One of the stranger panels I've had the honor of attending was held recently in Palm Beach, Florida. Organized by the estimable Parker B Ladd, the Author Series featured yours truly--and a dermatologist, Dr. Nicholas Perricone, author of a book called Forever Young. Woops...not this Forever Young, from Bob Dylan, who is, come to think of it, quite another sort of forever young--joy! But this one from the good doctor. I couldn't quite figure out how to connect our presentations on this panel, until I had a brainstorm: I would represent forever young on the inside; he could tell us about staying young on the outside.

I had seen Dr. Perricone's picture on a very large poster in his eponymous shop on Madison Avenue, which I avoided, but otherwise I was unfamiliar with his work. I have to confess to a knee-jerk attitude of suspicion, partly because I assume any Madison Avenue dermatologist greets visitors with a needle, and partly because we all know that it is impossible to be forever young. Why pretend?

I got an attitude lift. Dr. Perricone turned out to be interesting, serious, unpretentious, and winning. Furthermore, his thinking has a lot to do with the benefits of being young in spirit, too. He's a big proponent of--yes, there it is again, sorry guys--yoga.

So I've been reading his book. His advice on diet is inspiring. Needless to say, he was aghast at my cookie diet, pointing out that sugar is addictive, feeds depressions, and inflammation. I've now added to my meals lots of watercress, pictured above as a book garnish, carrots, flax and chia (remember pet rocks?) seeds (shown above). I'm taking B vitamins. He recommends eating lots of salmon.

He advises at least 15 minutes a day of sunshine on bare skin--no sunscreen--for the vitamin D. Someone in the audience asked him about Botox, so for all my friends who are flirting with the idea--or who have consummated a relationship with the needle: Dr. Perricone advised against the use of botulinum toxin, a neurotoxic protein that relaxes contractions of the muscles, smoothing out wrinkles, by blocking nerve impulses. He explained that while the muscle is paralyzed, it atrophies. So when the Botox wears off, you are left with an even weaker muscle. Botox may be a quick fix, but it isn't a smart fix in the long run.

It has been a while since I heard a beauty lecture--something that was always part of the buzz at Conde Nast. Perricone has created, and is selling, skin creams and nutritional supplements, and he is promoting something called the "metabolic diet". Of course his book is part of marketing those things. Still, I picked up some useful information. And it is helpful, as we age, to tune in now and again to what the scientists and doctors have to say--even if you cherry pick the information (or ignore it.) I'll be happy if I can achieve forever healthy--at least until I drop dead.

I was feeling a bit deficient in the old credential department, on a panel up against an M.D. All I can market is Slow Love, a book that tells you to spend a few minutes every day peering into the heart of a snowdrop, the wings of a dragonfly, or the eyes of a child. But come to think of it, that just might keep you--and, added bonus, others around you--young even longer than forever.


Sixpence and A Blue Moon said...

You write so beautifully! I have read Dr. Perricone; I found his advice to be practical and smart. I so do love the idea of peering into the heart of a snowdrop, the wings of a dragonfly, or the eyes of a child. Your prescription is also practical and smart. :) I am so envious of your writing.
Have a beautiful day!

Ashling said...

I agree that sugar is an addiction, but haven't yet been successful substituing a big chocolate brownie for a bowl of salmon & watercress. I'll keep trying!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for giving him gravitas. I always thought he was just selling product. I'll look at his recos more closely now.
Sorry to hear about the parasite.
Heal fast!

Violet Cadburry said...

Dr. Perricone has some good advice but I still think he is a snake oil salesman. Have you checked out the price of his products - ridiculous. Why must getting old mean not getting wrinkled skin? Although he appears to be sincere, he is still promoting ageism. I love your writing, and credentials don't mean a thing when it comes to expressing yourself, or being able to make intelligent choices.

Dominique said...

I haven't checked out his product! So I cannot even begin to address that. But my daily "beauty routines" are scandalous. I splash water on my face. And sometimes remember to put on a moisturizer. And that's it. I'm getting wrinkled, and it does not bother me.

What bothers me is feeling creaky, or having no flexibility, or sore joints.

Ageism is fascinating--and I think you are right, Violet, we don't need to be made to feel bad because we have wrinkles--or grey hair--or we wear yesterday's fashions, or whatever choices we make. I'm glad, for those who want it, that there are surgeries and things available--but I just want to be able to have my natural style without being judged lazy or careless, or, as one reader somewhere put it--making a feminist statement! When I'm making a feminist statement, it isn't in my choice of skin cream or hair color, for Heaven's sake!

Anonymous said...

A good healthy glow is whats important, that and a youthful figure and shiny hair. However, I could still hear my mothers voice every time I looked in the mirror, "for gods sake put on some blush, lipstick and cover that grey and put some curl in!" So of course I do...keeping up to those standards are hard for me ignore. One day I was in the mall,living the dream, hair with grey showing, no make up...I caught my reflection and almost died, I literally ran to the salon, hearing my mothers voice all the way, had my hair done, stopped at the Lancome counter got blush, lipstick, concealer and even mascara. When I got home my husband was thrilled, all my co workers thought I looked ten years younger...even the produce man at the grocery store commented for gods sake. So much for the Au natural look for me. I do have respect for women who are comfortable with the "natural look" but back to high maintenance for me!

Cristina said...

...beside Bob Dylan's there are also one song by Rod Stewart and one by Alphaville, all with this same title. this comment aside, I'm totally with you: each moment spent "peering i.e. into the heart of a snowdrop helps keeping you - and others around you - young longer than forever". beautifully put!

Warren said...

An older guy agrees, YOGA is good. I get to yoga early so I can hide on the back row in a dark corner. The young, muscled men are feeling as ackward as I. How do some of those women do it?! But folks, please add some weights to your training too. Not to buff up, just not to lose what tone you have.