Sixty-five-year-old Anne Kohn sits in the lobby of Dr. F. Victor Rueckl’s dermatology office and talks about why she invests in medical treatments for her skin.
“I feel young on the inside and want to look like I feel,” she says.
In that one sentence, Kohn arguably sums up why baby boomers around the globe spend nearly $200 billion a year on anti-aging products.
What we see in the mirror often doesn’t mirror how we feel.
So we shell out what we can to make what we see in the looking glass come as close as possible to matching where our heads are.
A stylist turns our gray hair blonde or black or brown. A trainer helps us exercise off a gut. An anti-aging doctor prescribes something for libido. The dentist provides whitening, bleaching or veneers for our coffee-yellowed teeth.
Kohn, who’s married to an attorney and is a retired representative for clothing designers Ralph Lauren and Peter Nygard, is an example of the quintessential successful baby boomer, according to Rueckl, her dermatologist for the past 20 years.
“After World War II, it became very popular to get a tan, for people to look like they just went to the Caribbean or Hawaii,” he said. “It was a sign of health. But what it does later to your skin is causes wrinkles and brown spots and skin cancer. Anne was one of those people.”
Kohn grew up in California, going to the beach near Santa Cruz as often as she could.
That behavior — she didn’t use sunscreen then but now is a true believer in its efficacy — ultimately resulted in skin cancer on her face, back and leg.
She recalls it took three hours for Rueckl to do the procedure on a basil cell carcinoma on her face. Other procedures were also successful.
“I think my skin looks better now than it did 10 years ago,” she says.
Though I didn’t know her 10 years ago, I can say that the skin on her face appears to be that of someone much, much younger. I would have never guessed she’s only four years younger than me.
Fine lines and wrinkles of the face, particularly around the upper lip, forehead and cheeks are virtually non existent. So are brown spots and splotchy uneven skin tone. The crow’s feet around the eyes are gone, as are frown lines.
“I never wanted a face lift,” she notes. “I’ve always wanted to look natural.”
To keep looking natural, Kohn says, costs about $3,000 a year in dermatological visits that include Botox and fillers and radio frequency treatments — they deliver energy to the skin through an array of pins producing localized heat in the treatment area.
“The radio frequency treatments promote collagen restructuring and an improved skin appearance,” Rueckl said.
Rueckl pointed out that collagen, a principal protein of the skin, naturally declines with age, reducing its structural integrity, leading to sagging skin and the formation of lines and wrinkles.
Kohn believes strongly in photofacials, where an intense pulsed light is used to penetrate the skin to its deepest levels, causing the body to produce new collagen and connective tissue.
Producing the new collagen, she says, has kept her from having injectable Botox or fillers as often. Botox, which remove wrinkles by temporarily paralyzing facial muscles, can cost $300 to $465 per treatment, with sessions required about every four months just for frown lines.
A filler for a smile line, an injectable soft-tissue implant, can cost around $500 every six to nine months.
As Rueckl examined her recently, he noted her appearance had changed for the better over the years.
“I know it,” Kohn grinned. “I look like I feel now.”
Paul Harasim’s column runs Sunday and Tuesday in Nevada & The West and Monday in Health. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5273. Follow @paulharasim on Twitter.