From searching for the elusive and legendary Fountain of Youth to the onset of modern-day anti-aging products, it seems that we're always looking to stop the aging process in its tracks. Enter Dr. Gerald Imber, SHAPE's new columnist. Dr. Imber is a world-renowned plastic surgeon and was an early pioneer of some of the first anti-aging procedures, including microsuction. Starting in February, you'll be able to pick up an issue of SHAPE and read his monthly anti-aging advice. He'll also be blogging for Shape.com. We sat down for a few minutes with Dr. Imber to get his perspective on anti-aging through prevention, maintenance, and correction, as well as his thoughts on some of today's most popular anti-aging and cosmetic procedures.
SHAPE: Your book The Youth Corridor focuses on maintaining good looks through prevention, maintenance and correction. Could you tell us a little bit more about that?
DR. IMBER: The Youth Corridor was the first integrated strategy that aimed to help people help themselves prevent the acceleration of aging. It changed the way people think about aging by focusing on "prevention, maintenance, and correction." We're trying to educate younger people on how to prevent themselves from aging too quickly, and teach older people that it's not too late to reverse the damage.
SHAPE: What is the No. 1 best way to prevent your skin from aging?
DR. IMBER: I don't think you can quantify it, but there are a number of lifestyle factors to consider. I always say that as soon as acne stops, aging starts, but it's never too late to turn back the clock. You have to recognize that if you start taking care of your skin at 20, you won't reap the benefits at 21, but if you're getting the proper exercise and nutrients, you will see the benefits in your 40s.
SHAPE: What is the single worst thing you could do that ages your skin quickly?
DR. IMBER: The worst thing for fair-skinned people tends to be too much sun exposure. For people who have more Mediterranean skin, or who are darker-pigmented, that might not be the worst thing. But there are a million things— smoking, not using suncreen, and drinking too much alcohol all age you.
SHAPE: With the new year quickly approaching, what kind of anti-aging or cosmetic procedures tend to be really popular right now?
DR. IMBER: We do a lot of little microsuction procedures. For example, we do a lot of surgeries where we remove some of the skin under the jaw and firm up the jowls a little bit. It's a small surgical procedure with a 48-hour recovery period so people can have it done and then be free to play for New Year's Eve.
SHAPE: What do you think the most popular cosmetic or anti-aging procedures will be in 2012?
DR. IMBER: Fat transfers are popular. No matter how fit or thin you are, most people still have that infinity-shaped figure eight fissure of belly fat that you can't get rid of, so liposuction is also a popular option.
About Gerald Imber
Gerald Imber, M.D. Is a world renowned Plastic Surgeon, author and anti-aging expert. His book The Youth Corridor was largely responsible for changing the way we deal with aging and beauty. “Prevention, Maintenance, and Correction” define his strategy for maintaining one’s youthful good looks throughout adult life.
Dr. Imber has developed and popularized less invasive procedures such as microsuction and the limited incision-short scar facelift, and has been a strong proponent of self help and education. He is the author of numerous scientific papers and books, is on the staff of the Weill-Cornell medical College, the New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and directs a private clinic in Manhattan.