Today, I want to talk about aesthetic medicine and how to stay young with advice from a great Italian beauty doctor.
In fact, we are lucky enough to have with us Martina Scalzo, whom I know as a friend, a rock star, but above all as a very good aesthetic doctor with offices in Chieri (TO) and Venice and ten years of experience in the field.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: how does one become an aesthetic doctor? And why did you choose to practice this beautiful profession?
Hi Cristina! Thank you for allowing me this wonderful opportunity to talk about my beloved profession.
To become a beauty doctor I attended the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Turin.
I graduated, passed the State Examination to be admitted to the Medical Association and qualified to practice the profession, and finally I attended the four-year postgraduate school in Aesthetic Medicine “Agora” in Milan.
I love everything beautiful, and I love taking care of those around me.
The one with Aesthetic Medicine was love at first sight, so strong that it made me abandon my very first love, that is General Surgery, a discipline that engaged me during the years of university internship and during the thesis.
What are the most common problems your patients come to you for?
An aesthetic doctor encounters so many different demands and issues in the course of his or her practice.
It ranges from the patient who wants to deeply moisturize her skin, improve the appearance of the face, perhaps to eliminate the dull complexion or some wrinkles that make the expression sad or tired, to the patient who suffers from water retention or heavy legs, to those who want to treat small localized fat, to those who must defeat annoying blemishes such as acne or rosacea.
I am also a laserist.
So I work a lot with patients who want to remove certain imperfections such as skin spots, keratoses and xanthelasmas.
But also with people who have to or want to remove tattoos and with those who want to treat scars, both from acne and post-surgery.
She also works extensively with patients who wish to eliminate unwanted hair on both the face and body.
There are also simply “curious” patients who aren’t yet very clear on what they would like to do about their appearance.
The doctor’s task is to dispel any doubts and direct the patient towards the right treatment (or even decide not to treat at all!).
How does an initial visit with you typically play out?
I begin with the classic medical history, questioning the patient about his or her health conditions, any medications he or she may be taking, and any past medical aesthetic treatments.
I then ask why he came to me, what his wishes and expectations are.
I then move on to the objective examination (the actual “visit”) and finally explain to the patient what the possible treatments might be, how they will be carried out and what the cost will be.
If I feel the need, I invite the patient to contact other specialists (Dermatologist, Gynecologist, Endocrinologist, Plastic Surgeon, they are the figures with whom I interface most) to clarify any diagnostic suspicions.
Skin problems over 40: when are good cosmetics enough and when is it useful and advisable seek help from aesthetic medicine?
Over 40 our skin often suffers from the so-called photo-aging, that is the consequences of repeated sun exposure over the years, without filters or protection of any kind.
Skin with this issue appears thickened, with roughness, a suboptimal texture and with discolorations (spots).
We can also find ourselves in front of dehydrated skin, with the first “sagging”, with the first dyschromia or couperose.
In addition, and this is more frequent than we think, we often see patients over 40 with acne or seborrheic skin, often the result of stressful lifestyles, dietary errors or hormonal problems.
Per contro, vedo anche moltissime quarantenni con pelli perfette, e con loro è utile lavorare per mantenere ciò che già si ha e prevenire inestetismi futuri.
On the flip side, I also see plenty of 40-somethings with perfect skin, and with them it’s helpful to work on maintaining what you already have and preventing future blemishes.
Mistakes and horrors of aesthetic medicine: one of the most common fears that keeps many women from going to the doctor is undoubtedly that of ending up with the typical “duck face” so much in vogue today.
Puffy lips, fixed and grainy eyes due to Botox, cheekbones a little too plumped.
Is it possible to prolong our youth by avoiding all this, with aesthetic medicine?
Today’s aesthetic medicine tends towards naturalness, freshness, and giving the person a rested, relaxed, unfeigned appearance.
A patient who comes to the cosmetic doctor needs to hear from her friends “look how well you look!”
Those who wish to resort to fillers in my opinion should not be in a hurry, especially if it is their first time undergoing this treatment.
You start with one vial of filler (two at most, I never use more than that in the course of a single session).
Then we wait a few days and check the result, if we do not consider it sufficient we are ready to add more product.
This way the filler will be smooth and gradual.
Moreover, in aesthetic medicine, fillers should always be calibrated according to the starting conditions, the patient’s face, his lifestyle and his way of being.
Nice plump lips, maybe slightly more accentuated than usual, can be cute and fun on someone with a strong, bubbly and maybe slightly eccentric style.
While they would be out of place on a sporty, minimal style woman.
Every face has its strengths, the trick is to put the focus on them, making them stand out.
With the fillers currently on the market, it’s really hard to exaggerate. Today we use soft, moldable materials that are really suitable for all faces.
And don’t be afraid of Botox! If injected in the right way it can give you a relaxed and soothed face, without the “freeze” effect.
Finally, a good beauty doctor must also be able to say no if he or she feels that the treatment the patient wants is unsuitable for her or risky.
We work based on the “primum non nocere” principle. If it doesn’t feel right to proceed we don’t proceed.
Invasive and non-invasive treatments: are there non-invasive and painless (for those who have a phobia of needles like me), but still effective, interventions that a woman can resort to?
They exist, and are very useful, whether used alone or in conjunction with other practices.
We’re talking about peels, radiofrequency, short pulse laser, iontophoresis, photorejuvenation, all needle-free treatments, but still useful and effective, requiring just a little bit more time and patience to get the result.
What are, at present, the absolute most effective medical-aesthetic treatments and interventions in your opinion?
I confess to being biased here, I am a laserist, and for me, laser is always a right choice!
The removal of spots, keratoses, small vascular lesions, resurfacing with the CO2 laser, which renews the skin, are the treatments that give the greatest satisfaction.
But let’s not forget the foundation on which we build our beauty.
Let’s talk cosmetics.
Are there, in your opinion, really effective products for our skin?
And why is it useful to consult the aesthetic doctor also to define a cosmetic routine to be followed over time?
I always tell my patients that I work in the office, but they have to work at home, like schoolchildren doing homework.
Normally, based on my patient’s skin I deliver samples so that she can try the product.
Not all skins love the same things, patients have their own tastes and preferences, the choice
products is a lot, I have to choose the one with the right features and that entices to use.
Physicians know their patients and must be able to advise them as best they can, even if they have to compromise.
A patient who is always on the run and doesn’t like creams won’t benefit from a five-product beauty routine.
Better to have a good cleansing and a wild card product like a serum or gel that’s cool and quick to apply, or a spray-on sunscreen instead of a spreadable cream.
I will be more confident that the patient will use the products and be happy.
Summer is just around the corner: how can we best protect our skin from the damage of the sun’s rays, without giving up tanning altogether?
Sun protection is essential, not just in the summer, but all year round. Today, many cosmetic companies produce creams with SPF 20 or 30 for year-round use in the city.
I always advise my patients, if they don’t feel like layering multiple products because of the heat, to use a good SPF 50+ facial sunscreen instead of day cream (maybe they can apply a serum underneath) from May through September.
They will still tan and the color will be longer lasting and beautiful, and the skin will not be damaged.
Obviously, sun exposure should be moderate, avoiding the hottest hours. Remember that clothes and umbrella are not a total shield!
Even those in the shade in the summer need to protect themselves.
Darker complexions will be able to use slightly lower filters on the body towards the end of the season, but I recommend never going too low (below SPF 20).
Finally: what advice would you give women over 40 to preserve their freshness and youthfulness for as long as possible?
A healthy lifestyle is essential, eat well of everything and in moderation (investigate any food intolerances), drink at least one and a half liters of water per day, protect your skin from the sun and weather, exercise and feel good about yourself.
We are all beautiful, each with its own peculiarities, the secret of aesthetic medicine is to find the beauty in each of us, and enhance it.
It’s not enough to “look” young. Beautiful skin isn’t just achieved in the doctor’s office, it’s achieved by taking care of ourselves.
It’s hard, and I know it well, but even in the course of our hectic lives we must try to find a moment for us, love ourselves, pamper ourselves is not synonymous with frivolity.
We are people, not robots!
And don’t ever tell yourself “I’m too old/too young to go to the aesthetic doctor”, there is no age limit!
The young girl can get advice on starting a beauty routine.
The 30 or 40 year old can start moisturizing and deeply nourishing her skin, why the older lady can learn to pamper herself and take a moment for herself, gaining in radiance and beauty.