Dr. McClung’s Approach to Cosmetic Dermatology
October 20, 2014 | By Amy McClung, MD
In the world we live in now, we are constantly bombarded with ideas and images of what is considered beautiful in our society. From Photoshopped magazine models to Hollywood actors in the public eye to our social media “selfie” nation, we often constantly compare images and likely make judgements (consciously or subconsciously) on what is considered “beautiful.”
We have all heard the expression, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” While this is certainly true, wouldn’t it be nice if we could all train our own eyes to look in the mirror and appreciate our own beauty, inside and out, and not be so critical?
One thing that can certainly affect our perception of our own personal beauty is aging. We ALL age. It’s inevitable. This can certainly make looking in the mirror and see changes we might not always love difficult. The anti-aging skin products popping up everywhere make it evident that we are in a society that wants to fight against the inevitable, for better or for worse.
As we age, facial volume loss averages about 1 teaspoon per year after the age of 40. When we take a look at the anatomy of the face, several things happen as we get older which contribute to an aging appearance. The deep structures of the face begin to change, we have bone resorption, and we lose fat in certain areas while gaining it in others. In addition, we lose collagen and skin elasticity with aging and the texture of our skin begins to change. Just as a piece of fruit ages, changes occur in two areas: texture and volume.
As a dermatologist, I believe in aging gracefully. This can be done with a natural approach, accepting changes as they come and appreciating the beauty inside and out, as cheesy as that sounds. With cosmetic dermatology, there are certainly ways we can help address both texture and volume changes, including sun protection, product recommendation, peels, lasers, and neuromodulators, such as Botox and fillers. For me, I think the best cosmetic work is subtle and makes changes that are not necessarily shockingly obvious. I would rather a patient have a complement of, “You look so much more refreshed now” rather than, “Wow! You got some work done.”
When I see a patient for a cosmetic consultation, I like to address the issues that are most important to that individual. From pore size, fine lines, frown lines, facial sagging, and blood vessels to unwanted hair, I like to understand what the patient is seeing through his or her own eyes. Using a mirror is often helpful to have the patient show me what it is that is bothersome or what they would like to change. That way, we can work on an approach together to figure out what products or procedures are recommended. It may be something as simple as a prescription retinoid and sunscreen, a prescription for Latisse for eyelashes, or consideration of procedures such as botox, filler and peels. We then discuss a plan designed to both fit within the patient’s budget and accomplish what he or she would like to in the short-term and long-term, cosmetically.
“The goal of aesthetic medicine is not necessarily to be beautiful, but to feel beautiful. People who feel beautiful have better posture — they stand taller. They are more extroverted and likable. People who feel beautiful look beautiful. They smile more,” which elevates their mood through biofeedback.
I would love to help you feel beautiful, to stand taller, and smile more!