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Face It!

By Joseph Rosenfeld

THE FACT is that no part of the body is quite as important as the face. It's your body's communication center—your face shape and your facial features explain a lot about who you are. When you're speaking with someone, you want that person to keep focusing on your face. And there are things you can do to improve the look of your face, and you don't have to face it alone.

An annual study conducted by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery released in February found the nation's approval of cosmetic surgery to be at an all-time high. 61 percent of men and 63 percent of women are in favor of cosmetic surgery, according to the study of 1,000 Americans of at least 18 years of age. Women are 16 percent more likely to consider plastic surgery than men. In fact, in 2006 women had over 10 million surgical and nonsurgical procedures, and men had nearly 1 million procedures. Eyelid surgery, a favorite of men, was the third most popular of all surgical procedures last year.

The most popular nonsurgical procedures all relate to treating the face. Even an angry, stressed-looking guy can run out during lunch and return looking more serene after being syringed with a shot of Botox to eliminate pronounced brow lines. The next most popular are injections of hyaluronic acid into the skin, followed by mircodermabrasion where patients get their skin sprayed with tiny crystals, followed by a combination of abrasion and suction to remove dead skin. Skin resurfacing, also known as a laser peel, is another popular procedure that promises less bleeding, bruising and discomfort than other resurfacing methods. But what if you don't want to spend the money for these procedures, or you're not into injections and blood? I definitely could not handle any of it. I bet that you have the same general concerns about your skin as me: the skin has to remain cancer-free and look youthful and otherwise healthy.

Margaret Barili, a state licensed acupuncturist and herbalist, offers acupuncture facial renewal to clients at her Felton and Sunnyvale clinics. According to Barili, a consultation to determine "what is causing your face to have the character and qualities that it currently has" starts off each session. After washing the face, an herbal mask is applied, followed by a full-body acupuncture treatment. Barili says that this helps to ground the body and readies it for the next step, which is to place the facial needles on areas of the face, ears, head and neck as determined from the consultation.

After 20 meditative minutes, the needles are removed from the face and an egg white mask is applied. "A Chinese saying says never put anything onto the skin that could not be eaten," she said. Once the face is wiped clean she offers Tuina, a Chinese massage for the head, neck, ears and face. Before you leave, you will even learn new facial exercises designed to strengthen and tone.

She recommends a minimum of 10 weekly treatments to get measurable results. Once the sixth or seventh treatments happen, results tend to appear. Cigarette smoke tends to really dry out the skin; so double the number of treatments for full effectiveness. The most dramatic results last between 18 months and three years. She also warns, "Acupuncture tends to detoxify and reverse the effects of Botox, which may or may not be desirable, depending upon what the patient wants."

Even with all of the possibilities available to rejuvenate the face, it's never too late to do what you can on your own. Men are now finally facing morning regimens similar to women's. Applying an appropriate skin-care treatment that protects you from the elements, as well as getting facial treatments four to six times a year, is more important than ever. But if your stressed skin shows more age than how you feel beneath its surface, facing a brighter future is easier than ever.

Joseph Rosenfeld, the nation's only male certified image professional, helps professional men and corporate employee groups to become more dynamic, compelling and stylish. Visit for more information.

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