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About Face: A Plastic Surgeon's 4-Step Nonsurgical Program for Younger, Beautiful Skin

About Face: A Plastic Surgeon's 4-Step Nonsurgical Program for Younger, Beautiful Skin

by Gregory Bays Brown
Get ready for the ultimate facial makeover, no matter your age or ethnicity and without surgery. If there is something about your complexion you would like to change-from dryness to laugh lines to crow's-feet-Dr. Gregory Brown offers an easy-to-follow program that will completely revitalize your face. As a plastic surgeon, Dr. Brown made a discovery that completely


Get ready for the ultimate facial makeover, no matter your age or ethnicity and without surgery. If there is something about your complexion you would like to change-from dryness to laugh lines to crow's-feet-Dr. Gregory Brown offers an easy-to-follow program that will completely revitalize your face. As a plastic surgeon, Dr. Brown made a discovery that completely revolutionized skin care: He innovated the application of a human protein that actually makes skin heal faster and greatly improves its overall appearance. Now Dr. Brown has applied his expertise and landmark research to create a scientifically sound regimen that will dramatically enhance the condition of your skin-and make you look years younger.

About Face details the four simple steps to real skin rejuvenation:
• Eat right and see results with Dr. Brown's 7-Day Diet for Glowing Skin.
• Exercise, using movements that condition your skin from the inside out.
• Apply topical creams-avoiding the ones that only make promises.
• Enjoy the benefits of medical procedures without invasive measures.

This program can be easily customized to fit your age and takes into account the changing seasons. Dr. Brown also clearly delineates the facts and fallacies of skin care, shares helpful tips on what to do to see improvements now, and gives you an exclusive preview of products you can look forward to using in the coming years as technology advances even further.

If the condition of your skin is leading you to consider cosmetic procedures, take an about-face and reevaluate your options! Dr. Brown believes that the true source of beauty is not lifts, nips, or tucks. It is the newlydiscovered ability of your skin to regain the vitality of youth.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Face it: even if you can't purchase R Vive, skincare products that plastic surgeon Brown devised from human epidermal growth factor, you still have a chance to look years younger. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.36(w) x 9.44(h) x 0.87(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter  1

How Skin Works

The skin is the largest organ of the body. It is about two one-hundredths of an inch thick, and covers an area of roughly twenty square feet. Its inner layers are called the dermis, which contains blood vessels and cells known as fibroblasts. These cells produce collagen, elastin, and proteoglycans, the mortar that holds your skin together. The outer component is the epidermis. This contains somewhere between twelve and fifteen layers of cells but, as we age, they diminish to nine or ten layers. Only the very bottom layers of cells divide and replace themselves. They slowly rise to the skin’s surface and, as they rise, the cells lose their nuclei and die. This outer layer—known as the stratum corneum—is then imperceptibly sloughed off in tiny pieces during everyday activity, which in turn compels the bottom layer to start making new skin cells. In a teenager this exfoliation cycle takes about two or three weeks; if your skin is injured, the process goes into overdrive to make new skin to replace the damaged. This replacement cycle slows with aging, as the cells become sluggish, less apt to divide, and less hydrated.

Part of this cycle is affected by the formation of free radicals. These are oxygen molecules that have an odd number of electrons, causing them to be unstable. As they seek out healthier electrons from other molecules, including those of our skin cells, free radicals cause a chain reaction of damage known as oxidation. Free radicals not only harm skin cells, but they are known to impede blood circulation and cause varicose veins. The most significant external sources of freeradicals are cigarette smoke, air pollution, and pesticides.

The growing susceptibility to free radicals is one of the causes of aging in various parts of our bodies. Antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin E have been shown to defend against free radicals, lending the free radicals their own electrons and forming a barrier that protects human skin cells. These vitamins are found in a variety of vegetables, meat, and dairy products.

The cycle is also affected by a number of other factors, such as diet, sun exposure, smoking, and physical exercise. No doubt, you already know that some of these behaviors and habits are harmful to your body. Let me tell you how they specifically affect your skin.

Your Face Is a Reflection of How You Eat

The average American’s diet is filled with carbohydrates, sugar, salt, and caffeine. If you kept track of these elements over the course of just one day, you would be amazed at the quantity you consume. Of all of these, sugar and carbohydrates have the worst effects on your complexion. They cause inflammation of the epidermis, and rob your skin of the oxygen it needs to stay youthful. On the other hand, there are foods that feed your skin helpful nutrients and oxygen, such as fish, walnuts, and olive oil. You cannot improve your skin without first addressing your daily diet, which is detailed in Chapter 2. In only a week, you will see clearer skin and feel the effects of rejuvenated oxygen flow throughout your body.


This habit creates a toxic metabolism in your whole body. Many people know the lungs are damaged by smoking, which is harmful enough in itself. The more visible effects are in oxygen-deprived skin. When you smoke, it shows on your face. In addition to more wrinkles around the lips and eyes, smokers have skin that is slower to heal. Blood is actually directed away from the skin by the destructive effects of nicotine, causing a grayish tone. We call this overall effect “smoker’s skin.” The physiological basis is that nicotine causes the tiny subdermal capillaries to go into chronic spasms. These capillaries are the only source of blood supply to your skin. Over time, such decreased oxygen causes the skin to age more rapidly.

Many doctors, including myself, will not perform a cosmetic procedure on someone who smokes. Healing takes longer and the results will be minimized. I will prescribe the patch or nicotine gum or whatever it takes to help a patient quit smoking, and I will permit cosmetic procedures three weeks after that patient has stopped smoking.

A fifty-year-old patient, Robert Z., was scheduled to have a complete face-lift. In order to do it, he finally stopped smoking after twenty-one years. After two months, he saw extreme improvement in his complexion, and in the definition of his cheeks and chin. He looked so good—just from quitting smoking—that all he needed was a medium peel to smooth out his skin tone. He looks years younger and spent a small fraction of the money he’d planned to spend on surgery. Even better: He still doesn’t smoke.


A sedentary life leads to weight gain, which, among many other debilitating effects, simply stretches the skin, even in the face. Stores of fat form cellulite, and sometimes affect blood flow to the hands and feet. Fat also stores testosterone, which can promote adult acne, excessive hair growth, and blotchy skin. Without modest exercise, the entire human body is operating on less oxygen than it was designed for. Bones deteriorate and lose calcium. As with all organs of the body, the skin needs large amounts of oxygen, not only from the outside but from the inside as well. There are fun and simple tricks to getting your body in motion, and Step 2 of my program details exactly how you can incorporate exercise into the busiest schedule.

Sun Exposure

The sun is 93 million miles away, but it is your skin’s worst enemy. Some experts say that you accumulate a lifetime of skin damage from the sun by the time you turn eighteen. While I agree that the early years of sun exposure can cause skin cancer decades later, I also believe that sun exposure in your later years is equally damaging. I always insist my patients use sunscreen, regardless of their age, skin type, or outdoor activity. Poor diet, smoking, and air pollution may take their toll, but the sun causes 90 percent of the damage to your skin. The sun makes your melanin work overtime, darkening your skin pigment to protect it from the sun. When melanocytes behave abnormally, these become “age spots,” also known as liver spots or sun spots, in a process doctors call “photoaging.” These spots are incapable of fading on their own. They will get worse—even cancerous—if you don’t act to prevent sun exposure. All of my topical recommendations in Step 3 require the use of sunscreen.


Heredity plays a huge role in how our skin ages. How we age is encoded into our individual DNA, largely determining our personal biological clock no matter our skin care habits. The good news is this: My research and that of others have proved that bioengineered products can alter the inherited behavior of our skin. Even more significant, we can change our inherited skin characteristics by eating better, getting exercise, and properly caring for and protecting our skin. We can also choose a special noninvasive procedure, outlined in Step 4, to counteract skin traits that we inherited.

Four Steps to Fabulous Skin

The first two steps of my program condition your skin from the inside out. Many people underestimate the fact that, in order to have youthful skin, they must keep their internal machine operating at optimum condition. Oxygen-rich blood flow, nutrients, and most essential vitamins feed your skin from the deepest layers. If they are not in good condition, your skin will never improve.

The third and fourth steps treat the surface of the skin, literally changing its gene-encoded behavior. These steps are not identical for every person. You know this already, perhaps, if you’ve tried your friend’s favorite skin cream (which did nothing for you) or raced out for the newest filler injection, only to find it faded away after a couple of days. Every person’s face is a unique combination of skin, muscle, eyes, mouth, nose, lips, emotional expression, and shield against environment. We are born with incredibly complex features—who needs the perfect nose or voluptuous lips? I don’t want my patients to have their friends remark, “Have you had a face-lift?” I want them to say, “You look great!” The goal of my program is to bring your face vibrancy and glowing beauty, and to provide you with the peace of mind and self-assurance that comes from knowing that you look incredible.

Test Your Skin-telligence

Before you begin the four-step program, see how you rate when it comes to the essentials of skin care.

Do you smoke?




Do you eat a lot of sugars and carbohydrates?




How much time each day do you spend outdoors?

1.Only a few minutes, going in and out of the car and shopping

2.Only when I work in the garden or jog

3.Every chance I get

Do you get any exercise?


2.Twice a week, on average

3.Twice a month, on average

Is there a history of skin cancer in your family?


2.I don’t know


When you were young, did you spend a lot of time in the sun?




Do you visit a dermatologist?

1.Yes, every year

2.Only when I have a specific problem


Do you use sunscreen?

1.Every day

2.When I remember it

3.Only when I’m outdoors

Add up the numbers before your answers. If your total score is between 8 and 12, you have a head start on the transformation of your complexion. If you scored between 13 and 16, you have a few marks against you, but you will compensate for these in only a few days of my program. If you scored between 17 and 24, you have a greater risk of health problems. However, you can completely turn this around in just four weeks on my program. And you, more than the others, will see the most improvements in that short time. Much of the damage may already be done—but, incredibly, much of it can also be reversed.

Part 1: The 4-step Program

Chapter 2

Step 1: Eat Right—systemic skin care for the whole body

Years ago, my mother believed (or at least she used to tell me) that eating french fries caused acne. Maybe where you come from it was chocolate. While this isn’t precisely true, there is no doubt that your eating habits largely contribute to the health of your skin, as much as or even more than they affect the rest of your body.

I don’t prescribe an actual diet for my patients, but the low-glycemic-index focus of the Sugar Busters! diet is very good for your complexion and overall health. Learning which foods are good for you, as well as which ones should be avoided, can help you to modify your eating habits without feeling as if you are being deprived or supervised. I provide patients with a simple list of foods that are best for the health of your skin. The foods on this list bring more oxygen to your skin and reduce the harmful effects of sugar. Sugar binds to your body’s enzymes and slows them down. Enzymes are the hardworking molecules that facilitate the trillions of your body’s chemical reactions on a normal day. This diet keeps your enzymes sleek and agile, and it also might help you to lose weight. I have kept my list simple so you can easily remember it and adhere to it. I don’t provide portion restrictions, because I don’t consider this a weight-loss diet. This is an antiaging diet. Your body will know how many calories it needs to maintain its vitality.

Dr. Brown’s Diet for Glowing Skin






Skim or low-fat milk

Soy milk


Rolled oats

Whole grain bread, no more than two slices per day

All vegetables, particularly green ones such as broccoli, spinach, lettuce, and asparagus




All citrus fruits



Olive oil

Flaxseed oil

Omega fish oils

Unsalted nuts

Copyright © 2005 by Gregory Brown

Meet the Author

Dr. Gregory Bays Brown has spent more than twenty years as a plastic surgeon, carefully observing the process of how skin heals. In clinical studies, he innovated the application of a human protein that actually makes skin heal faster than at its previous rate, a discovery that was originally published in the New England Journal of Medicine. After serving his general surgical internship and residency at Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Louisville, Dr. Brown became a Fellow at Emory University's Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky and New York City.

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