I’m not opposed to cosmetic surgery. Not at all. Those who know me, know that I think it can be a pretty wonderful experience. But today’s headline in the Daily News; Hack plastic surgeon . . .  faces murder rap for performing liposuction on heart transplant patient made my skin crawl just a little.

 I wondered if this was a scare tactic, or if it was as bad as it sounded.  I had to find out so I read the full article. What I  discovered was that it was even worse than I had imagined. This plastic surgeon performed a cosmetic surgical procedure on a heart transplant patient without even consulting with her cardiologist. How could he even consider performing a non-essential surgical procedure on a woman with such a medical history? (I also wonder how that woman could have made such a foolish decision, but that’s a discussion for another day.)

I felt incensed! With all the competent, highly ethical plastic surgeons out there, doesn’t it make you wonder how this beautiful 51 year old woman fell into the hands of such an irresponsible one? I immediately went through my articles to find one I had written some time ago: How Do You Find the Surgeon Who Is Right For You.

So here is my plea to you today. If you are considering any type of cosmetic surgery, please do yourself a big favor and read this article first. It just might save your life!


And if you want the details about this surgical horror story, you can read it here.

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When I speak to women who are considering some form of cosmetic surgery, they often ask me questions they don’t feel comfortable asking their plastic surgeons. Sometimes they don’t even realize these questions are buried deep inside of them. If I sense hesitancy, I advise them to think through this question first:

Is there anything about my life that I am hoping would change as a result of cosmetic surgery?

I have learned how important it is for prospective patients to answer that question honestly before making the decision to undergo any form of cosmetic surgery. Some expectations are reasonable. Others realistically cannot be achieved. But when all is said and done, cosmetic surgery can be an emotional experience for many of us. Here are 12 interesting questions women have asked me,


Click above to see how many of those questions you would like to ask yourself?

Please note that I am an author and journalist (not an M.D.), who writes about cosmetic surgery in addition to many inner beauty subjects.

              Lois W. Stern



As women age, their friendly mirror often morphs into an unfriendly encounter. Remember the daily ritual of the wicked stepmother in the Snow White fairy tale? Mirror, mirror, on the wall. Who’s the fairest of them all? In the fairy tale version, the reality of her aging face drives one woman to the extreme of ordering the slaying of her competition – her beautiful, young step daughter.

Although few are so distraught over their aging appearance that they are driven to kill off the competition, the mirror often becomes a woman’s weapon of self-destruction as she ages. Here’s a common scenario. After many years of preening before her reflection, she awakens one morning to a startling reality. That image staring back at her looks so much more like her mother than her former self. Plastic surgery to the rescue.

Today the mirror takes a back seat to modern technology.


Photoshopped faces set a new standard in beauty, making the flaws in non-image edited faces all the more self-evident. Now Facebook, video-chatting tools like Skype and FaceTime, iPhones and iPads are fueling the plastic surgery market. This new, social-media-derived vanity is driving plastic surgeons to cater to the technologically savvy consumer. Be prepared for a whole new jargon of minimally invasive procedure terms designed to make people appear more attractive during FaceTime conversations.

Are they long term improvements or simply quick fixes? Would some of the plastic surgeons out there weigh in on this conversation?

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Lois W. Stern



Plastic surgeons are noticing a certain trend in the women seeking out rhinoplasty procedures in both the United States and the United Kingdom: they want their noses to look more like Kate Middleton’s. And if you take a good look at her nose, you will see why. It is a very feminine nose that suites her face just perfectly.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeon’s (ASPS) gathers annual statistics on cosmetic surgical procedures. Based on their most recently published statistics (2011), nose reshapings were the second most popular surgical procedure performed in 2011, totaling 244,000 procedures. Not at all surprising, statistic bore out what we already probably guessed: the vast majority (75%) of nose reshapings were performed on women. But what might surprise you is that the number of nose reshapings actually decreased by 3% from the previous year. Are people as commonly dissatisfied with their noses as they once were? Or are they equally as dissatisfied, but lack the discretionary funds to do something about it.

For the curious minded, breast augmentations continued to be the most sought after procedure, with 307,000 such procedures performed in that same year. And here is another surprise: liposuction, with its 205,000 procedures, was less popular than nose reshapings,.

What about bringing a picture of Kate Middleton’s nose to your plastic surgeon?

Having a famous nose in mind is like bringing a picture with you when you get your hair cut. Patients don’t always know how to describe what they want; it’s just easier that way, explains Dr. Mark Deutsch, a plastic surgeon from Atlanta, Georgia.


The ASPS is the largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons in the world. With more than 7,000 members, the Society is recognized as a leading authority and information source on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery.

The ASPS offers the most comprehensive, reliable statistics on plastic surgery procedures collected through the first online national database for plastic surgery procedures, Tracking Operations and Outcomes for Plastic SurgeonsSM (TOPSSM). This data is combined with the annual survey sent to ABMS board-certified physicians. All responses are aggregated and extrapolated to the entire population of more than 24,000 physicians most likely to perform cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery procedures, resulting in the most accurate census available.



Noted dermatologist, Dr. Neil Schultz, recently described various treatments for raised scars. In addition to injections of cortisone and laser, he talked about recent studies showing positive results from cryotherapy, the use of a very cold probe  applied to the lesion. Other treatments include the application of  silicone sheets, and in very difficult cases, excision and treatment with radiation. But his most recent discovery is one he learned from one of his patients – the application of iodine on tough hypertrophic scars. After six failed months of using conventional cortisone injections and laser treatments, he tried the iodine treatment and it worked. 

As Dr. Schultz says,  I love it when I learn from you!

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Lois W. Stern



As obsessions go, this one has to be one of the most spine chilling known to man – someone who would voluntarily file their teeth, split their lip and undergo extensive facial surgery – to turn himself into a ‘human tiger’.

And so goes the story of Native American, Dennis Avner, age 50, whose totem was a tiger and went by the name, “Stalking Cat“. His face, altered to such an extreme that it no longer bore much resemblance to a human being, was as startling to the eyes as the most grotesque Halloween mask. With slanted cat eyes, bulging cheeks, teeth sawed and carved to feline perfection, he even had piercings inserted around his mouth to anchor his whisker in place. But he didn’t stop there. He had his body heavily tattooed with tiger stripes.

After a discussion with a Native chief who inspired him to ‘follow the ways of the tiger’, Avner began his face modifications in an effort to do just as his chief suggested.  And apparently in Native American tradition, it’s not that unusual to try to look like your spiritual inspiration. But I would guess that even Native Americans would say that Avner carried his spiritual quest too far, undergoing modification operations to include bifurcation (splitting) of his upper lip, surgical pointing of the ears, silicone cheek and forehead implants, tooth filing, body tattoos, and facial piercings.

There has been much speculation about the amount of money Dennis must have spent to transform his appearance to that of a wild feline. But here is one thing I haven’t read a word about: Who performed these various procedures – professionals, pseudo professionals or quacks? If the former, here is the question I pose to you: Should a surgeon use his skills to meet his patient’s desires, no matter how bizarre? Or do medical ethics call for this same surgeon to deny his patient access to his surgical skills for the very procedures this patient is requesting?

My Facebook PAGE is dedicated to beauty of the body, mind and spirit.

I welcome your LIKES. 

Lois W. Stern

BEAUTY RESTORED – Free for Victims of Abuse

Face Forward is an organization that provides free facial reconstructive surgery services for women and children victimized by domestic violence or gangs. Deborah Alessi is one of the driving forces behind this organization, along with her plastic surgeon husband, Dr. David Alessi. Face Forward has helped dozens of patients in need of what often requires multiple surgeries to restore their appearance as closely as possible to what it was prior to the abuse.


Deborah Alessi understands the pain and fear of domestic violence only too well. When a loving former boyfriend struck her and threw her down the stairs, she knew it was time to move on, and eventually channeled her fear into something positive.

To be assured their services only go to those legitimately in need, the Alessis have set up rules. Face Forward requires documentation of the abuse, including police reports and hospital records.

What’s more, Face Forward requires that the patients not only get out of their abusive relationships, but also commit to psychological therapy.

There’s no point in fixing somebody’s face and having them go back the next week to the bruiser, says Alessi.

Finally, the patient must give back in the form of volunteer work to help other abuse victims or women trapped in violent lives.

You might say that the Alessis of this world are dedicated to beautification of both body and spirit.

My Facebook PAGE is dedicated to beauty of the body, mind and spirit.

I welcome your LIKES. 

Lois W. Stern


Sure, cosmetic surgery will change the way you look. But did you ever wonder how some of those procedures might  change the way you FEEL? In less than 2 minutes, my book trailer tells it all.  Guaranteed to put a smile on your face for the rest of the day! Isn’t that worth 2 minutes of your time? Go ahead, click to watch it now.

Vibrant Nation recently polled a group of women ages 50 and over to learn their views on the 12 cosmetic procedures worth having. Read what these savvy women have to say about their own experiences

Beauty Within

                Beauty Without . . .

                               What’s Your Passion?

Explore the Many Dimensions of Beauty 


Lois W. Stern


There is a Solution for Most Every Skin Problem
You Just Need to Find It.

Ella’s Story

I am an extremely active person. I spend a lot of time outdoors, gardening, playing tennis and, I must admit, basking in the sun. I always liked the way I looked with a tan and achieved a beautiful tan easily. In my younger days my skin was great, so I never thought much about the long-term effect of my lifestyle. But when I was mistaken for a senior citizen, I knew it was time for action. I experimented with a variety of over-the-counter products, but nothing seemed to help. Finally, I consulted with a leading cosmetic dermatologist to help revitalize my appearance.


Ella’s Skin Problems

  • Dry, mature and sun damaged skin
  • Thin, flaking skin
  • Dark spots on face, chest, arms or hands
  • Wrinkles around eyes, mouth and forehead

Here is the skin care treatment plan that helped Ella reverse her sun damage, improve her skin texture and even her skin tone to restore some of her youthful glow.

Problem #1 Skin discoloration on her face, neck and chest

Treatment plan for this problem
Ella’s dermatologist prescribed nightly application of Retin-A and prescription strength hydroquinone. The Retin-A acted to exfoliate her skin and stimulate new collagen. (Retin-A helps treat wrinkles by increasing cell renewal and preventing the breakdown in collagen – key contributors to skin aging.) The hydroquinone worked to lighten her dark pigmentation spots. To help Ella tolerate the dryness and flaking that resulted from the combination of these products, her dermatologist also recommended that she apply anti-oxidants and a hydrating moisturizer with good water binding ingredients, including both ceramides and hyaluronic acid following morning and evening cleansings.

Problem #2
Fine lines and wrinkles

Treatment plan for this problem
Ella’s dermatologist explained that the single most important step in treating fine lines and wrinkles is the consistent use of sunscreen, but that the combination of Retin-A and prescription strength hydroquinone will make the skin more sensitive to sun. He stressed the critical importance of wearing sunscreen every day, recommending a micronized zinc oxide sunscreen SPF-30 to provide a high level of broad-spectrum protection from the sun. He added a product rich in peptides to Ella’s daily regime, to stimulate collagen and elastin production.

Problem #3
Dry skin

Treatment plan for this problem
In addition to the antioxidant moisturizer rich in water binding agents (i.e. ceramides, and hyaluroic acid) already included as part of Ella’s daytime protocol, her dermatologist recommended the use of some hydrating ingredients such as Borage seed oil, lactic acid or Linoleic acid.

The combination of products prescribed above also helped prepare Ella’s skin for the IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) treatments that followed. Six IPL treatments helped to greatly diminish her deep pigmentation problems, along with her fine lines and wrinkles. She is considering undergoing an alternating series of in-office microdermabrasion treatments and glycolic acid peels, also suggested by her dermatologist.


Now also available in all e-reader formats with full color pictures.

In chapter four of Tick Tock, Stop the Clock ~ Getting Pretty on Your Lunch Hour, Madeleine Arena presents a number of different, typical real life skin problems and how to best resolve them.

Beauty Within

                Beauty Without . . .

                               What’s Your Passion?

Discover the many dimensions of beauty. 

Lois W. Stern


Last year, 4,329,180 aesthetic BOTOX® treatments were administered to women in the United States to relax their forehead frown lines. The side effects to these treatments have been minimal to non-existent. Slight bruising or swelling at the injection site, if any, has been found to resolve within twenty-four to forty-eight hours. Occasionally, an eye has temporarily drooped after forehead injections, but also resolves within a period of a week or two. But there have been no reports of any effects on the central nervous system. And as far as risk of death from Botox Cosmetic, the FDA confirmed that: There has never been a reported death where a causal link to BOTOX® (Botox Cosmetic) was established. But new fears about BOTOX® surfaced shortly after an Italian study reported in the Journal of Neuroscience revealed that when botulinum toxin, type A (the active ingredient in Botox), was injected into one side of adult rats’ brains, minute particles of protein in the toxin were found in the other side of the brain. The media went wild with headlines such as: Botox Causes Brain Damage.

Speak about false alarms and taking things out of context. If you are anything like me, the details will blow your mind! If you are interested in giving yourself a better education on this topic, I’ve done the hard work for you. Here’s the link to my article on Botox and Safety and many more.

Beauty Within

                Beauty Without . . .

                               What’s Your Passion?

Click to Explore the Many Dimensions of Beauty 

Lois W. Stern