The Realities of Cosmetic Wonders
Consumers today are barraged with constant reminders of the benefit of youthful appearance and longevity. Whether we're reading our favorite magazine or watching our favorite television program, we are regaled with advertisements that promise a more youthful appearance and increased stamina and endurance through the use of cosmetics, plastic surgery, and wonder drugs. Determining the truths behind many antiaging cosmetics claims as well as antiaging trends in cosmetic and plastic surgery today will be explored in this article.

Antiaging Trends
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (, the amount of money consumers spend on plastic or cosmetic surgical procedures and techniques exceeds $30 billion a year. From Botox injections to tummy tuck procedures to dermabrasion and laser skin resurfacing techniques, Americans are spending millions of dollars a year to look younger. This trend does not only include women. According to the same study by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the number of men requesting Botox injections and laser skin resurfacing procedures has increased by nearly 200%.

The growing affordability of cosmetic procedures performed around the United States is encouraging more consumers to rely on quick fixes than ever before. 21st-century consumers are flocking to plastic surgery offices to repair the destruction caused by extreme overexposure to the sun, the results of obesity, and general poor nutrition.

Plastic surgery and cosmetic surgical procedures used to be limited to the over 50-year-old set, but today, young adults in their 20s and 30s are hoarding savings accounts in order to enjoy the services of plastic surgeons to get "a nip here and a tuck there".

However, consumers are not always aware of the limitations of plastic or cosmetic surgeries when it comes to providing antiaging benefits. The old saying, "beauty is only skin deep" is very true. While a person may enhance their looks and erase some of the signs of aging on the surface as a result of plastic surgery or cosmetic surgical procedures, these procedures do nothing for the health and vitality of internal organs.

Facelifts will not stop the aging process. Traditionally, a facelift will last about ten years, perhaps less depending on age, the quality of the skin, exposure to sun, and even smoking and lifestyle habits.

Liposuction procedures may literally suck the fat from hips, bellies, thighs, buttocks, abdomens and arms of many individuals, but fails to address the need for proper exercise and nutrition to maintain overall health and vigor.

In addition to costing consumers millions of dollars, these 'quick fix' techniques and trends do nothing to encourage healthy lifestyles, adequate and balanced nutrition or exercise in those utilizing the services. More often than not these days, those undergoing extreme surgical facelifts and procedures often end up with unsatisfactory results. Even worse, in a matter of years, they are right back where they started or worse.

Wonder Drugs
The advancement and popularity of noninvasive cosmetic procedures that help to give the skin a more youthful appearance has become extremely popular in the early years of the 21st century. These techniques utilize pulse light and laser light devices and offer alternatives to invasive surgical procedures. The growing trend is improvement without the need to undergo drastic traditional "knife-cutting" procedures.

A study conducted by Gallup and Allergan, manufacturers of Botox, supports the belief that a growing trend for such noninvasive procedures and fillers that last longer and cost less are growing increasingly popular. And why now, when these drugs are being touted as "miracle drugs"? The increasing public demand for Botox injections is becoming as common as going to get a manicure or pedicure for many of societies younger generations.

Such procedures are even becoming commonplace in many medical spas around the country. The increase in the variety and the availability of such antiaging skin care maintenance is adding to the popularity of noninvasive skin tightening treatments, and such drugs as Botox and Restylane are becoming commonplace in doctor's offices and spas. The claims of "lifting" sagging skin, filling in wrinkles, and firming jaw lines nevertheless fails to produce permanent and long-term results.

Antiaging Cosmetics - Fact or Fiction?
Consumers today are quick to flock to the nearest pharmacy when new products and antiaging are announced in magazines and on television. However, the common consumer is often unaware of the ingredients that may or may not help to prevent signs of aging on the skin.

Medical studies reaffirm that signs of aging first become noticeable when we are in our 20s. While the rate at which we age may be genetic to a certain degree, individual lifestyle habits also play an important role in how fast or slow a particular individual will start to show signs of cell degeneration. For example, a person who avoids excessive overexposure to sunlight, such as sunbathing, will naturally have more youthful looking skin than someone who spends five hours a day baking in the sunshine.

In addition, other factors such as smoking, drinking, and nutrition play an important part in the health and appearance of youthful looking skin. Some people have more elasticity in their skin than others. Lines, "age spots", and wrinkles are one of the effects of growing older, though preventing them early in life relies on the use of sunscreens.

Despite the popularity of plastic and cosmetic surgical procedures and techniques to offering a more youthful appearance, plastic surgeons, scientists, doctors and dermatologists all agree that nutritional ingredients such as vitamins and minerals significantly help to reverse the signs of aging as well as to slow down the aging process in many individuals.

The best cosmetics that actually perform as antiaging products should include at least some of the following ingredients:

Vitamin A (retinol)

Vitamin C

Vitamin E

Alpha hydroxy acids

Glycolic acid

Vitamin A helps to rebuild collagen fiber within the skin. It is also an excellent exfoliant that helps to rid the skin of dead skin cells and encourage new skin cell regrowth. Vitamin A, also commonly known as retinol , is one of the main ingredients necessary to minimize the appearance of fine wrinkles and lines. Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid . It stabilizes collagen, is excellent for healing wounds, and is one of the best anti-oxidants that a person can find. Vitamin C has the ability to heal sun-damaged skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Vitamin E is also an antioxidant that improves moisture on the surface of the skin, which is essential for smoothness and softness. Alpha hydroxy acids improve skin texture tone and help cleanse pores and smooth surface wrinkles and fine lines. Glycolic acid triggers cells to create collagen, which helps to plump up cells in the skin that helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles on the surface of the skin.

Any antiaging product sold in pharmacies that does not contain retinol or retinol derivatives is not going to produce the same results as one that does. Unfortunately, many consumers are unaware of the vital importance of many basic vitamins, minerals, and acids that are essential for youthful looking skin.

While there is certainly a wealth of products and services out there that help to encourage a more youthful looking appearance, these cosmetic procedures often do nothing to enhance the health and function of the internal organs. While this is not to say that individuals should avoid such products or services, we would encourage consumers to do their homework when it comes to considering cosmetic or plastic surgical procedures as well as the reasons for seeking them. Those undergoing cosmetic surgery to reduce fat reduction or antiaging benefits should be advised that a lifestyle change will be necessary in order to maintain the benefits of such procedures.

Engaging in regular exercise, following a proper diet, and taking care of the skin are some of the best ways in which every individual may slow down the aging process and maintain a more youthful appearance well into his or her senior years.
Want to learn more? Take an online course in Anti Aging Techniques.
Healthy Balances
It's not always easy for us to maintain healthy balances in life. Between school, work and family obligations and responsibilities, many of us neglect our own physical, emotional, and mental health on a daily basis. Finding ways to balance our environments for optimal health benefits is essential to meeting our body's physical needs, and the demands of our emotional needs. This section will explore ways in which each and every one of us can maintain healthy weight and mental acuity as well as emotional stability despite the demands of our everyday work and home environments.

Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Due to today's fast food mentality and hectic work and school obligations, an entire generation has fallen short when it comes to maintaining optimal physical fitness and balance between weight, nutrition, and eating issues. Studies have shown that added weight takes years off our lives and creates a multitude of medical problems that may develop into hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and bone and joint conditions that are a direct result of obesity.

Learning how to adequately balance our daily lifestyle to incorporate healthy eating, physical fitness, and emotional well-being is not always easy, but they can be achieved with a little bit of extra diligence and determination. Doing so helps to increase not only quality of life, but also length of life. Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best ways a person may help extend his or her life by many years.

We are not going to get into an extremely involved discussion of anatomy and physiology in this section, but students should be familiar with terms and processes to determine ideal weight as well as body mass and ratios between fat and muscle.

Depending on hereditary, genetics, and height, body mass will determine what should be healthy weight maintenance goal ranges. Generally, a healthy body mass index rating of between 20 and 25 is considered ideal, while those higher are considered to be at a higher general risk for medical problems and diseases.

Obesity is a growing problem in the United States, one that over millions of adults suffer from today. Recent studies show that nearly 60 million Americans are overweight and another 25% of the United States population is obese. Before you think that's not so bad, remember that those statistics don't include children or teenagers.

Extra weight may cause cumulative effects on the body that cause a multitude of illnesses and diseases including but not limited to:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Arthritis
  • Strokes

Obesity has been linked to the development of many cancers, including but not limited to breast cancer, and cancers of the colon, esophagus, and kidneys. A staggering 42% of individuals diagnosed with colon or breast cancers are considered obese and 30% of surgeries involving the gallbladders are a direct result of obesity.

To put in perspective, think about it this way. Nearly thirty illnesses and diseases are directly linked or associated with being overweight. The American Medical Association has determined that obesity is now the leading, though preventable, cause of death in the United States, second only to smoking.

However, through diligence and determination, nearly every individual is able to lose weight, either by him or herself or through the help of support groups, and for the very obese, through medical procedures that shrink the stomach.

How Do You Assess Your Fitness Level?
There are several different methods that an individual can use to help determine his or her fitness level. These may include but are not limited to, history of exercise, height and current weight, body composition, flexibility, strength and endurance, blood pressure at rest, as well as resting heart rate.

In addition, to maintain optimal health, individuals should cut down or refrain entirely from smoking, which also leads to a multitude of medical conditions and diseases that may shorten life spans.

Now, take a look at your belly. Is it flat or round? The most dangerous form of fat, and one that leads to most health concerns is called "belly fat", or visceral fat , the fat that accumulates around organs in the abdomen, which are directly linked to more health-related issues. The type of fat that are found in the thighs and buttocks is more commonly known as subcutaneous fat . While it's an obnoxious presence for many, it's generally not life-threatening like visceral fat may be.

The average ideal waist measurement for women is 35 inches or less. For men, it's 40 inches or less. The most commonly used and accurate instrument to determine and measure body fat is called a caliper . By taking measurements on the back of the arm, or triceps, the abdomen and upper thigh, the caliper pinches and measures the amount of subcutaneous body fat found at these points on the body and is used in a formula that calculates overall body fat. Keep in mind that because humans do this test, there may be a 3 to 5% discrepancy in measurements due to human error.

There are several other methods used to determine overall body fat, though most are expensive, including:

  • Hydrostatic (underwater) weighing
  • Bod Pods
  • Bioelectrical Impedance
  • Dual x-ray absorptiometry

Maintaining Healthy Balances
In order to create optimal balances when it comes to weight control, individuals should combine aerobic training with strength training and flexibility training. Of course, everyone has different likes and dislikes, so finding just the right exercises or activities to engage not only your physical well-being, but your emotional and mental well-being are just as important.

Find sports, exercises or activities that motivate you as well as meet your health needs. Determine how much money you want to spend on your exercise routines and whether you have alternative resources. Finding the time to take care of your physical needs is not always easy, but scheduling an exercise routine around work or home obligations will provide benefits not only in your physical well-being, but also in your emotional state and your mental acuity.

Maintaining a healthy weight means eating healthy. That doesn't mean that you can never have another piece of chocolate cake or strawberry ice cream with all the goodies added to it. It just means maintaining good nutrition and daily exercise on a day-by-day basis and making better choices when it comes to food.

Weight control isn't the only way in which individuals may help to lengthen their lifespan. While nutritionally balanced diets high in grains, vitamins and minerals will help feed your muscle cells and give you energy, there is one important organ in your body that can't be ignored when it comes to maintaining a healthy balance, and that's your brain.
Use It or Lose It - The Importance of Brainpower
Many individuals mistakenly believe that when you reach a certain age, your brain cells start dying. This isn't true. While cell regeneration may slow down, the brain cells that you do have don't rot and die, no matter how old you get. However, studies have also shown that individuals who make a constant effort to keep brain activity high live longer than those who don't. Keeping the mind stimulated will also help to create a strong emotional balance, but the untold benefits seem to be leading toward longevity.

The brain has the capacity to continue learning well into the 70s, 80s, and 90s. While it may take a little longer, a 90-year-old is just as capable of learning new information as a 20-year-old.

Keeping the brain young helps to prevent age-related memory loss often associated with aging. Exercising the mind means keeping it stimulated through a variety of activities such as learning to play a new musical instrument, studying a new language or subject, engaging in board games as well as crossword puzzles and other activities that stimulate the thinking process. Studies have also shown that individuals who socialize with family and friends are more active, both physically and mentally, than those who don't.

Regular exercise improves blood flow to every cell in the human body, and those include the cells that make up the brain. A mere 45 minutes of exercise three times a week has been shown to reduce the number of age-related issues in cognitive abilities in those over 50 years old.

The saying, "you can't teach an old dog new tricks," is not at all true when it comes to stimulating older minds. On the contrary, the saying, "use it or lose it," is quite true.

Exercising both the physical body and the mind has been shown to increase longevity as well as quality of life for all age groups. The best thing is, is that it's never too late to start. Individuals who are in their 40s, 50s or 60s who have never exercised before have been able to retain and even increase lean body mass, muscle strength, and cardiac endurance. By maintaining healthy balances between weight control, exercise and mental stimulation, individuals may add years to their lives as well as to improve the quality of those years well beyond his or her wildest imaginations.
While many of us know and understand the benefits of exercise, proper nutrition, and mental stimulation, we always find excuses not to take the time for ourselves.