Advanced Beauty: Ways to Look Younger with Dr. Stephen Bracci of Verve Laser
What’s Hot in Non-Surgical Ways to Look Younger, Refreshed and Ready In Photos, Video, and Life.
I am excited to announce our next guest on the 7 Days To Amazing Podcast, Dr. Stephen Bracci!
Dr. Bracci is the owner and founder of Verve Medical Cosmetic since 1999, where he focuses on non-surgical solutions to improve and maintain a youthful appearance. He is changing the game on the “old school” methods of face rejuvenation with modern, safe and innovative techniques.
Sharon Haver: Hello, Chicsters, I am always finding myself grooving to that music. If you like these jazzy beats, you probably come from a generation where you are going to want to really listen close today, just saying. I am Sharon Haver and you are about to be amazed. I have a very special guest on today’s episode of 7 Days to Amazing. Just as technology constantly updates itself, so does the way we look at beauty and what is available to us. Advance beauty solutions make it easier and more accessible than ever to maintain a fresh and natural glow. Dr.Stephen Bracci is the owner and founder of Verve Medical Cosmetic est. 1999, where he focuses on, get this, non-surgical solutions to improve and maintain a youthful appearance. His gorgeous studios are in Manhattan and Bergen County New Jersey. Dr. Bracci can be found online at Vervelaser.com. He resides at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City with residencies at New York University and Yale University.
What brings Dr. Bracci to 7 Days to Amazing today is that he is a creative person with a particular interest in visual aesthetics. In case you haven’t noticed, we live in a visual world. Thank you social media for having our page right up there alongside celebrities and industry leaders in our fields. Dr. Bracci’s particular interest lies in restoring and maintaining a youthful facial structure through the application of non-surgical injectables cosmetic fillers and Botox to support the skin and relax wrinkling. What he does is make people not only appear more rested and restored, but in a way return their face back to its original shape. You might want to read between the lines and say no creepy look like you got caught in the wind kind of facelift here. Basically, Dr. Bracci’s method of facial aesthetics is the opposite of the old-school facelift which focuses on stretching and pulling the skin to a different position to match the changes that occur with age. What Dr. Bracci does is restore the lost foundation under the skin which supports and redefines the skin and artfully restores the shape. I don’t know about you but going under the knife is not something that interests me, but having a glow sure is. So my friends, you are about to be visually amazed.
Welcome Dr.Stephen Bracci. I am so excited to have you with us here today.
Dr. Stephen Bracci: Thanks Sharon, I am excited to be here.
Sharon Haver: Great, so tell us a little bit on- I know you are saying its visual aesthetics and it just keeps people looking like themselves; natural, better but not exhausted, cold, yanked, weird and creepy looking.
So, how did you start getting into this? How did you come about having this interest in maintaining beauty
Dr. Stephen Bracci: I was always very detail oriented in terms of what I could visualize. I have always picked up visual clues since I was a little kid. I was just like this and I always viewed things more visually than I did the written and spoken word. I knew this from a very early age. What I knew in the late 90’s, we knew that there was this whole concept that we could engage the idea of non-surgical approaches to making people look better and the field has really taken off. It is in many ways changing the way we approach people as they age.
Sharon Haver: Yes, I know one of the things about you is, as they say about doctors, you have a good hand.
I think when people go into anything like this; you really need to be with someone who has a good hand and a good eye. We have all seen the results of things that scared the living daylight out of us. I know a lot of people are afraid to look at advanced beauty but, it’s with us. It is like what I said in the intro. Technology updates itself and so does the way we take care of ourselves, especially if you are a business owner or you are in social media. It’s your job. You are in the same light as a celebrity and an industry leader. You can’t have yourself looking burnt up and chewed up when there are options to help you look fresh, and there is nothing wrong with looking fresh.
Looking creepy is one thing, and if you want to do nothing to your skin, I mean that is totally fine but, I have been using anti-wrinkle cream since I was 16 years old. I was a kid growing up and I said I wanted to look hot at 40. How would I look hot at 40? I said either play my luck in craps and figure out “okay I will, I come from good genes” or I could put on a little moisturizer every day and some stuff under my eyes. It was natural to me. It’s that taking care of yourself skin-care, having a regimen everyday that you follow, was normal to me. Then taking advantage of things that take it a little bit further is icing on the cake, it’s what’s happening in a modern world.
That is kind of a long one for me but, what was your defining moment, your first career hallmark to decide that this is something that you wanted to do, and that you could help people take the tried and true to the next level and still look real and gorgeous and beautiful, and not creepy?
Dr. Stephen Bracci: The two biggest career hallmarks were in the late 90’s. We started coming to the idea that we could do things for skin with lasers to improve the texture and color of the skin and reverse some of the aging and damage from sun exposure. But the biggest thing that really changed my career was the advent of my procedure that I developed in the mid-2000’s, and that is the Eyerise procedure.
Basically up until the mid-2000’s, there was really nothing on the market to address under eye bags. The biggest complaint that people had was they looked tired and people accused them of not getting enough sleep when in many times, people had a full night’s sleep and they still looked tired. A lot of it is a genetic thing that happens to people over time. I started thinking about the eye area and saying “what’s going on?” People are not gaining skin, they are not gaining fat, but what’s happening with time and age. They are losing foundation underneath their skin.
Obviously, everybody has a different factors with their face. Some people are particularly skinnier. I call them skinnier because they don’t have a foundation under their eyes. When they age it becomes even more pronounced than earlier if they get bags under their eyes. What these bags truly are is a loss of foundation as the loss of structure that is contouring the skin and then they get an indented appearance, which makes them look tired.
I developed the Eyerise procedure which is basically supporting underneath the skin with various fillers to restore the shape for the eyes. What that does is get them back to where they were previously. Like you said, it is the antithesis of surgery because we are not cutting and pulling the skin, we are supporting and lifting under the skin and getting it back to its original position, rather than changing the position. That was something that took off in the mid-2000’s and we’ve done many more things since then.
Sharon Haver: Tell me, if someone was coming to you and they were just a little concerned that they were looking tired. How would you work when dealing with someone a little gun-shy at doing anything? I think so many people are afraid to take a chance thinking that this is going to be something permanent, when none of it is permanent. What do you think is the right initiative to take care of themselves this way?
Dr. Stephen Bracci: The biggest thing that people fear is that they are somehow going to look different than they originally looked, they are going to alter their appearance and they are going to do so permanently. The first thing is that in any procedure I do is not permanent, number one.
Number two, these procedures are done in front of a mirror when you are wide awake. Basically, I’d usually take little baby steps and show them the improvements and get their approval to go on to the next step. It isn’t something like you take it or leave it. You get the procedure and walk out and you don’t get upset. It’s not like that at all. It’s just the opposite. You have the ability to- it’s like adjusting your hair length. You can go along and decide how it is during getting your hair cut. It’s no different than that.
The third thing is that the procedure allows me the ability to reverse the main product that I am using under the eyes. For example, if it is gel, that gel can be dissolved and turned into water. If people really didn’t like it they could take it out. I don’t think I have ever done that because people have liked the procedure. If you give somebody too much, you can adjust it down. You have a lot of control on the actual results of these procedures.
Sharon Haver: Another thing, and I know we have spoken about this in the past which is one of my pet peeves. You see someone and they’ve obviously have had a lot of Botox on their forehead. Their forehead is shiny and tight, you can flip a quarter on it. They have a horrible crêpey neck, they have really big frown lines and they are just- the contrast of where they are so wrinkled would probably have looked okay before. Now it is heightened against something like a really tight forehead. I know you talk a lot about symmetry and balance and keeping your whole face in sync because obviously we don’t wrinkle in one area, and not the other. I think of this like you are painting your house. You see this little piece of dirt on the wall and you go get white paint. You paint the dirt and you cover it and then all of a sudden something else looks wrong. On one hand you want to know when to stop, but on the other hand you want to make sure that everything looks balanced and not like one area is too done or softer, and by contrast everything else is more wrinkly. How do you deal with that to create symmetry and natural balance?
Dr. Stephen Bracci: I agree with that. The biggest challenge with my industry is people going in and telling their physicians or their provider what they want rather than getting an expert opinion on what is going to make them look best overall. It obviously depends on their budget, what they want to accomplish.
But for somebody who is very wrinkled and has deep folds between the nasolabial folds (the folds between the nose and the mouth), it doesn’t make any sense to get big plump lips because it’s going to stand out.
I always educate people when they come in for lifts; you have to treat the area around the mouth before you can treat the lips. If it doesn’t match it is going to stand out and everybody is going to know you had something done. It has to match the area adjacent to it. Of course you look like you are trying too hard and it’s not a good look.
Sharon Haver: No it’s not. The other thing is too- I know a lot of women get those little furrows between the eyebrows and then you see them do a Facebook live video, and it is really close on their face and they have these two deep furrows and it makes them look angry. They always look mean and angry and maybe in real life it’s fine but when you are on camera, it shows more.
When I was a stylist, I did tons of magazine covers and now social media has made it so that every photo is your magazine cover. It’s like we are living in a constant close-up world which sends sub-conscious signals to someone that she is mean, she is angry and it is really the wrinkles. How do you deal with someone who is mostly an entrepreneur or someone whose business is on social media where they need not to look done-up and kooky but they need to look authoritative and relaxed?
Dr. Stephen Bracci: Well, that area between the brows is treatable non-surgically. The first and foremost thing is that we use Botox to block the muscular furrow that actually wrinkles the skin. Basically what is going on in that area is that you have muscles that keep wrinkling the skin over and over again. In turn, that wrinkling of the skin causes damage and causes collagen breakdown where you get rusting lines. That will give a big improvement.
For people who have deep furrows that continue even at rest, we can actually fill underneath and restore their foundation so we can block those curvatures that we call that furrows between the brows. We can restore a completely normal appearance that is unidentifiable in any photograph or on video, especially as you mentioned on high definition TV.
We can make it look natural and restore the shape back to its original position. So it is not identifiable even to me as I am obviously am an expert at this. I have studied this and I study people’s faces and the key to my work is when the client returns to not know, by looking at them, what was done. I have to look at a chart. That is the way I judge my own work. It is to say, okay, when this person returns, when I look at them, would I know that they had anything done had I not known they were here before. That’s my litmus test to see that this person looks like they are still from this planet. That is the goal, to make them look like they are real.
Sharon Haver: Yes, I know. It’s one of my real obsessions! I love it. Especially now that I have been doing a lot of travelling and speaking and go to small towns and places where you see these people who are trying to keep up but they are not keeping up in, I don’t know, a more national, global updated way.
You see them and you are like, “oh my God, that is some facelift! Oh my God, that is some Botox — they can’t even move.” When I was growing up as a kid they used to call that kind of obvious work the Dr.Diamond nose job. You would look at girls and they would get these tiny noses that were adorable but they didn’t match their face. It was sad as would see them getting older with these tiny little noses and the big faces. I always felt so sorry for these people because they didn’t go in thinking that they would come out looking weird.
I always ask people what does amazing mean to you?
If somebody wants to look amazing and they are a little gun-shy, what does this mean to you? What do you think they should deal with? When do you start, how do you start? Do you start with cream or do you start with procedures that are current?
Give us a little bit of where someone who knows nothing about any of these things and doesn’t want to come out looking like one of those weird Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde characters?
Dr. Stephen Bracci: The first thing is around the eyes and the forehead and the corners of the eyes and to address the wrinkling of the skin. I always say to younger people, if they can do Botox a couple of times a year, it will look natural.
But the key to that is that they will not only get improvements in the way they appear, but they will also give a preventative effect. Because the more, like I said before, the more your skin, the more it damages the skin and the more damage you have as the collagen breaks down and you develop resting lines.
For the upper half of the face, the best thing that we have come up with in the last 15 years is that people can do Botox and they don’t have to do it all the time but they can do it a couple of times a year and they can get tremendous benefits because they can look better, and not only when the Botox is taking effect.
Botox will last at best to three or four months when you get a treatment. If you do Botox a couple of times a year, you can give yourself a rest. That skin rest allows collagen in the skin to repair itself because it is not moving and you can prevent wrinkles.
For the lower two-thirds of the face, the biggest thing that happens Sharon, is that we lose support; we lose foundation underneath our skin. All the creams in the world and all the good hydration and carrying a water bottle is not going to address the loss of foundational structure underneath your skin.
These structures under the skin naturally deplete with time and age. They include things like muscle, bone and fat. That is a big loss. People are always wanting to lose fat but obviously your fat in your youth is the contributing factor to how young you look. If you deplete all the fat on your face, what is going to happen is your skin is going to have a loss of support and it’s going to fall and wrinkle differently. It is just a fact of life.
The surgical approach that we had of yesteryear was “well, okay we have lost foundation and now we have more skin than foundation. Let’s go in and cut. Let’s stretch everything back.” You and I know that this fixes the wrinkles but it doesn’t necessarily make you look better. It makes you look different because now you look way too tight, you look stretched.
Sharon Haver: Now you look like an alien.
Dr. Stephen Bracci: Alien, exactly. The lower half of the face, if you can re-support the skin and give yourself some foundation back which requires an artistic hand and eye to restore the shape of the face. You are well on your way to looking better than you appear with each passing decade. That is a given fact.
You can look much better, you can look rested, you can look real, and most importantly you can look more like yourself instead of somebody different.