The Ultimate Guide To Ageless Beauty

This article originally featured on Lumity:

Dr. Julie Russak is one of New York’s top board certified dermatologists and is a world renowned expert in ageless beauty. She is the founder of Russak Dermatology Clinic which is a state-of-the-art clinic that provides comprehensive care in medical and cosmetic dermatology. But she is known for taking a holistic approach to how we age, creating tailor-made programmes for each client to suit their own individual needs, and is a firm believer in beauty from within.

We were lucky enough to sit down for a chat with Dr. Russak (pictured below) and find out her top tips for maintaining beautiful skin as we age, as well as hearing how to deal with unwanted neck wrinkles and how to rejuvenate tired eyes – without going under the knife.

A black and white portrait of Dr Julie Russak

Dr Julie Russak tells Lumity her tried & tested tips for ageless beauty 

Q: You’re known for your holistic approach to treating patients, what is your own personal beauty and wellbeing mantra for healthy ageing and looking fabulous as we get older? 

A: Many patients are interested in learning more about their body.  They know sometimes they don’t feel right and not sure what triggers it. After a detailed consultation and patient history intake, we will send out the appropriate testing.  It will take about two weeks for the results to come in, and then we are able to properly equip my patients with information about their body – from rare food sensitivities to nutrient deficiencies.  From there we understand the bigger picture about their health and needs and provide appropriate reading material and guidance.  Follow-up visits are also scheduled.  It really is addressing wellness from all angles, setting physical activity for them to do, as well as nutritional and sleep goals.

Always aim to reduce inflammation in the body, the culprit behind so many of our concerns. Any unidentified sources of inflammation stimulates chronic inflammation, in turn affecting the entire body. In developing our new clinical spa, Russak+ Aesthetic Center, we wanted to make it a place that specialises in addressing our overall skin and wellbeing from within.  Since our skin is our body’s largest organ and is a refection of within, it only seemed fitting to ensure the body is in balance internally to alleviate concerns manifesting outwardly.  We developed our Comprehensive Wellness Analysis to address just that.  I also strongly believe in the beauty from within concept and in treating the patient and not a problem.  To help steer patients to achieve optimal body health to maintain the results in the office.

In founding Russak Dermatology Clinic, my mission was to create a state-of-the art practice providing comprehensive care in medical and cosmetic dermatology.  At our clinic, our focus is not on extreme cosmetic procedures.  My philosophy is all about starting younger with scientifically proven skincare and then maintaining your results.  My mindset as a physician is to enhance my patient’s natural features, not radically alter who they are.

Q: Can you tell us your top tips for beautiful skin as we age? 

A: Top 4 Skincare Tips:

  • Seek a dermatologist’s opinion on your skincare treatment plan and regimen. The market is oversaturated with potions, lotions and devices.  It can be very confusing and intimidating, as well as costly.  There is no better expert to consult with than a dermatology or medical esthetician. Remember, you have one skin that needs to protect you for a lifetime.
  • Professional Treatments: Frequently we like to layer different modalities, doing effective combination treatments such as Laser Resurfacing + Platelet Rich Plasma.
  • Stay Hydrated: Staying hydrated internally and externally is key all year round. Limit excessive alcoholic or diuretic beverages such as coffee. Always try to compensate with watching your water consumption. Water is needed to transport all the nutrients, hormones and even wastes through our bodies, so it’s important to avoid dehydration. Staying hydrated keeps your memory sharp, your mood stable and brings moisture to your skin, resulting in supple, plump skin.  This will also help minimize dark under-eye circles, which become more pronounced when dehydrated and sleep deprived. Dehydrated skin accelerates collagen and elastin depletion, the two proteins that are necessary to keep the young structure to your skin.
  • SPF Year Round- Wear Broad Spectrum sunscreen all year round, even when indoors, as UVA rays penetrate glass and remain constant all year round. UVA and UVB rays can harm the skin and lead to skin cancers, however, UVB is effectively blocked by glass.  UVA rays are known to penetrate glass upwards of 60%, which makes wearing SPF essential for people who routinely sit next to a window at work, home or during a long commute.

Disrupted skin barriers lead to abnormal disruption of the support structures of the skin resulting in the appearance of deeper lines, texture changes and redness. Inflamed skin will not respond as favourably to products since the skin is in, “emergency repair mode”.

As opposed to skin where there is no inflammation, healthier skin can boost collagen production and increase cellular turnover more easily and absorb anti-ageing actives. With inflamed skin we are fighting against two enemies and both speed up ageing of the skin: cellular inflammation and chronological aging. Once the skin barrier is improved all we have to fight is time.

Q: How important are regular facials and which one is your personal favourite? 

A: Some patients benefit from monthly facials, typically those who are more congested.  A good medical facial is recommended every 2-3 months.  A good rule of thumb is to schedule a facial every change of season.  A deep cleaning facial will help to minimise pores, by dislodging blackheads and oil buildup, thus expanding the pore.  It is also a great time to reconnect with your esthetician and discuss any changing concerns.

My personal favorite is our Hydrafusion Facial: This treatment is truly customisable to each specific skin types & needs.

Firstly, our estheticians cleanse/steam the patient’s skin, then the AHA exfoliation is administered using hydrafusion handpiece with a disposable tip allowing for the most even, consistent exfoliation. The vacuum settings painlessly cleans out pores and also allows you to adjust for each skin type depending on the patient. Targeted AHA/BHA serums are delivered to address specific skin concerns. The final step includes intensive infusions of hyaluronic acid which helps plump & hydrate the skin.

Hydrafusion delivers immediate and long-term skin health benefits that you can see and feel. It dramatically improves hydration while also helping to eliminate the appearance of fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and oil as well as oil congestion.

Q: There are so many new treatments — both invasive and non-invasive — on the market for gorgeous, glowing ageless skin. It seems there’s always a new trend, one year it’s thread lifts, the next it’s the vampire facial. What do you recommend to your clients who feel they’re facially ageing faster than they would like that gets consistent results? 

A: Prevent, prevent and prevent with professional skin care, gentle maintenance treatments and healthy lifestyle habits.  Then if you do that, correction and maintenance are a breeze.  Lifestyle habits play just as an important role, if not more important than treatments.  Your professional treatments are very much determined by your choices, but not always.  There are plenty of patients who have inherited the family “jowls”, which we can immediately lift and tighten with Ultherapy and filler. But in terms of sun damage breaking down your precious collagen, creating brown spots and sun damage, that can be minimised by being sun savvy and respecting your skin from a young age.

The skin is at its peak when you’re in your 20’s with strong collagen production and oodles of elastin, making it plump and firm. However, take nothing for granted. Dermatologists agree that prevention is key in the 20’s. Develop a good skin care routine: use sunscreen (at least SPF 30), moisturise and keep it clean. Maintain a healthy lifestyle with adequate sleep and healthy eating, while keeping stress levels down.  After the age of 20, one percent less of collagen is produced in the dermis each year.  I advise to start early on with gentle treatments that can boost your collagen, like Clear+Brilliant, our Sonic Lift (ultrasound tightening treatment) to maintain and supplement with collagen.

Dr. Russak’s favorite treatment- Platelet Rich Plasma: We have long heard the undeniable regenerative benefits of platelets within the medical community. By harvesting our own platelets, we can microneedle or inject this cocktail into the skin and area of concern to naturally boost collagen, stimulate fibroblasts and repair our cells, strengthening the “scaffold” of our skin.  These growth factors then stimulate stem cells within your skin activating new, healthy tissue.

Q: There’s lots out there to help with facial skin, but while it’s relatively easy to maintain an ageless face, it’s often the neck that shows signs of age or lifestyle damage. What treatment do you advise for people who are unhappy with the skin on their neck? Other than using sunscreen and the same products you use on your face, we have never heard of a specific treatment? Would a peel, laser, or some kind of filler work? 

A: I have found Ultherapy to be extremely effective in tightening and lifting the neck. It is my go to non-invasive modality to strengthen lax skin on the lower face and neck. For patient’s that don’t want to opt for a surgical lift, this option warrants comparable results. Ultherapy reinforces the skin’s structure, stimulate long-term neocollagenesis, rebuilding collagen I & III levels internally utilizing ultrasound technology. Clinically proven to stimulate new collagen and Hyaluronic Acid within the dermis up to 1- year post treatment.

Revision Nectifirm has produced amazing results for my patients, on the face and even when used as a body tightening cream.  Packed with antioxidants and tightening peptides, this professional grade cream smoothes and tightens skin.  The skin and concerns of the neck is different than the face, so having a targeted product formulated for this area makes a lot of sense clinically.

Q: We have read about your signature non-invasive eye rejuvenation — can you tell us more about that? 

A: Tear trough hallows are common in all age groups. Genetics and ageing play a major role. The deep hollowness around the eye creates a shadow, which is perceived as a dark circle.  As we age, the breakdown of collagen also contributes to loss of volume under the eye.  Allergies can contribute to dark under eye circles, so can lack of sleep.  If you think your under eye circles are caused by a medical condition, seek medical advice.

We like to layer modalities here at Russak Dermatology Clinic.  By utilizing the power of tightening devices, injectables, gentle chemical eye peels and professional skincare, we can rejuvenate the delicate eye area with no downtime.  Results are comparable to an eye lift.

Q: Which products do you use yourself? Do you have the same morning and night beauty routine? Can you tell us a little about that and what you see as your top five or six hero beauty products. (They could be lipstick, not just creams and serums.)

AM Regimen:

SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser, CE Ferulic and Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46, Revision Nectifirm for the neck.

YSL BB Cream and Chanel makeup are my favourite cosmetic lines.

Throughout Day– Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist- Replenishes moisture of soothing hydration anytime.  Great when I go skiing and I need extra moisture post a windy run!

PM Regimen– La Roche Posay Clarifying Oil-Free cleansing towelettes, followed by SkinCeuticals Simply Clean cleanser. Defenage Cream and Serum.

Q: With supplements like Lumity which focus on beauty from within coming onto the market, is there anything in particular which you have noticed with clients of yours who take Lumity? We do know some doctors who say that their patients on Lumity who have had surgery notice that Lumity expedites healing after surgery, and others who have seen great results in patients with problems like sun damage. What have you seen? How important do you feel that supplementing is as part of an overall regime?

A: There is a lot of research being done now on ageing, how we age and even being ageless. And not just ageing as a body but ageing on a molecular and cellular level. The science behind Lumity is what makes me take it every day and recommend it to my patients.

I believe your first source of nutrients need to come from a balanced, whole food diet.  That is minimising processed foods, eating clean organic food when you can and supplementing as the finishing touch, of nutrients not easily sourced in our diets.  That is where Lumity comes into play.

My patients are reporting more energy, mind clarity and skin quality.  They also mention deeper sleep.

Q: You’re an incredibly busy, highly focused mother, entrepreneur, fashionista, doctor, professor and researcher, as well as an ageless beauty and skincare expert. How do you stay focused and organised and what do you do to unwind? Are you still a fan of SoulCycle classes and McQueen sandals? 

A: Yes, still a fan of SoulCycle and all things shoes.  I like to practice yoga and I see a personal trainer once a week.  He really knows how to step up the workouts and challenge me!  To unwind, I really love spending quality time with my boys on the East End of Long Island while enjoying a glass of wine (red for antioxidants) and appreciating the sunset.

Q: Finally, any tips and advice for ageless beauty and looking and feeling fabulous as we get older that we haven’t covered here? If so we would love to hear them.

A: Sleep is when our body goes into repair mode.  It’s when our body repairs damaged cells and re-energizes the body.  Not only will this help your skin look refreshed, it will also help curb your appetite.  Sleep and metabolism are controlled by the same area of the brain. When you are tired, certain hormones rise in your blood, and those same hormones control appetite.  Many times our diet is less than optimal when we are exhausted, looking for that quick sugar energy fix.  Over consumption of sugar stimulates glycation and breaks down our precious proteins in the skin, collagen and elastin.  Sugar also directly stimulates inflammation in the body.  It can become a vicious cycle hard to break.  Good quality sleep is critical for health.

Dr. Russak’s clinic in New York offers the latest cosmetic treatments that require little to no downtime, including injectables, laser rejuvenation, body contouring and an array of noninvasive aesthetic remedies. Patients from all over the world seek Dr. Russak’s unique 3D Facial Restoration method, for a naturally lifted and refreshed look. If you would like to know more, you can contact her team here. 

This article originally featured on Lumity:


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