Bold and Beautiful
It’s becoming increasingly possible to “turn back the clock” as we age.
by Bill Donahue

As the human body ages, usually by age 25 or 30, the body’s production of collagen and elastin—the undergirding proteins that give facial skin its firmness—begin to diminish. The result: Our age begins to show on our faces, among other places. 
It is possible, however, to “turn back the clock within reason,” according to Bonnie Benedetto, co-founder of Bella Body Medical Spa in Yardley. The Bucks County med spa sees patients of all ages, from those in their pre-teen years to those in their 70s and 80s. 
“It’s all about expectations,” says Benedetto. “I believe we should embrace who we are, but I also know there are ways to practice self-care that will make us look and feel really good. Sometimes people will say something along the lines of, ‘I’m too old for that,’ but I think we should always take an interest in how we look. Being able to look in the mirror and know you’re doing something for yourself can brighten the spirit.”
The phrase “60 is the new 40” has become not only a popular mindset among the 60-and-over set, but also a way of life. In the five years between 2012 and 2017, for example, nonsurgical cosmetic procedures such as injectables for those 65 and older increased by 93 percent, according to a 2017 Chicago Tribune report citing data from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
Benedetto cites several treatments offered by her med spa that may benefit older women. One is called dermaplaning, which involves a fine blade being moved gently across the surface of the skin, thereby removing dead skin cells and “peach fuzz” for a smoother, more youthful look. In addition, when appropriate, she can recommend noninvasive corrective treatments that essentially use “controlled trauma” of the skin to stimulate the body’s innate healing response. Examples include microneedling and laser or radiofrequency ablation.
“That kind of controlled trauma ramps up the body’s production of collagen and elastin,” Benedetto says. “As long as we’re alive, the human body still has that ability.”
Lastly, there’s PRF, short for platelet-rich fibrin, which uses the natural healing powers of one’s own blood to restore youthfulness to the face. Benedetto refers to PRF as “corrective treatment on steroids.”
Likewise, medical-grade skincare products—particularly those that are rich with antioxidants and vitamin C—can reduce inflammation, reduce dark spots, and diminish fine lines and wrinkles. 
Treatments aside, Benedetto prescribes drinking “lots of water” to hydrate the skin, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and gentle exercise to strengthen the body and the mind. She considers healthy skin a lifelong commitment. Her best skincare advice: Wear sunscreen and refrain from smoking. 
“Smoking and sun kill the skin,” she says. “Spring, summer, fall, and winter, we should be protecting our skin from UV rays all the time, applying sunscreen every two hours.”
While Benedetto understands why some people might consider efforts to turn back the clock akin to vanity, she doesn’t agree. Rather, she suggests taking steps to look and feel as good as possible can nourish the soul. 
“I believe in growing old gracefully, but the grace can be in our speech and mannerisms,” she says. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be on our faces.”

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Life, May 2021.