German supermodel Heidi Klum once said that she was proud of her developing age lines and that she wasn’t planning to get a nip-tuck. Sigourney Weaver also confirmed that she is getting more attractive with wrinkles… We’re happy they feel good, but there is such a thing as aging gracefully. Noticed how all Hollywood stars look 10-20 years less than their age? Look at Madonna! To help you achieve the seemingly unattainable goal, BK gives you the latest secrets on staying young and beautiful, from economical simple eating habits to heavy-duty, turn-back-the-clock treatments. We give you a breakdown by generations—20s, 30s and 40s. Simply skip straight to your section or read the whole story and sulk about what you could have done.
Just as you wave goodbye to adolescent acne and say hi to glowing, radiant skin, you need to realize you are about to be attacked by the evil effects of time. In our 20s, the speed of skin cell regeneration drops by up to 28 percent, meaning your dead skin cells won’t shed as easily and when they do, they won’t be reborn as fast as when you were in your tweens. But good news is that time is still on your side. Take action now and you’ll save yourself from wrinkles to come.
You Are What You Eat
Thidakarn Ratanabanangkoon, a dermatologist at Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital, suggests you start simple—with your food, for example. Lamenting the rise of rice’s price? How timely! “Believe it or not, vegetables like potatoes, cabbage and carrots are good sources of carbohydrates—much better than what you find in rice and white bread,” says Dr. Thidakarn. “So it’s better to cut down on rice and add more greens to your anti-aging regimen.”
Though white bread is a big no-no, you should make white meat your new best friend. “Chicken and fish have less fat than red meat,” explains doctor Thidakarn. “Though that chunk of beef or pork you are having may appear lean, they actually contain hidden fat that you can’t see with your bare eyes.” Also, keep fats to a minimum by opting for healthy cooking methods like steaming, baking and grilling rather than deep-frying.
Just as saving for a brand new Ford Focus or your mom’s retirement pays off if you start early, so does calcium storage. Women, particularly in our non-dairy part of the world, tend to be afflicted by osteoporosis, a disease that causes the bones to become fragile and easily break. “Don’t dismiss it as an elderly concern,” warns Dr. Thidakarn. “To build and maintain healthy strong bones, you need to treat them to adequate calcium and you need to start at an early age.” But no, you don’t need to pop calcium supplements yet. Milk or soymilk will do just fine.
Free radicals are villains that wreak havoc on your skin. These reactive elements roam around with an unpaired electron and they will attack the nearest healthy molecule to steal its electron—the action which contributes to aging. Environmental factors like pollution and penetrating UV rays also spawn free radicals, so don’t forget to put on your Tom Ford shades and use sunscreen on a daily basis. “If you regularly stay in the office, choose one with SPF 25-30, but the outdoorsy type should opt for SPF 50,” recommends doctor Thidakarn. Also because of free radicals, nothing takes years off your appearance faster than smoking and drinking, so do it in moderation or quit them now, if you want to keep your good looks longer.
Sweat It Out
Plan (and stick to) your exercise regimen. Working out not only helps you get rid of a wide waistline, but also strengthens your bones, relieves stress and keeps your hormones balanced.
Life in the Fast Lane
Shortcuts for 20-something
What: Traditional Chinese acupuncture helps relieve aches and pains. It also claims to help you lose weight and quit smoking—the nemesis of a healthy skin.
The good: Soft, non-invasive and chemical-free.
The bad: Don’t get your hopes too high thinking that one acupuncture session will help you achieve the whole package mentioned above. To cure each condition, a doctor has to target different selected acupuncture points. Ultimately, it’s also up to you whether you are going to ditch the cigarette or not.
Who has it: An acupuncture treatment at S Medical Spa (2/2 Bhakdi Bldg., Wireless Rd., 02-253-1010, www.smedspa.com) sets you back at B1,600, or opt for a B15,000 package for 12 visits.
What: A treatment of cellulite and stretch marks that works by injecting carbon dioxide gas beneath your skin’s surface.
The good: This is a quick, non-surgical treatment, meaning you don’t need to be put under anesthesia. After a 20-minute session, you can walk out of a hospital and straight back to work.
The bad: It takes at least three sessions for you to see the difference and overall between 15-20 treatments to eliminate the unwanted cellulite. After the whole process, you must continue to watch your diet and exercise regularly or else cellulite is going to come back to haunt you much quicker.
Who has it: Apex Profound Beauty (3/F, The Emporium, Sukhumvit Soi 24, 02-664-8613, www.apexprofoundbeauty.com) offers a B25,000 package for 12 sessions. Bangkok Hospital (2 Soi Soonvijai 7, Petchburi Rd., 02-310-3000, www.bangkokhospital.com) also has the carboxy therapy with prices starting at B3,000/session.
Fat Loss Challenge
What: An eight-week weight management program designed to burn your fat.
The good: The most effective and affordable way to shed unwanted fat for good. As little as B386 a day, the program includes everything from a supermarket tour to a fitness session (three times a week) and an individualized exercise plan for you to practice at home.
The bad: While other treatments allow you to just lazily lie down and let the docs do their jobs, this one requires you to get off a couch and keep your butt moving. Motivation is mandatory.
Who has it: Fitcorp Asia (75/34 Ocean Tower 2, Sukhumvit Soi 19, 02-661-7900, www.fitcorpasia.com).
By the time you reach your 30s, we are sorry to report, there will be a real slowdown in skin cell turnover. And while the growth hormone, which plays an important part in your immune system, brain power and stamina, decreases, the aging process increases. So be prepared to celebrate the appearance of your first fine wrinkle. But hey, if Carrie and her posse managed to look fabulous in their third decade of life, you sure can too!
Expression lines, crow’s feet and uneven skin tone—you can thank three decades of sun and pollution exposure for this. At this stage of life, a skin care regimen should already be a part of your daily routine. To keep your skin supple and firm and delay new lines from appearing, you should start slathering on some age-busting products with antioxidant ingredients (see Shopping to Stay Young). Melasma, brownish blemishes usually found on the nose and upper cheek, is another threat to the 30-year-olds, especially in women. “Melasma is difficult to treat, so it’s better to prevent rather than trying to cure,” says Dr. Thidakarn. Sun protection is a must. Choose sun block with a ‘broad-spectrum’ label, which can protect you from both wrinkle-causing UV-A and burning UV-B. “You should also avoid the sunlight during 10am-3pm,” adds the dermatologist.
Curb Your Cravings
Calorie restriction is a key element in an anti-aging diet. “When you reach your 30s, your metabolism slows down and you tend to get fat more easily. Do not indulge yourself like you did before,” says Dr. Thidakarn. The Okinawa diet, which is low in calories and high in nutrients, is a good option. “According to various research, Okinawa’s locals consume 20 percent less calories than the dietary intake of an average person,” explains the doctor. “That’s why they have lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.” The bottom line: Reduce your caloric intake and you’ll look and feel younger.
V is for Vitamins
You eat a lot, you are bloated. You watch your diet, you don’t get enough nutrients your body needs. So what to do? According to Dr. Thidakarn, 30-somethings should consider incorporating vitamin supplements into their diet plan. “Say, you need 500mg of vitamin C per day, that means you need to eat at least 20 oranges. But then you would be eating so much sugar that it could lead to obesity and diabetes,” explains the doctor. “If you are looking for dietary supplements, I would recommend all-around vitamins first. Then it’s up to each person’s nutritional needs,” says Shidapa Pongwaranon, a Boots pharmacist. “Always be informed of the formulations you are taking. Especially those with medical conditions or pregnant women.”
Shape Your Shape
Beer bellies are not only a big turn-off, but also a sign of ailment. “In your 30s, you’ve got to pay more attention to your figure. Accumulating fat around your waistline is associated with many diseases, from high blood pressure to diabetes and clotted veins,” explains Dr. Thidakarn. While you should exercise religiously, if you are in your late 30s, you should avoid high-impact sports such as squash, boxing and basketball that will take their toll on your knees when you are older.
Don’t wait to be sick to start worrying about your health. It doesn’t hurt to be preventive. Make your annual appointment with a doctor for a comprehensive body checkup. Many hospitals have various packages to offer. Bumrungrad Hospital (33 Sukhumvit Soi 3, 02-667-1555, www.bumrungrad.com) has an extensive checkup, including a whole abdomen ultrasound, chest x-ray, tumor markers, etc. at B11,500. Bangkok Christian Hospital (124 Silom Rd., 02-235-1000/-7, www.bkkchristianhosp.th.com) provides a medical checkup for those under 35 at B1,360, covering chest x-ray, glucose and cholesterol test, blood count and kidney and liver function tests.
Before It's Too Late
Shortcuts for 30-somethings
What: A favorite wrinkle-busting prescription among middle-aged Hollywood stars and our local hiso ladies. Inject this into the frown lines between your eyebrows or your forehead and voila, a brand new face.
The good: Quick and painless, it takes only five minutes and you are good to go.
The bad: While the treatment itself is not time-consuming, botox is costly (B5,000-6,000 per area). If the doc misses his target, you can also end up with a droopy eyelid for six months. Effects last for only 4-6 months and you’ll have to get another shot or else you will get busted.
Who has it: There is a long list of botox clinics on www.botoxthailand.com (how popular!). Check it out and choose the one near you. Good luck!
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
What: An application of IPL onto the surface of your skin to rid you of dark speckled areas.
The good: It is a capable way to get a brighter and spotless face.
The bad: After the IPL procedure, your skin might be slightly pink and swollen. You have to avoid the sun or else all the work will go down the drain.
Who has it: Seek advice from a dermatologist at Samitivej Hospital (133 Thonglor Soi 13, 02-711-8700, 02-711-8181, www.samitivej.co.th), where an IPL treatment is B7,900.
What: A surgical treatment in which a doctor inserts a tube into your stomach, thighs, buttocks, you name it, to suck out the fat.
The good: It is an answer for the overweight who have tried every possible diet and exercise strategy.
The bad: Not everyone is a good candidate for liposuction. “If you have diabetes, heart problems or you easily develop keroids, don’t even consider liposuction,” cautions Dr. Chartchai Rattanamahattana, a plastic and cosmetic surgeon at Samitivej Hospital. “You need two weeks to recover and have to exercise religiously or else you will get fat even faster.” In older people whose tissue is not as firm and elastic, other surgery like a tummy tuck is required, too.
Who has it: At Samitivej Hospital (Thonglor Soi 13, 02-711-8700, 02-711-8181, www.samitivej.co.th), liposuction costs B80,000 per area, while Yanhee Hospital (454 Charansanitwong Soi 90, 02-879-0300, www.yanhee.co.th) offers it at B28,000 per area.
What: A non-surgical treatment using a radiofrequency technology to tighten skin and promote the growth of collagen.
The good: An alternative for patients over 35 who aren’t ready for a facelift, yet. It also requires a short recovery period.
The bad: After the procedure, you have to wait four months to see the result, which lasts for only two years. “The frequency used for thermage delivers the heat deep into your skin, so you better seek out a legitimate doctor trained to perform the treatment,” warns Dr. Thidakarn.
Who has it: Both Thaniya Medical Center (Thaniya Plaza Bldg., Soi Thaniya, 02-231-2100) and Bangkok Hospital (2 Soi Soonvijai 7, Petchburi Rd., 02-310-3000, www.bangkokhospital.com) offer thermage with prices ranging from B45,000-100,000.
You have established a stable career path. Some of you might be married with two kids. But while your life (and the numbers of candles on your birthday cake) is on an upward trend, your body goes in the opposite direction—your hormone levels plummet, skin becomes flaccid and your beautiful locks are turning gray. While you can’t stop those aging signs, you can make them less visible. Give your body the care it deserves and middle age can be your prime years.
Most women go through menopause in their late 40s. A decline in estrogen, which plays an important role in women’s psychical and mental health, leads to mood swings and triggers a wave of syndromes from high cholesterol levels to heart disease. And if you haven’t adopted healthy eating habits, before you know it, you can’t squeeze into your pants anymore. And though they might not want to admit it, men, too, undergo this midlife crisis. Lower levels of testosterone contribute to the so-called andropause. “If you feel that your husband is turning into a grumpy old man, that’s a sign of his menopause,” laughs Dr. Thidakarn. “Men are luckier than women, though, because their condition is gradual.”
Hormone supplements can help to a certain level, but you should take them under close supervision of a doctor. “Everything has both benefits and risks,” cautions the dermatologist. “In the U.S., some researchers try to reverse the patient’s age by injecting them with growth hormone, but the method isn’t available in Thailand yet. After all, anti-aging is all about prevention, not reversal.”
Give your joints a break and switch to super low-impact sports like tai chi and golf. “Exercise is important in every stage of life. In your 40s, you should opt for low-impact, flexibility-boosting options like golf, yoga and tai chi,” recommends Dr. Thidakarn.
Submit to a Knife?
You can’t stand what you see in a mirror, and even the most expensive turning-back-the-clock cream can’t help. What’s next? Surgery can be the answer to what you’re looking for. “Think long and hard before you decide to go for a nip tuck,” advises Chartchai Rattanamahattana, a certified plastic and cosmetic surgeon at Samitivej Sukhumvit “Don’t overreact to your wrinkles and jump into a facelift. It’s a waste of money! Do your research. Visit as many surgeons as you can and choose the most trustworthy. Remember to ask about the side effects and the drawbacks of the surgical treatment as well.”
Turn Back the Clock
Shortcuts for 40-somethings
CyroStem Cell Facial Treatment
What: Full of antioxidants and vitamins, stem cells extracted from young, pregnant cows are added to your skin to stimulate the production of collagen and bring about a naturally glowing look.
The good: This skin regeneration treatment is said to deliver an immediate transformation. No surgery and invasive laser required.
The bad: Your animal rights activist friends might not approve.
Who has it: TRIA (998 Rimklongsamsen Rd., Bangkapi, 02-660-2602, www.triaintegrativewellness.com) at B6,500.
What: As the name suggests, this heavy-duty surgery lifts your face, pulling back all the creases and lines.
The good: For those who have deep wrinkles, a facelift is considered the best option. “It is a one-off investment as the result will last up to eight years,” says Dr. Chartchai, who performs facelifts for seven patients a month.
The bad: It costs a hefty sum of money and requires a long recovery period. This is surgery!
Who has it: Get a facelift at Samitivej Hospital (133 Thonglor Soi 13, 02-711-8700, 02-711-8181, www.samitivej.co.th) at B110,000. A facelift at Bangkok Hospital (2 Soi Soonvijai 7, Petchburi Rd., 02-310-3000, www.bangkokhospital.com) sets you back B120,000, including a night stay at a hospital.
What: A holistic program that integrates physical and emotional anti-aging approaches to keep you at your optimal age.
The good: The program is comprehensive as it covers standard medical tests such as optimal blood tests, nutritional measurement and bone density, as well as counseling sessions to help you age gracefully.
The bad: If you are looking for a quick fix, this one is not for you. And it’s B48,200, which can get you four Botox injections.
Who has it: TRIA (998 Rimklongsamsen Rd., Bangkapi, 02-660-2602, www.triaintegrativewellness.com).
What: A three-month, age-busting program targeted at those who are prone to use hormones.
The good: The comprehensive procedure will introduce you to a body composition analysis, lab tests and weekly anti-aging exercise programs. You can also choose additional treatments from the list of colon therapy, chelation (helps remove heavy metals like lead and mercury from your blood) and hyperthemie (improves blood circulation and nutrients absorption).
The bad: B90,000 price tag (exclusive of medicine and supplements) and results that are not immediately visible.
Who has it: The Bodhi (20/F, Asoke Bldg., 02-260-4894, www.thebodhi.com).