It’s that time of year, girlfriends. When, before we even think about burying our pedicured toes in the sand, we conduct our excruciatingly honest, head-to-toe body triage. Prepare yourself for the annual unveiling.
What surprises await as we bravely step in front of a full-length mirror bathed in the glow of a 75-watt bulb? Pasty skin that needs to be toned, tightened and resurfaced? Garden-variety blemishes, cellulite and spider veins? Or—horrors!—unwelcome hair skulking in our canyons and valleys? Welcome to the month of June.
Savvy chicks already have their go-to providers for regular body work. But for beginning-of-swimsuit-season emergencies, a serious plan must be hatched. The magical evolution from busy wife, mom, professional, community volunteer, all-around do-everything-for-everybody-but-myself woman to beach-ready diva is about to commence.
The good news is that area health and beauty experts offer a bevvy of innovative treatments to help us make the smooth and sexy transformation from winter to WOW.
1. Best face forward
Step one is to care for the face, neck and decolletage since those areas are first noticed and most exposed to the ravaging effects of sunlight. You know the drill: apply moisturizer and SPF-30 sunscreen liberally before you head out in the morning and, if you plan to spend time outdoors, reapply a shotglass-full of sun protection every two hours.
Next, banish fine facial lines with injectable dermal fillers such as Restylane and Juvederm; rid yourself of deep marionette wrinkles and regain the “apples” in your cheeks with thicker injectables like Radiesse and Juvederm Ultra Plus; and relieve forehead furrows and crow’s feet with a little Botox for a refreshed, relaxed new you. These and other fast and simple procedures, many of which can be done during your lunch hour, are available through Reflections Center for Skin & Body in Livingston and Martinsville (732-356-1666; reflectionscenter.com).
Reflections medical director, Dr. Mitchell Chasin, reports that patients enjoy the instant gratification of experiencing these and other innovative, FDA-approved services.
“The first thing I ask a woman is ‘What bothers you most when you look in the mirror?’” says Chasin. “Their responses are often surprising because what they dislike isn’t necessarily something that other people would immediately notice. Together, we discuss the possibilities and arrive at a customized plan.”
Chasin, who is steadily building a national reputation with regular television appearances on Today, the Doctors and Good Morning America, says that the state of the art has moved well beyond dermal fillers and Botox and is expanding to other areas. For example, to stimulate a healthy glow and promote skin regeneration, Reflections uses Fraxil, a resurfacing laser treatment that optimizes patented, microscopic laser columns to target and penetrate surface as well as deeper layers of skin.
“Fraxil is amazing technology that helps improve tone and texture, reduce fine lines, erase brown spots, improve the appearance of scars, treat pre-cancerous lesions and generally lessen the effects of everyday sun, pollution, stress and fatigue,” says Chasin. “Patients really like it because results are immediate and, over the subsequent three to six months, additional improvement will be noticeable as the deeper layers of skin continue to create new skin-plumping collagen.”
2. HITTING BELOW THE BELT
Recently, on an episode of Today, Chasin described new Ultherapy technology that
helps restore elasticity to brow, cheek, jowl, neck and chest areas with a one-time office visit.
“Ultherapy is a non-invasive procedure that uses safe ultrasound technology to tighten the innermost structures of the skin, leaving the treated area lifted and looking more youthful,” he says.
Some women start shying away from shorts and swimwear in their 40s and 50s when the knees begin to droop as skin from the thighs loses elasticity and acquiesces to gravity. Chasin says help is coming next year, when the FDA is expected to approve the Ultherapy skin-tightening technique for thighs and tummies.
If you can’t wait that long because, despite a healthy diet and regular exercise, loose skin is plaguing your upper legs or abdomen, several popular, non-invasive body contouring therapies are making headlines, says Chasin. “Our patients are very excited about the results they can achieve with our Liposonix treatment that involves high-intensity ultrasound energy—with no incisions, anesthesia or downtime. It’s brand new, and we’re the first in the state to introduce it.”
Other innovative treatments include CoolSculpting, a body-contouring procedure that uses an advanced cooling technology to reduce fat, and Thermage, considered by Chasin to be the gold standard to ameliorate cellulite in thighs and buttocks. To banish nasties such as unsightly spider veins and unwanted hair, Reflections also specializes in laser therapy that can be performed in as little as 15 to 30 minutes.
“This is an amazing time to work in our field because safe and effective technology is continually evolving and improving,” Chasin says.
Whether you try something simple such as basic dermal fillers or opt for more sophisticated resurfacing, contouring or laser procedures, experts agree that, by doing a little tweaking once or twice a year as part of a planned regimen, overall results will be far superior to waiting until everything is sagging from head to toe and then trying to play catch up.
Chasin says, “Gravity is best fought every six months. It’s like owning a home and making regular updates and repairs. It will require less time and less money if you don’t try to undertake everything in one fell swoop.”
3. LET YOUR HAIR DOWN
For gorgeous, healthy tresses, one of the best things you can do for your hair is to infuse it with keratin. If the only hairstyle you can muster during humid months is a dandelion-do, consider the magic of a keratin treatment.
“Our clients love it, especially in humid months when they want to jump out of the shower and touch up their hair quickly and easily,” says Miriam Liberman, director of the Eforea Spa at the Hilton in Short Hills (973-379-0100).
While U.S. salons now offer various keratin treatments such as the Brazilian blowout and Japanese straightening, Eforea Spa specializes only in the patented Coppola keratin technique, regarded by many as the crème de la crème because only the Coppola formula is made in the U.S. and contains very little formaldehyde, an essential ingredient in any keratin formula.
“There is a misconception that keratin changes the character of your hair,” says Eva Simon, one of Eforea’s certified Coppola stylists. “If you have curly hair, it will remain curly even with keratin. You will still be able to wash, dry and style it, or let it go natural. The main benefit of keratin is that it dramatically protects against frizz, and enables you to dry your hair much faster.”
During the three-hour keratin process, Coppola solution is combed through freshly shampooed hair and remains in place while the hair is blown dry, and then flat ironed in small sections.
Coppola clients leave the salon with perfectly straight hair that must remain dry and flat for the first 72 hours. Then the hair can be washed and styled as usual, or allowed to dry naturally for a fun summer look. Imagine being able to enjoy a week at the beach without feeling the need to hide under a scarf or beach hat!
One caveat—to prolong the benefits of keratin for at least three months, avoid chlorine and salt. That means no pools, ocean water or shampooing with water that has been treated with sulfates or salt-based water softener.
“Teens, moms and grandmothers are trying keratin, loving it and eagerly booking their next appointments,” says Liberman. “It’s definitely addicting.”
4. FINISHING TOUCHES
a skin and body analysis at Bellezza Si Esthetica in Morristown (973-540-0764; bellezzasi.com). Relax and dream of your summer getaway plans as owner and master esthetician Caterina Castaldo prepares a custom-tailored skin-care regimen or formulates an individualized bodywork plan that nurtures your soul.
After being couped up indoors all winter, consider a therapeutic facial treatment to exfoliate dead skin cells and deeply cleanse skin and pores. Castaldo will incorporate elements of hydration, lymphatic drainage and relaxation techniques and then will apply a luxurious, professional-quality moisturizer that she imports exclusively from Italy.
Remove superfluous hair with Bellezza Si Esthetica’s gentle body and facial waxing with organic Italian fruit- and vegetable-based depilatory wax imported from Sicily. Then indulge in state-of-the-art permanent makeup application, brow waxing and contouring, followed by eyelash extensions that are individually applied to real lashes. This quick and easy technique means glamorous, water-resistant lashes for about one to three months—perfect for a beach babe on the go!
When you hit the sand looking and feeling your best, you’ll be confident enough to leave the house without makeup, let your locks dry in the sunshine and stroll the beach in a bikini, sans cover-up. And everyone will wonder how you manage to exude such natural style and grace.