Looking, feeling and being beautiful are goals any woman can reach, Dr. Oz says. In his book YOU: Being Beautiful: The Owner's Manual to Inner and Outer Beauty, Dr. Oz shares insight on why beauty has been an important part of human evolution. "Beauty is not some issue of vanity—beauty is hardwired into us," Dr. Oz says. "Our ancestors didn't have the access to blood tests and DNA profiles and MRI scans. They had to decide, in a quarter of the time, if you were a suitable mate for them—they looked for beauty. Beauty reflects health and, equally important, your ability to procreate."
Dr. Oz and co-author Dr. Arthur Perry talk about skincare, hair and plastic surgery, three topics featured in YOU: Being Beautiful, and about how each may help improve your looks, health and happiness.
Your skin is your largest organ—it weighs more than any other organ in the body. Dr. Perry explains two important layers of your skin:
Epidermis: This is the outer layer of skin, and it keeps toxins and water out of your body and acts as a barrier against the environment.
Dermis: This is the layer of skin under the epidermis. Dr. Perry says it is our "leather" and holds the structure of our skin together.
These are two common skin problems Dr. Perry says many people suffer that can be prevented:
Sensitive skin/eczema: Most people who suffer from sensitive skin are allergic to an ingredient in something they are putting on their body, Dr. Perry says. Fourteen percent of the population is allergic to fragrance and preservatives that can be found in soap, laundry detergent, shampoo, fingernail polish and many other products, he says. "Stop and take an inventory of what [you] are putting on [your] skin and try to reverse some of the allergens," Dr. Perry says.
Acne: "The combination of clogged pores, the oils in our skin and bacteria can cause acne," Dr. Perry says. Exfoliating will get rid of the dead layer of skin that can clog pores, and a simple soap, with no fragrance or preservatives, cleanses the skin, also helping to prevent acne, Dr. Perry says.
If you want to keep your skin, especially the skin on your face, as healthy and beautiful as possible, Dr. Perry says you should follow a daily skincare program with these four steps:
Use a simple soap: "Go to a soap that has almost nothing in it. One of my favorites is Kiss Your Face Soap. It has olive oil, water and salt—that's it, nothing else," Dr. Perry says.
Exfoliate: Getting rid of the dead layer of skin growing on your face will keep your skin looking good and healthy and decrease acne. "It can be done as simple as [washing with] a washcloth and soap; it doesn't have to be fancy," Dr. Perry says.
Use Vitamin A cream: Apply the cream in the evening, let it dry and wear it to bed, Dr. Perry says. "Vitamin A [also known as Retinol-A] is a wonderful drug," Dr. Perry says. "It is really the only thing that can reverse some of the signs of aging—other things kind of hold it at bay. It is a first-line drug for acne because it decreases oil production in the skin; it decreases that dead layer of cells on that the surface of the skin and it fades brown spots."
Sunscreen in the morning: If you are going to buy just one skincare product, make it a sunscreen, with at least an SPF 15, Dr. Perry says. "The number one determinate of our aging, other than our genes—and if you smoke, of course it is all out the window—is sun exposure." Dr. Perry says. "Ultraviolet light will prematurely age our skin." Also, make sure the sunscreen contains titanium or zinc oxide, because otherwise Dr. Perry says it will be absorbed into your skin, and that may be dangerous.
Removing Unwanted Hair
Some women have dark hair above the lip or under the chin that they wax, tweeze or thread every few weeks. While unwanted hair is a common complaint, if it becomes a thick beard that covers a woman's face, it could signal a serious condition such as polycystic ovary disease, and she should see an endocrinologist immediately, Dr. Perry says.
For those women who want to remove the hair permanently, Dr. Perry says laser hair removal is the best solution—but it may not work for people with very light hair or very dark skin. "The laser is just a tool, and it needs to see dark hair, and it does it best by looking at a contrast between the dark hair and light skin," he says. "If the hairs turn white, I can't get it with a laser, and that is when we go to electrolysis."
Depilatories physically dissolve hair, and while Dr. Perry says they work, they must be repeated frequently and are known irritants to many people's skin.
Popular Plastic Surgery
Plastic surgery is becoming more and more popular with people age 40 and above, and Dr. Perry, who is also the author of Straight Talk About Cosmetic Surgery, routinely performs more than a dozen different kinds of plastic surgeries. Here are some of the most common procedures Dr. Perry says people have to improve their appearance:
Liposuction: Instead of performing facelifts, Dr. Perry says he does liposuction on necks of people in their 40s so the skin retracts and the neck looks more youthful from the removal of fat.
Botox: This is commonly used around the eyes and forehead to smooth out wrinkles. "The art of good Botox is not to make you look like you have really been paralyzed, but reducing the wrinkles without making you look funny," Dr. Perry says. "The first time I do Botox on a patient, I like to see them two weeks later and I'll adjust the Botox, because everyone does react a little bit differently." Don't get Botox around your lips—it can cause drooling and a temporary speech impediment, Dr. Perry says.
Wrinkle fillers: Collagen is no longer routinely injected into patients because Dr. Perry says humans make antibodies against it and it has caused rheumatoid arthritis in people who have had a lot of collagen injections over the years. Hyaluronic acid, commonly known as Restylane, is the new choice wrinkle filler because the body doesn't make antibodies against it, Dr. Perry says. Restylane should never be injected around the eyes, because it can cause blindness, Dr. Perry says.
Peels: These treatments even out skin tone and improve the appearance of fine lines. Some peels, like trichloroacetic acid or the TCA peel, remove the upper layer of skin and pigment and can quickly remove dark freckles, brown spots and other skin discolorations, Dr. Perry says. It takes five to seven days for your skin to heal after the procedure, Dr. Perry says.
Tummy tuck: The fastest-growing plastic surgery procedure, especially among aging baby boomer women, is a tummy tuck, Dr. Perry says. "We remove the extra skin, tighten the muscle and you actually get a functional benefit from a tummy tuck, people stand up straighter," he says.
Eye work: "The first part of the face that shows aging is the eyes," Dr. Perry says. Removing the extra skin in the upper lids and the bags in the lower lids is becoming a common procedure for people as young as 40.
Age spot removal: Brown "age spots" on hands are a problem cosmetic surgeons are now routinely treating. "I do spot peels on those," he says. "Skin creams do work, and lasers also work, but [are] probably unnecessary."