Getting to real reason OptimalU exists: I care about how your skin ages

I am often asked how I became so passionate about skin care and aging. So I thought I would outline the information I gathered before I even thought of opening my practice as well as educate you a bit on one of the anti-aging technologies I embrace. Research into anti-aging skin care at one point became a huge focus for me, so I encourage you to read on.

First of all, you may not realize the largest organ of your body is your skin. We tend to take for granted that which holds everything in is just there — keeping our organs from falling out or being exposed. Skin can be one of the most neglected organs, not considered a part of overall health maintenance as we age.  Yet skin can speak volumes about us to others as well as to what we see in the mirror.  Our skin often reveals our age as well as provides clues to our overall health status. It’s almost instantly evident when I see a new client if they have experienced too much sun exposure, became challenged with acne scarring, possesses unbalanced hormones, or simply has not looked after this gigantic body organ. Sadly, even patients as young as their 30s and 40s have come in to my office with wrinkles and skin discoloration — early signs of aging.  

My practice and aging skin …

The beginning signs of aging skin are subtle at first.  Wrinkles start to show mostly with expression lines around the eyes and forehead.  Then these wrinkles become static wrinkles in the skin.  Skin color becomes dull. Pores enlarge. And loss of collagen promotes skin laxity.  At first this seems like a cosmetic inconvenience.  However, aging skin also means a decrease in skin cell turnover and in some individuals this will lead to skin cancer.  This is one of the reasons skin cancer rises dramatically in individuals over the age of 50.   Well into midlife skin cell turnover significantly declines.  So slowing the aging process is not simply a cosmetic issue — it’s a real health concern. Studying this aspect of skin health is what got me the most interested in opening my med spa. As many of you know, I will perform procedures on my patients if — and only if — I believe that procedure will aid in the appearance of aging as the years progress. That means I often turn down those who come to me for purely cosmetic reasons if I see their request as something that will not serve their skin in the long run. There are plenty of practitioners out there who are happy to accommodate them and have different philosophies from my own.

The research behind what I do…

In the past, patients were told to stay healthy by eating a good diet, stop smoking, watch the  alcohol intake, get sleep, and actively manage stress — activities that result in youth maintenance on the inside. These habits promote healthy DNA in all cells of the body.  Unfortunately, there were few options to rejuvenate the skin and reverse the aging process going on on the outside.  In 2000, a Stanford professor Dr. Anne Chang was studying the genes responsible for aging.  She researched why skin grows old and discovered that more than 2000 genes were responsible for the overall aging process of the skin.  Another Stanford professor, Dr. Patrick Bitter Jr., was inventing a device for cosmetic improvements of the skin.  The FDA had had already approved the device for treating redness such as rosacea and abnormal skin pigment or age spots.  This  broad band light device, called BBL, was successfully shown to brighten and tighten the skin on the face.  However in the early 2000s, Dr. Bitter had yet to discover why the device produced such great skin results. 

After attending a medical lecture given by Dr. Chang, Dr. Bitter suggested a collaboration with her.  That collaboration resulted in the a medical study from the Stanford University indicating the BBL device made by Sciton® restored the activity levels of about 1,300 of the 2,300 age-related and damaged genes of older women’s skin.  This study was a break-through moment, with the medical community saying, “Gene Expression of aged skin more closely resemble young skin with the use of Sciton Broad Band Light treatment.”  Other studies from Stanford have been published and validate this claim.  DNA from patients has been sequenced and indicates an increase in skin cell activity with BBL treatments.  Finally. A way to rejuvenate the skin and partially reverse the aging process at the DNA level.  The BBL device is now referred to as the “Forever Young BBL” as patients who routinely get treatments appear to defy the skin aging process.  The BBL is great for patients of light to medium skin tone who wish to maintain younger looking skin. 

When all is said and done, you’ve got YOU under your skin …

If you are fortunate enough to have young, healthy looking skin, start a skin health care plan now.  Good skin care products including sunscreen and a targeted method of encouraging skin cell turnover will provide beautiful skin as you age.  My advice? Don’t wait to begin treating your constantly-aging skin. Start now and you’ll be ahead of the game. Just as you know diet and exercise can keep feeling better and moving like a younger version of yourself, so do treatments like BBL. Feel free to call me at  916.886.0220 for a consultation to see if you are a candidate.

~Dr. Andrea Tse

The photofacial: reinventing your skin

I know nobody likes the way skin responds to aging. Did you know that skin cells rejuvenate every 27 days during the youthful years? As we age, however, this rejuvenation naturally slows. It’s just part of life.

Eventually everyone experiences fine lines and decreased skin tone or even worse — heavy wrinkles — some by their 30s. How the skin ages is a combination of genetics, sun exposure, and sugar intake. In the past, the only modifying factors were sun exposure and diet.

The dangers of sun exposure and tanning are no secret any more, believed to be responsible for up to 90% of the visible changes attributed to aging. But did you know a diet high in sugar can slow down skin cell turnover? Sugar in the diet causes glycation. This is a scientific term for a process where high sugar intake leads to inhibition of DNA proteins and lipids. This leads to the slowing of the skin cell turnover process. The result? Dull, uneven skin tone.

The BIG news is that skin genetics can now be modified. In the past if your mother and/or father gave you the gift of inheriting heavy wrinkles at an early age, there was no solution other than an early face lift. Sciton’s Forever Young BBL treatment has revolutionized the way skin ages by changing skin genetics. This photofacial has been shown to modify DNA at the cellular level in several medical studies conducted at Stanford University. The studies concluded that BBL treatments promoted the gene expression of younger skin in older women treated with three sessions of BBL. When the DNA of middle aged women treated was sequenced, the DNA matched the sequencing and function of women 5-10 years younger. Finally — a modifiable option for skin genetics.

Maintaining your skin health with proper skin care to ensure skin health and vitality is essential to avoiding visible signs of aging. I personally have watched the rosacea and texture of my own skin improve with BBL treatments and I refuse to be sad about getting older. (Besides, everyone knows the only way to avoid getting older is to die young and I have no intention of doing that.) Instead I will out-smart aging by continuing to have gold standard anti-aging treatments on board.

For more information on BBL treatments and how effective it can be, call OptimalU at (916) 886-0220 or email us through this web site, I care about YOUR skin — not just how it looks now, but how it can look in the future as well!

~ Dr. Andrea Tse

An introduction: a new year, a new blog!

Starting this blog is an opportunity to inspire and inform about beauty, about aging well, and about my passion to make a difference in people’s lives. My goal is to provide education and insight gleaned through experience, research, and personal knowledge.  My hope, however, is that you will find the blog a source of information to age well and beautifully the same time. 

I became a doctor  with the goal of fighting disease. Over the past 14 years I have been an anesthesiologist, helping to care for people while a surgical cure to a disease they possessed was taking place.  During this time period it became clear that many patients lacked insight into understanding how individual choices were contributing to their disease, all contributing to their aging poorly.   After being involved in a few hospital wellness projects for patients, I began to develop a new understanding of just what the word “wellness” meant.  I realize now that wellness is made up of a number of elements that contribute to a person’s lifestyle, not the least of which is their appearance.  Some of my clients began requesting Botox, citing my gentle touch with needles during procedures. Initially I begrudgingly obliged.  To my surprise, however, the patients who received these beauty treatments seemed more motivated to be or stay healthy to match their improved appearance.  It was as if seeing a person in the mirror who began looking 5 to 10 years younger provided a higher level of commitment to stay healthy. 

Botox has evolved to become a surprisingly simple and safe way to appear younger. So after treating a few clients with it, I was asked about administering other aesthetic options as well.  Looking for med spas around the greater Sacramento area to refer these clients to for more services, I noticed that there weren’t any aesthetic clinics with a focus on anti-aging and wellness.  Many offered opportunities to grasp at youth, but the aesthetic websites did not emphasize basic well-aging techniques.

When I set up OptimalU, my goal was to be different and to reassure my clients and potential clients that they are in good hands. Instead of focusing on dollar volume, I wanted to offer treatments I knew would stand the test of time.  OptimalU employs a multi-modality approach — something I will explain more about in later posts here. Suffice it to say, I believe treatments and injections may not be the best way to go unless both the patient and I can clearly see a long term benefit to them.  Client photos are used clinically — kept on file to demonstrate the progress being made.  Reviewing these photos showing how an individual’s appearance has improved over time is one of my favorite parts of the entire process.

I hope to post often to this blog, but will consider talking about any topic of interest to you. Please don’t hesitate to ask!  I look forward to being your personal beauty/well-aging expert (they go hand in hand!). My biggest reward is the great feeling you have about yourself when you look in the mirror. And to all those who have already referred friends and family after their own experiences at OptimalU, a hearty thank you and Happy 2019!

~Dr. Andrea Tse