The Role of Beauty in Our Day to Day

As we enter 2014 it is my pleasure to wish all my patients a Happy New Year and best wishes for a peaceful and prosperous 2014.

Each New Year brings the possibility of life changes large and small – some we can control and some we cannot. I have always viewed my role as a physician-surgeon as that of helping my patients achieve their best aesthetic and functional outcomes. Most times this results in a small life change; sometimes the change is profound.

In the past I have discussed the “Neuroscience of Beauty” – the primal reason why we want to be attractive. In the Globe and Mail Saturday January 11, 2014, Leah Eichler, in her excellent column Women at Work, gives a more objective assessment of the “Beauty Premium” both in the workplace and life in general. In a nutshell, society rightly or wrongly places a premium on and rewards beauty. To quote Ms. Eichler “beauty pays off” and a “beauty premium” exists in the workplace. Ms. Eichler emphasizes that the total package – hairstyling, fashion sense and intellectual value- is of paramount importance to achieve success in life and the workplace. However, enhancing your basic attractiveness with cosmetic dentistry, a new hairstyle or tweaking those wrinkles and frown lines with Botox, Juvederm or perhaps a forehead lift may also be beneficial. The good news is that while it may be difficult to get a job promotion, it’s relatively easy to erase forehead wrinkles with Botox or plump up those thin lips with Volbella.

On that note, I am pleased to be attending “Rejuvenation of the Aging Face” a four day, world class Masters of Facial Rejuvenation program in San Diego. This annual event sponsored by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery will highlight new advances in the surgical and non-surgical treatment of facial cosmetic concerns. As always I am sure I will benefit from the expertise of the wide range of international speakers present.

Be sure to stay warm and safe – remember spring is only two months away.

Dr. Keohane

Spring Sunshine and Your Skin

As I compose this latest newsletter, I can’t help but notice the 10cm of fresh snow that we have just received. Spring certainly seems a long way off. With the eternal optimism that defines Albertans, I am confident that we will soon be enjoying Alberta’s long sunshine-filled days as we pursue our favorite outdoor activities.

Albertans annually receive some of the most hours of sunshine in the entire world, despite our snowy winters. While this is great for honing our cycling or golfing skills, it also puts us at risk of developing skin cancers, such as basal or squamous cell carcinoma as well as malignant melanoma.

While my practice is not focused on skin cancers, every year I detect several early facial skin cancers, including melanomas on patients that come to see me for other problems. Fortunately, most facial skin cancers are slow growing and when detected and treated early, cure rates most favorable.

These skin cancers are caused by solar (sun) radiation and many factors increase our chances of developing skin cancers. These include occupation, genetics, skin type, pigmentation, time of day exposure and believe it or not, elevation. In general, someone such as myself, a Fitzpatrick type I skin – very white with little pigment, always burns - is at a high risk for skin cancer. Between 10:00am and 3:00pm, solar intensity is at its highest, and consequentially, the risk is greatest. There is a 4% increase in sunlight intensity for every 1000 foot rise in altitude above sea level. Generally speaking, our best defense is the liberal use of sunscreen with an SPF above 30 and to always wear a hat. It is also important to remember that prolonged sun exposure causes photoaging in which the skin loses elasticity causing a dry, wrinkled leathery appearance that is cosmetically unappealing and very difficult to correct. In other words, the best treatment is ALWAYS prevention.

With spring on the horizon, we also see a significant increase in interest in cosmetic interventions both surgical and non surgical. I suppose as the days grow longer and the sun starts to shine, our focus often shifts to maximizing how attractive we want to look and feel. In my practice, I see an increase in surgical consultations and procedures between April and September. Some of this is related to vacation time and school schedules. However, some of it due to our brains awakening after the long dark winter.

As always, we advise patients to plan well ahead when contemplating surgery. While we strive to do our best, there are occasions when we cannot accommodate the last minute request.

Have a great spring – remember lots of sunscreen and wear a hat!

Dr. John Keohane