Blame Goop: Why "Rejuvenation" Is the Industry's Latest Buzzword

Hallie Gould
PHOTO:

Imaxtree

As I scroll through my email each morning, I notice two consistent trends: First, I have more emails than any human ever should, and second, my inbox is flooded with information about rejuvenation. I’ve seen subject lines about rejuvenating my skin, lips, hands, private parts, and even earlobes. Sure, the demand for these procedures isn’t new—we’ve all been dabbling in innovative ways to look our best for decades—but the clientele certainly has changed. And perhaps the fervour with which people seek them out. While most rejuvenating treatments are targeted toward the 30+ crowd, the younger set has taken an interest in recent years.

So while I sip my coffee and Insta-stalk celebrities before the sun comes up, I’ve also started pondering this newly developed cultural climate. One that brings younger people to the plastic surgeon’s office far sooner than ever before. Are we so heavily inundated with selfies, celebrities (we’re looking at you Gwyn), and fountain of youth–type products that it’s forcing us to re-evaluate our appearances, in some cases before we’re legally allowed to order a cocktail? And, while we’re all striving to remove judgement in favour of a more #DoYou attitude, is there really anything wrong with that? 

To answer all my burning questions and give some further insight on who’s getting these procedures and what they actually do, I reached out to a few of the country’s top doctors.

Dr. Norman Rowe, NYC-based cosmetic surgeon, explained, "Rejuvenation procedures are those whose functions are to reverse the effects of ageing and use. Their effect is to try and 'make like new again.'" The definition is interesting. Technically, when our body parts were new… we were babies. While I’m sure I was a cute kid, I’d take my 26-year-old face over the one at age zero any day. Just think of the amount of time I’d have to spend explaining why I looked like a newborn baby. All jokes aside, I was intrigued to find out more. Was there ever a time when he wanted to turn a patient down? Rowe asserted, “Generally when performed by a knowledgeable and competent medical professional on a patient with realistic expectations, the results are quite good.” This was the part of the conversation that one might call an aha moment for me. It’s all about realistic expectations. And perhaps the younger you are, the more difficult it is to keep those in check.

Rowe discussed the appeal of rejuvenation: “The people that come in are younger patients who want to get a jump on anti-ageing procedures and those who are not quite ready for surgical procedures. In the very young, obviously rejuvenation is not needed. However, that’s not to say that anti-ageing is not a necessary component on a young person’s regimen. This includes skincare and anti-ageing prevention techniques.”

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The treatments, because they’re not surgical, offer little to no downtime. Patients can walk in, get treated, and continue on with their day. Another aha moment. Millennials love instant gratification (myself included). We came of age during a time when Google could answer all of our questions, 24-7. We Snapchat our lives so our friends and families can see what we’re doing as we do it, no need for catch-up phone calls or long-form emails. Ubers come right to our doors rather than the nuisance of having to hail a taxi. The Internet moves at a mile a minute, and, as such, so do we. 

Dr. Jeremy Brauer, clinical assistant professor at NYU and director of clinical research at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York, weighed in on PicoSure for facial revitalisation. "With the continued improvement and understanding of technology and techniques in lasers, energy devices, and injectables, skin rejuvenation and revitalisation procedures have become exceedingly popular—for all aspects of the body. To tackle fine lines, sagging skin, and discolouration, we use lasers in combination with other energy devices (including radio frequency and ultrasound) as well as toxins, fillers, and topical agents in our practice." When I probed him about whether this could be potentially damaging to the psyche of a young person, he answered, “As physicians, it is our priority to first do no harm. My treatment recommendations are usually based on the concerns expressed to me by my patients. If you already have signs of ageing (sun spots, wrinkles, uneven skin tone), we will likely recommend a course of action, but ultimately the decision to pursue them is yours."

I spoke with Dr. John Paciuc, MD, FACOG of Mount Sinai Hospital who specialises in vaginal rejuvenation—a topic that has been in the media a lot recently. He breaks it down: "The MonaLisa Touch (MLT) is a laser that delivers energy to the vaginal tissue and stimulates the production of collagen, elastin, and new vascularisation. The procedure does not require any anesthesia and all my patients have said it is really painless." To me, it sounds like a facial for your vagina. The symptoms it treats are those that result from low oestrogen due to menopause whether natural, premature, surgical, or as a result of breast cancer adjuvant therapy.

This procedure’s rise in popularity can be looked at in two different ways: Are we mostly seeking out these treatments because we think our vaginas should look (and feel) a certain way to please our sexual partners? Or is the real trend a new culture of open, comfortable dialogue about vaginal and sexual health? Paciuc says, "We need to educate women who still think that their symptoms are a natural part of ageing and that nothing can or should be done about it. And breast cancer survivors don't need to be doubly punished. Educating all of our patients should be the first step in the trend or revolution, if you will. The Mona Lisa Touch will then just naturally follow in tandem."

It seems that with many of these procedures, women not only feel better about themselves mentally, but the physical change is present also. The problem is each issue is subjective. After much thought and research, it’s very possible that any one of these rejuvenating treatments can be a positive, confidence-boosting experience. But going into any elected medical procedure—downtime or not—shouldn’t ever be a hasty decision.

I looked to Dr. Gia Washington, PhD, a clinical psychologist at Texas Children’s Hospital and assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine, for her professional opinion. "Most adolescents are hyper-focused on what others think of them. Issues that might seem minor to adults are magnified to an adolescent based upon the perception that everyone notices their aesthetic issue,” Washington says. She adds, “Adolescents may not believe that the guidelines for recovery or treatment apply to them. They often perceive themselves as being impervious, invulnerable and invincible."

If you’re young and feel like performing preventative measures to improve your quality of life, I say go for it. But I don’t think it would be a bad idea to first contemplate where your insecurities stem from in the first place. Do you want lip injections because Kylie Jenner has lip injections? Perhaps you should wait. The rule of thumb seems to be that the professionals will give you their educated opinion, but the choice to proceed is up to the one in the paper gown. Choose wisely!

What are your thoughts on rejuvenation procedures? Would you ever try one?

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