Skin Care

By Candice Sabatini

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They said it couldn’t be done. Aw hell, I’ve got to admit it; even I told you it couldn’t be done. That is…you just can’t shrink your pores. Despite all the claims by cosmeceutical manufacturers, our best hope was keeping them as clean as possible, and therefore less noticeable, and then using a product that creates a barrier so that make-up sits on top, and again, makes them less noticeable. Some of these products work pretty well, but none of them can actually shrink a pore. The only other viable hope is some prevention: keep your pores as clean as possible so that the dirt can’t get in and enlarge them and use sun block because UV rays damage the skin and enlarges pores. Additionally, family genetics, aging and hormones are also factors that can contribute to enlarged pores and there’s just nothing that can be done about those. Sorry dear!

Helloooo Botox! America’s warrior for the war on wrinkles is about to become the paladin in the plight against enlarged pores! NYC Facial Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Anil R. Shah, has discovered another use for Botox. It shrinks pores when injected superficially in the dermis level of the skin which is a much more shallow level, unlike injections of it for wrinkles when it’s injected into the muscle. Excited about this new breakthrough, we at Beauty News have to be the first on the scene of cutting edge treatments, so I interviewed Dr. Shah and had an opportunity to try it firsthand.

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BN: This is really exciting. How did you learn about this?
Dr.Shah: I discovered this just last spring. I noticed that when I injected patients with Botox for their “Bunny Lines” (horizontal lines at the top of the nose) that the skin in that area became smooth and appeared pore less and simply looked better. From there I started to experiment with injecting Botox very superficially – only in the dermis and not down into the muscle as is done for wrinkles.

BN: Can you tell me a little how it shrinks a pore?
Dr.Shah: The Botox interacts with the tiny little muscle around the pore. These muscles don’t form wrinkles; they’re the same muscles that create goose bumps. The injection into the shallow layer of the dermis freezes the same tiny muscle so that the skin is now taut.

BN: On which areas of the face can this be done on?
Dr.Shah: I use it where the skin is thickest and most sebaceous, which is roughly equivalent to the T-Zone – forehead, nose and cheeks.

BN: Do you do more or less injections on an area than when using Botox for wrinkles?
Dr.Shah: More injections in order to cover a larger area. Since it’s not targeting a large muscle area like the one around the eye or the forehead, the injections are much shallower.

BN: How long will the effects last?
Dr.Shah: Like any Botox injection, it lasts four to six months, depending on the person.

BN: Have you noticed any side-effects, good or bad?
Dr.Shah: No bad side effects. One good side effect is that some people sweat less. This is especially good in the summer; my female patients have noticed less shiny faces, which they appreciate. Also, since the pore stops producing sebum, it can help prevent some acne flare-ups.

BN: Are any other doctors doing this procedure?
Dr.Shah: I’ve heard about one doctor here in NYC, but don’t really know of any others.

BN: How about outside of NYC?
Dr.Shah: I know of two physicians, one in Singapore and one in Paris.

BN: At Beauty News, we always like to get a little upfront and personal with our doctors. So tell me, what do you do for fun? What’s your favorite kind of music?
Dr.Shah: I love creative, artistic expression and try to embrace it in some form, either by sculpting, photographing, or painting. Relaxing with my wife and two daughters is tough to beat though. I like different music for different purposes. For example, when I am concentrating or working on a project, I like relaxed instrumental sounds, but when I am working out I like faster paces, upbeat music.

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After the interview, my next step was to try the actual procedure, which is done at the Shizuka Spa where Dr. Shah is three days a week.

Logic dictates that if you’re going to close up your pores with Botox, then you’d better get them as clean as a whistle beforehand. This is the best part of the procedure; an incredible facial by Shizuka or one of her highly skilled staff. Shizuka has her own line of products made with pure water from Mt. Fuji which are gentle to even the most sensitive skin. Her signature facial micro-manages your skin and makes it feel incredible. First there’s a double cleansing, then an enzyme peel exfoliation followed by a foamy lotion which will melt any blackheads or hardened oil in the pores and then extractions if necessary. After this, your face, shoulders and décolleté will be massaged to a point where you just pray you won’t ever have to leave this blissful place. Following this, a collagen mask is applied on the face and while it’s working its magic, your hands and feet are massaged and the final step is toning and hydrating the skin. Even if you’re not going to do a Botox pore shrinking, this is a facial not to be missed!

After the facial, Dr.Shah put some numbing cream on my face, and then proceeded to explain the procedure and how it works, showing me a chart of the layers of the skin. Once the numbing cream was wiped off the injections began – okay, not the best part of anyone’s day, but not the worst thing either. To be honest, I’m not the best candidate for this procedure because I have small pores and not too many are enlarged. But I’ve got a few around my nose that clog with make-up and annoy me and one on my cheek, that I’m sure no one else notices, but bothers me. Once he finished, I was given a Gentlewaves LED treatment which helps the redness go away more quickly. I felt fine and was able to put my make-up on and leave. My skin was slightly red, but the make-up covered most of it. I wouldn’t advise doing this on the same day you’re going out someplace special, so give your skin a couple of days to calm down. The next day I checked my pores and nothing was different. I was a little disappointed and just figured it’s for people with larger pores than my own, but then I remembered hearing that sometimes the effects of Botox can take up to a week to see. Well, lo and behold…..three days later, that area around my nose was poreless! And my one little annoying pore was gone….vanished! It’s been two months now and I’m getting used to not having those visible pores around my nose that get clogged with make-up. I guess I’ll be doing this again in the spring!

Shizuka New York 7 West 51st Street, 212-644-7400 www.shizukany.com
Dr. Anil R.Shah 7 West 51st Street www.shahmd.com

Originally published January 2008
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