So you might remember at the beginning of this year, I posted a beauty survey that I kindly asked you to take a moment to respond to. For those that did, thank you so much for doing so (by the way responders always remain anonymous!). The purpose of this survey was to bring more focus and relevance to my ” Self-Care Sunday” beauty series. As we age, I want to provide answers as to what we are needing and looking for when it comes to our overall skincare. What are the issues we face? What are the solutions we need? Do we need to take medical measures? Can we get to a place where we are comfortable in our own skin?
I know I have been quiet on this series since posting the results but I am doing a lot of work behind the scenes as I work to provide answers, recommendations and hopefully solutions to the questions and topics we are most interested in! I am also trying out products and striving to come up with a healthy balance of maintaining a clean beauty regiment (very important to you and me!) but also incorporating medical grade products (i.e. retinol) if necessary to achieve results.
One of the main areas of interest among most of you is wanting to learn more about anti-aging treatments (laser, peels, botox and fillers!) while receiving advice from experts in the field surrounding products and practices. So to officially kick off this series for the year, I conducted a Q&A session with Heather Gear, the woman behind the blog, Real Plastic Wife.
Heather Gear, the “Real Plastic Wife”
I first came across Heather on Instagram a couple of years ago. She caught my attention with her name but she held my interest with her image and looks. She was not at all what I imagined a plastic surgeon’s wife to look like. Nor was her Instagram feed filled with shopping trips, fancy handbags and designer clothes. If you come to follow her as well (here), you will notice Heather is a very busy mom of three young kids who often captions her Instagram images and stories, with relatable humor and charm to all the woes and triumphs of motherhood.
Yet if you look a little closer, you will also notice she is a working mom as well. She is one half of the successful plastic surgery practice, Providence Plastic Surgery ,started by her and her plastic surgeon husband, Dr. Andrew Gear in Charlotte, NC five years ago. She is CFO, mother, wife, office manager, partner and helpmate. And like most of us, she is doing her best to manage it all.
I thought Heather would be the perfect expert to help answer some of the questions that came up in the survey. Heather is a relatable, busy working mom facing the same skin aging issues we all are. Yet I find her skin to be refreshingly beautiful. A poster child of what every plastic surgeon’s wife should look like. And the irony of it all, is she has never had plastic surgery herself! So here we go! Let’s hear from Heather!
Q&A with Heather Gear, Providence Plastic Surgery
What do women in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s need to do to achieve beautiful skin? Is it possible to reverse damage to the skin?
20’s and 30’s: These are usually busy years for women with kids and careers. The most important thing to do is preserve and protect. Moisturizer and sunscreen are key. A lot of women start Botox now too, especially if they have obvious expression lines.
40’s: When most women wake up and suddenly feel old. Besides great skincare and being diligent about sunscreen, now is the time to start Botox if you haven’t already. Collagen loss really sets in too, so you might consider adding in some fillers. It’s also time to get into micro-needling and IPL treatments.
50’s and 60’s: Continue with all of the above but start adding in some radio frequency skin tightening lasers (these are not cheap, not pain free and they do have some downtime so be prepared)…but we call these treatments non surgical facelifts…do them now so you don’t need a facelift later!
It’s possible to reverse damage but the sooner you start the better! Find a dermatologist, plastic surgeon, injector and medical aesthetician before you really need one…they will direct you to the right treatments at the right time.
For women in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s and beyond, what are the best anti-aging products to use?
Vitamin C, Retinols, and sunscreens!
Should we only be using medical grade beauty products on our skin?
Yes and no. It’s more important to consult with a medical professional about your skincare. There are a lot of products out there but not one that is perfect for everyone. Consulting with a pro means you get expert advice from someone who can pinpoint the right products for your concerns and budget. I’ll also say that most medical grade products last a very long time (i.e. my favorite sunscreen literally lasts me 6 months or more). There are some very good drugstore and department store grade products that can suffice for certain people as well.
What medical grade products do you use/recommend?
I love Revision Skincare, EltaMD and colorscience right now because I’m in my late 30’s with a busy lifestyle. I need products that are easy to use, effective and safe (I’m breastfeeding still!). I’m not currently using retinol but will layer that in along with some more aggressive laser treatments once I’m done breastfeeding.
If you could only have one product/treatment to use on your skin on a daily basis, what would that product be?
Oh this is such a hard thing to choose. I’d say my Revision Intellishade Original. I use it daily and never wear foundation. I do touch up the under eye area with some concealer if I’ve had a long night.
What SPF do you recommend?
What are some of the products and treatments on the market to combat lines around lips, loose elasticity under the eyes, dark circles underneath the eyes, fine lines and expression lines?
Okay let’s start with the eyes: Botox and Dysport will treat those fine lines (crows feet) and any other expression lines or wrinkles on the forehead or between the eyebrows. Under eye creams really need to be chosen based on the major concern: is it dark circles, crepe(y) skin, fine lines…there are dozens out there that do work, its just a matter of finding the right one. And get yourself some big sunglasses…squinting in the sunlight doesn’t help that delicate eye area over time.
On to the lips: Those lines that extend down from your nose to the corners of your mouth (called marionette lines) can be fixed with filler. Don’t be surprised if your injector puts the filler up near your cheekbones. Lifting there can correct lines further south. Fine lines or thin lips also benefit from filler. Getting a really experienced injector (someone who is advanced or master level) can suggest the right filler for each of those areas. Also using some products made for lips with peptides or HA will help plump and refresh. Beware of straws and smoking…both will make your lips age faster then you want!
There is a lot of talk around HydraFacials right now? What is it?
A HydraFacial is a form of microdermabrasion but instead of using crystals, it’s a chemical combo using Salicylic Acid and Glycolic Acid. Microdermabrasion is a great treatment but if you don’t want to go the chemical route, Silk Peel Dermal Infusion uses diamond tips to exfoliate and suction to clear out the pores.
Can we you go into further detail about the differences between all the facial treatments out there on the market and what the benefits are:
Dermaplaning: This is a great treatment as a stand alone or to have done in addition to a facial or chemical peel. A sharp blade gently scraps the top layer of dead skin and peach fuzz off your face. Makeup goes on smoother and skincare products absorb better.
Microdermabrasion: One of my all time favorite treatments! My favorite device for this is Silk Peel Dermal Infusion. It uses a tiny diamond crystal device and suction. I call it the wet-dry vac for your face. It exfoliates and sucks out all the gunk…you can actually see it in a waste bottle!
IPL Laser Treatment: Intense Pulse Light is a light based treatment that targets brown and red (think freckles, brown spots, sun damage, broken capillaries) most commonly seen on the face, chest and hands!
BBL Laser Treatment: Is a newer version of IPL really just a marketing name from a specific company for their IPL device.
Halo Laser Treatment: This is a hybrid laser that removes the outer layers of skin and the deep layers to stimulate collagen. This treatment also improves pigment, tone and texture but it can take up to 8 treatments to see full results and there is at least 24 hours downtime after each treatment.
Microneedling: This treatment is exactly as it sounds! Microscopic punctures in the skin stimulates cell regeneration which boosts collagen production and the result is firmer skin and smoother texture. Downtime is minimal; with 1-2 hours of redness immediately after and no make-up for 24 hours after. But this is awesome when done in a series or combined with PRP facial.
For someone who has never done a laser treatment and would like to benefit from a more even skin tone, where should they start?
IPL and microneedling are the best treatments to achieve a more even skin tone. I’d also suggest facials or microdermabrasion at least 4 times a year. Think seasonal changes!
Additional questions for Heather? Leave a comment below and I am happy to put together a follow-up post with her!
In case you missed it, head my interview with local facialist, Jenny Harjung of Nora’s Skincare here
Thanks for stopping by!