have commented on my beautiful smile or youthful appearance," concludes Susan. "People are amazed at my age and the fact that I am a grandmother. I feel more confident interacting with others and confronting new or uncomfortable situations. My appearance better matches how I feel inside. Quite simply, this is me!"