Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Get rid of wrinkles without surgery

If you're thinking about getting a facelift, but aren't quite ready for the full surgery, there are alternatives.

The latest and greatest product is called Artefill, which is a combination of cow collagen and tiny plastic microspheres.

About a year ago, Dr. Mark Hamilton of Hamilton Facial Plastic Surgery spoke with 24-Hour News 8 about the product.

"I really insist that they do the temporary filler first," said Dr. Hamilton.

Along with Dr. Hamilton, News 8 also checked with another plastic surgeon on Artefill. He was skeptical and wouldn't recommend it.  

But now one year later Dr. Hamilton is pointing to the latest five year study on the wrinkle filler and he said the news is even better. The microspheres, used to puff up the wrinkles are smoother, more regular. And less prone to cause a reaction.

"This is the version used in the U.S. And you can see they are much more uniform in shape and a lack of particles," said Dr. Hamilton.

These little spheres are injected under the skin. Older versions of Artefill were more irregular and you could find tiny particles in it. There was more of a chance of a reaction.

But Dr. Hamilton said his patients haven't had any problems and have been happy with their results.

But there's always the more radical technique, a face and neck lift.

Unlike a face lift, Artefill is done in a matter of minutes and is much less invasive. And Dr. Hamilton believes it's safe.

"It's really showing a great track record, still a good safety profile, when you compare it to the temporary fillers. I think it holds up very well. And the product is still there five years later, which confirms what we expected that it's a long term if not permanent change," said Dr. Hamilton.

Artefill has been used around the world for the past 20 years. But the product is made by different companies. Dr. Hamilton said the American product is the best.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Beauty products

I'm not afraid to admit I'm as susceptible to beauty mistakes as the next person — or that there have been some pretty comical ones. At school, for example, a DIY home hair-mask recipe caused me inadvertantly to scramble an egg on my head (I didn't get the importance of rinsing with lukewarm water).

A couple of vigorous washes was all it took to correct, but had I had to live for weeks instead of hours with the sulphurous smell it left behind, I would really have rued the day I experimented with my beauty routine. And that is where more durable treatments can fall down. Regular readers may remember me writing about the Daniel Hersheson permanent blow-dry treatment a couple of months back. At the time, the thought of being able to wash and (immediately) wear my usually wavy/frizzy hair without having to smooth out various sections with the hairdryer convinced me to give it a whirl. For the first couple of weeks I was glad I had. I could merrily skip out of the shower, dress and move straight onto make-up without any tiresome blow-drying. My hair didn't exactly look blow-dried in that swingy way it should, but it was definitely less unruly.

I feel it only right, however, to give an update now that it has had a chance to settle. The fact is that, while the treatment contains conditioning clays, there's no denying the fact that it is a chemical process and, hence, not especially good for the hair. The frizz is still somewhat tamed, but my hair is now also permanently lank and unable to last more than a day without feeling coated in a tacky residue. I'm not alone in my disappointment. A colleague tried it and found that the only effect it had on her hair was to exacerbate her frizz, and some hairdressers I have consulted have seen clients who have tried the procedure and been similarly disappointed.

On the plus side, I've discovered some great reconditioning products — a dose of Kérastase Forcintense (£24; 0800 316 4400) after each wash and Real Base Conditioning Haircare Mist (£17; really help infuse moisture back in. And, as with a bad cut, it is only a matter of time before it grows out. Plus, the human guinea pig aspect of this job does require me to take the rough with the smooth — so hopefully you don't have to.

Lust of the week

YSL's new Rouge Volupté is a statement lipstick if ever there was one. The decadent gold casing gives it a jewel-like quality, and the handy mirror on the lid is proof that this is meant to be applied in public. The substance within this stylish outerwear? A luscious,glossy formula whose colours don't lose any of their clout for coming in a high-shine finish.

Aïcha Fofana wins beauty contest in Togo

APA-Lomé (Togo) Aicha Pamela FOFANA was on Saturday night crowned Togo's nicest girl in 2008 during a beauty contest held at the Conference centre of Lome.

This 18-year old girl, Aisha, is in her second year of business communication studies and measures 1.71m tall and 58kg.

She emerged the prettiest among 21 competitors. The 21-year old Sena Alovor, 1.7m and 56kg, came second and 22-year old Ablavi Randolph, 1.68m and 57kg, took the third position in the contest.

"I believed in my features; but there came a time when I was discouraged. I rallied confidence when I realised that my contenders started quivering, Aicha said after dedicated her victory to here mother who died three months ago.

Before she won the Miss crown, Aisha endured like all the other competitors, various events such as the gait, the plastic beauty, the traditional parade, and this year's interview on women leadership.

As soon as she was elected, Pamela embarked on development projects, exploiting her image to mobilise the support of the population. The Miss did not however reveal her area for action.

"I will discuss with the committee to select the topic which matches with our country's current issues", Aicha said.

Initiated in 1994 by the Committee Miss Togo, the beauty contest has become a real cultural and social pageant. Togo's bronze Olympics medallist, Benjamin Boukpeti, also attended that 14th edition.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Unleash your legs with our definitive six-week guide to the perfect pins

Warm weather and summer fashion make us want to bare our legs but do we dare? Anne McElvoy tests the hot new exercise machine on a quest to make hers look 10 years younger.

Really, I don't ask for much: just legs 10 years younger than I am. I divulge this fantasy to one sensible colleague and an academic friend, both of whom are apt to dismiss trivial aspirations as unworthy of educated females. "Ooh, yes," they chorus.

Women whose minds are supposed to be on higher things share secret fantasies of improved legs. also, the no-tights season now extends from May to September, even without the annual beach challenge, so something should be done.

"Power plates and some vein zapping," says a leggy adviser. "anything else will take you months." I don't have months. So it is off to Beauty Works West, the spa where lissom W11 dwellers come and go, lissomer by the day. A full leg consultation is ordered and, oh dear: are they really mine? I blame the babies.

Next door in Bodyworks West, head trainer Rebecca has her tape measure in hand and emails me a long explanation of how "vibration training" works.

"When a muscle is under tension and placed on a vibrating platform the tiny movements stimulate another proprioceptor called the Golgi tendon organ. It will react to protect the muscle by causing it to relax further, thus allowing a greater stretch." If you say so.


First up is Dr Sister, blue-vein and stretch-mark zapper to anyone who is anyone. "Don't you need your veins?" asked a (male) colleague (duh). Well, no actually, not the tiny blotchy ones that arrive on your 40th birthday and multiply like little mini-maps of Balkan states. The good French doctor armed with his miracle machines shouts "Kapow" when he hits a target.

It feels like having hot needles inserted under the skin for 10 to 15 minutes. "What does 'buggeration' mean?" enquiries Dr Sister. I choose Polish Patti for the red vein treatment, which is marginally less painful.

On to the Power Plate. It judders up and down at high speed, and then I run through all those squats and lunges under Rebecca's eagle eye. I hadn't realised that abdominal strength is so important to building up better muscle tone in the legs.

I have to "zip" my abdominals tight, control my breathing and "pin your tummy button to your spine", which is about as comfortable as it sounds. After each session, my legs feel pleasantly tight but without all the panting and sweating of a treadmill session.

Power plate

Power Plate: Favoured by the likes of Madonna the Plate has a vibrating platform that accelerates the effects of muscle training


Results! An inspection with a female friend (men don't really care) shows a small amount of new defined muscle down the outside leg and around the knee. I am halfway to being Gwyneth  -  just not quite as sleek.

In the second half of each session, we do a stint on the Cardio Wave (a smoother version of the step machine) and the swish pulleys and levers of the Kinesis circuit.

An exercise ball now and then adds extra excitement. It feels like blessed relief after being jiggled on the Power Plate.

Then I lie down and Rebecca does all the work, stretching out calves and hip muscles so that they get elongated.

Have invested in proper Sweaty Betty kit and proper shoes. This is going well.


Disaster. Thrice weekly sessions are killing my out-of-work life. I have to drive across London at weekends to fit in training and the novelty of standing on a shuddering machine is wearing off. And now my lower back is niggling (an existing weakness that pops up when I take to serious exercise).

Bodyworks introduces Mark, a nice antipodean physio whom I will see while training (the combination of a gym and physio is the most useful innovation in sporting london). We discuss the depilation question as I have a holiday looming.

Apparently there's a state-of-the-art laser hair removal which works wonders for dark hair. I am fair and use this as an excuse to avoid more lasers and opt for ye olde waxing. After what I've been through, a bit of mild hair-ripping feels quite pleasant.

Exercise ball

Having a ball: Stretching supplements the hi-tech Plate workout

WEEK 4/5

Holiday. Rebecca sends texts telling me to do 50 sets of thigh-enhancing clams and squats every two days. I obey in week one and my friends make the right noises about good legs for the beach. Then I let it all go again and the slump is instant - heavy limbs and a general feeling of slovenliness.


Back on the chain gang. The veins are looking better and a dark area behind the knee is gone. Now I alternate between perky Rebecca - still enjoining me to "squeeze" and "zip" up my innards - and the physio, who is becoming a regular fixture.

Muscle definition is definitely better though - specially down the outside leg and (a bonus) around the midriff and bottom. I fret that I might end up with "cyclist's calves". So we add a round of extra stretches. Apparently half an hour of this a day is optimal. Have trouble putting up with it for five minutes.


Mission accomplished. Rebecca enthuses that my legs are "more toned, tight and stable". The improved gluts and abdominals are a definite plus. I would use Power Plates as part of a fitness regime, but with some gentler elements thrown in for variety.

Now realise that unless you are Marlene Dietrich, you can spend most of your free time maintaining your legs. Oddly, no leading modelling agency has yet been on the phone.

Are You Developing Wrinkles Due to Stress?

Stress is something that we all have to deal with, but too much of it can have dire effects on you. One way in which stress leaves its mark on us is in the form of wrinkles. They aren't only caused by getting older or the skin drying out. Stress takes a very big toll on your overall health, both physically and mentally. If you are developing wrinkles it is time to really take a close look at what you can do to reduce your stress level.

Some of us just handle daily stressors more than others. It can be simple things such as getting your work done or being stuck in traffic. Others have serious relationship concerns, financial strains, or a number of other things going on that are stressful. It is a very destructive thing that can completely destroy every aspect of your life if you let it. Your body will change too as toxins build up and your skin looks older.

As a person ages their hormones will change as well. Cortisol is a hormone that can result in weight gain as well as your skin aging. This is because the way in which your body is able to handle Cortisol changes as you get older. The hormone can remain in your body for very long periods of time when you get older. In the past it may have come and gone in very little time at all. This is also a core reason why adults get acne when they are stressed out.

While we do need to control the stress in our lives, it is virtually impossible to eliminate all of it. There are other things you can do though to stop those wrinkles from forming. Learn various breathing techniques that allow you to reach all the day down into your diaphragm and then to exhale. This will calm you down faster than you might believe. Practice such breathing techniques anywhere you go to reduce stress as it occurs.

Avoid large amounts of caffeine especially from coffee. This can cause your insulin levels to rise and more Cortisol to be produced. You should replace coffee with green tea because it is full of antioxidants that will help your skin fight the aging process. Make sure you drink plenty of water each day too. This way you can cleanse out toxins and you can stay well hydrated. Pay attention to how much sleep you get each night as well. The quality of your sleep is just as important as the amount of it though.

So there you go.

Do your very best to conquer stress and you will also keep wrinkles at bay. There are many wonderful anti-aging products out there too that you can use to help you. They will not only get rid of current wrinkles but prevent others from appearing. Take good care of your skin and it will show. You will have delightful looking skin that is healthy and vibrant at any age.

Want the best wrinkle cream products that work? Then see these latest real life reviews by Stacey Williams of the anti aging creams including the Athena 7 minute lift serum for looking years younger and that gives results, including the best rated cellulite cream and cellulite treatment that works.