The Age Fix

A Leading Plastic Surgeon Reveals How to Really Look 10 Years Younger


By Anthony Youn, MD

With Eve Adamson

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The USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling guide to looking younger without spending a fortune from nationally renowned plastic surgeon Anthony Youn.

Here’s what the experts know but aren’t telling you-until now:
– The drugstore brand can be just as effective – or better – than the expensive cream at your dermatologist’s office
– Surgery usually isn’t the best solution
– Natural, DIY creams can actually get results, using ingredients that cost pennies
– Diet can be your best defense against redness, acne, fine lines, and wrinkles.

Dr. Anthony Youn is the rare plastic surgeon who does everything he can to keep his patients out of the operating room. He’s spent the past sixteen years researching the secrets of plastic surgeons, dermatologists, makeup artists, and dietitians, and he knows what works, what doesn’t, and what’s overpriced. Now he’s compiled solutions to every cosmetic aging problem in this definitive anti-aging bible.

Whether you want to stay as natural as possible or you’re interested to know which creams and medical procedures actually work (and are worth the price tag), The Age Fix has your fix to look younger and more radiant. Dr. Youn’s customizable Age Fix routine will help you improve skin health, whatever your age or concerns, and his diet-based Age Fix prescription will rejuvenate your skin and overall health from the inside out.

Did you know that the foods you choose every day can contribute to fine lines and wrinkles and the likelihood of your getting a sunburn? Dr. Youn explains why you should shun soda but reach for that glass of red wine. You’ll also discover which fruit can help you look younger and prevent sun damage and which supplements are proven to reduce fine lines.

From your face, to your neck, your hands, your eyes, and your body, The Age Fix has you covered with an abundance of actionable takeaways and insider advice to help you reclaim your youthful glow-without spending a fortune or going under the knife!


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Table of Contents


Copyright Page

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As a preteen, I had a feature that interfered with my confidence. I had a genetic condition called mandibular prognathism, sometimes called Hapsburg jaw. This condition causes the lower jaw to grow much faster and larger than the upper jaw. The result: My jaw began to grow, and grow, and grow, to my horror and consternation. There I was in junior high school, and my jaw and I (I thought of it almost as its own entity) made Jay Leno look weak chinned. Believe me, when you are a skinny, geeky eleven-year-old Asian kid with Coke-bottle glasses and a bowl haircut who is already terrified to talk to girls, a monster chin does not help the situation at all.

At first, my chin was merely prominent. Then it became an architectural feature. When you could set a drink on it, I wanted to hide in my room. High school is humiliating enough, but for a nerd with a monster jaw, it's pretty much unbearable. Every day, my chin grew larger. I examined it in the mirror. I used a hand mirror to check my profile. Yep, there it was, in all its glory, preceding me into every room I entered, practically announcing my presence: "Hey, everybody! Look at me! I'm Tony's ginormous chin! Oh, and Tony's here, too. He's back behind me somewhere."

I wanted to do something about it. I wanted plastic surgery, but my parents didn't like the idea. They thought I looked fine. (Of course they did. Sheesh!) However, by the time I finished high school, even my parents couldn't deny that my chin had taken on a life and a personality of its own. They finally consented to plastic surgery, and after that, everything changed for me. The young man I was becoming on the inside finally resembled how I looked on the outside. That was exactly what I was going for—I didn't want to change my face out of vanity. I just wanted to look like myself. What that surgery did for my self-esteem (and eventual recognition by members of the opposite sex) inspired me to become a plastic surgeon.

But this isn't a book about plastic surgery. This is a book about bringing your outside in line with your inside. This is a book about options. Maybe you are fifty, and although you hear fifty is the new thirty, what you see in the mirror is only a distant relation to how you remember yourself in your thirties. It doesn't have to be that way. Maybe you are forty but you still feel twenty-five, and your reflection startles and alarms you because it isn't the you that you feel like inside. I have answers. Maybe you are thirty and you are seeing the first signs of aging, like crow's-feet and forehead wrinkles, but you still want to rock a bikini. You can.

Sure, aging is natural, but does it have to happen so soon? I can't stop you from aging, but I can stop you from looking like you are aging. Aging happens more rapidly and dramatically in some people than in others, but there are remedies, solutions, and fixes that don't involve surgery. In fact, most of them shouldn't involve surgery, in my opinion. I may be writing myself out of patients, but I can't recommend that everybody go under the knife. It's simply not necessary. You can look younger, your skin can look smoother and brighter, and you can feel better without plastic surgery. This book will show you how.

Nonsurgical techniques can't solve every problem, and I'll be sure to level with you when that's the case, but with the advent of technology and chemistry behind the antiaging revolution, they sure can solve a lot of problems that you may have right now. And I'm going to tell you all about those nonsurgical techniques—I'll also tell you when those so-called miracle products don't really do much of anything and when you should save your money for something more effective or enjoyable (like a glass of wine or a massage—both have antiaging properties!).

Fortunately for all of us who are concerned with the superficial effects of aging, there are many, many effective products—from topical creams to fancy technological devices—that really do make a difference. I strongly believe that nonsurgical treatments are the future of plastic surgery, and a source of real and meaningful solutions for those of you out there who would do almost anything to get rid of the sagging neck, the fine lines, the sun damage, the cellulite, or the bags under your eyes—anything except surgery.

In this book, I'll address all your cosmetic issues and show you everything you can do to turn back the clock and correct the minor (and even some of the major) things that really bug you, from stretch marks to wrinkles, from natural frowns to varicose veins, from yellow teeth to body odor. For each problem, you'll get a full range of strategies, from natural remedies to the latest cutting-edge products and tools. I've even provided you with an Age-Fix diet plan, to keep you younger from the inside out, starting today.

I'm not that guy on an infomercial trying to sell you a miracle. I'm the guy you can go out for a drink with after work and know he'll tell you what's what. Wouldn't it be great if you had a friend who happened to be a plastic surgeon, and you could ask that friend anything and get a straight answer? That's me, and that's this book.

I'll also be perfectly frank with you about what you can expect with different levels of treatment. And despite the premise of this book, I'll even tell you when plastic surgery really is the only good option. (This is true sometimes, but less often than you might think.)

In other words, this is a book you can trust, with information you can use, that really will make a difference in the reflection you see in the mirror. It is a bible of cosmetic remedies. Pick your trouble spots and watch the calendar flip backward. Watch your skin tighten, your flab firm up, your wrinkles melt, and your eccentricities morph into assets. All of this is possible… without surgery. The answers lie within these pages, so let's get an age fix. Let's dive in. You're going to come out looking like a younger version of you.


How beautiful do you feel? How young do you look? These are questions that plague my patients, sometimes more than they need to, but as a plastic surgeon, I tend to be the one people come to for the answers to their questions about how to look more beautiful and, especially, younger. They come to me looking for an age fix.

They've come to the right place. In order to give my patients the solutions they want, I've spent the past sixteen years researching the secrets of plastic surgeons, dermatologists, makeup artists, and dieticians, and I have compiled all the solutions I've discovered to nearly every beauty problem right here in this book.

But that doesn't address the real question I want you to think about as you read through these chapters. I want you to think about what beauty and youth really mean to you. Are they important? Are they too important? And do you seek them out of fear, or do you seek them out of an impulse to love and take care of yourself?

When I think of beauty, the first thing I think of is my wife. She is beautiful to me, and always will be, no matter what her age. I also think about my mom. Although she is nearly seventy, her skin is flawless, with barely a wrinkle. Yes, I may have injected a little Botox (just a little!), but she's never had any actual surgery. The real reason she looks so young and beautiful is because she eats the right foods and lives the right lifestyle, and especially because she takes care of her skin. Every time she visits me, she goes on a shopping spree in my office. This petite Korean woman brings a trash bag with her and empties my cabinets into it. This lotion, that moisturizer, that antioxidant. She loves trying new products and takes at least two of each for the road. And she uses all of it. It really shows.

But how can someone who doesn't have a plastic surgeon in the family continue to look younger and better, just like my mom has done? My mom has already given you some clues. You don't have to spend an awful lot of money, undergo painful procedures, or burn your skin with lasers. You begin with a firm foundation: a healthy life. You eat well, you move, and you enjoy yourself. And if you can use a few products, devices, and home remedies to tweak your results? All the better.

This book will be your guide. It is a collection of information about how to address every possible beauty and cosmetic issue—an antiaging resource providing information on a wide range of appearance-improving strategies from natural to chemical, simple to super-high-tech, short-term to long-term, including a dietary intervention for maintaining vitality and youthfulness. From face to feet, you'll get the inside scoop on how to bring out your youngest, freshest, most glowing self. The solutions I offer are actually fairly simple, whether you are looking to treat that small perceived imperfection that drives you crazy or do a complete makeover on your face and other parts of your body.

But I also want to emphasize that I'm not here to tell you what I think is wrong with your skin or your shape or the relative size or firmness of any part of you. I'm not here to judge how young or old you look, or to weigh in on any of the eccentricities, irregularities, and signature features that make you who you are. We all have our beauty issues, and as we age, we take on more… battle scars, stretch marks, crow's-feet, and laugh lines are all badges of honor, the beautiful patina of a fully lived life. There is nothing wrong with having any feature if it doesn't bother you.

But what if it does bother you? What if it interferes with your peace of mind, your happiness, your self-esteem (whether it should or not)? Knowing I'm a plastic surgeon, is there something you would like to tell me or show me, maybe in confidence, that you wish you could fix? Something that you wish was different—younger, smoother, smaller, larger, tighter, or higher than it is right now? Maybe there is just this one little thing that keeps you from feeling good about yourself—an eccentricity or an irregularity or an age-related alteration that you don't like when you see it in the mirror. If that sounds like you, then I'm here to help. No judgment, just solutions.


In this book, I cover many different types of techniques, gadgets, products, and remedies, and even a few procedures that can maximize your assets and help you look younger. Some of them you can make at home. Some of them you can buy at your local pharmacy. Some of them require a prescription from a medical doctor. Some (just a few) require an operating room. I offer you many options because I want you to have a lot of choices. Maybe mixing up a face cream in your own kitchen sounds like your idea of fun. Go for it! I've got recipes. Maybe spending a little extra money on a really high-quality wrinkle cream or eye cream is in your budget and on your list. Great! I'll tell you where to spend your money and where not to waste it. Maybe you are Botox curious. Cool! I'll tell you what you need to know (and allay your worst fears). Maybe having your doctor use a high-tech laser on your stretch marks or sagging skin is totally you. Awesome! I'll tell you exactly what you should know before you go.

From nose to toes, I've got secrets that will rejuvenate you, but before we get into those chapters, I want to take just a short time to explain the differences between the kinds of treatments I'll be talking about.

Several levels of intervention are possible for just about every body part you would like to improve. Essentially they come down to these four:

1. Natural: These interventions use the products of nature, like fruits or milk or oil, many of which you probably have in your own kitchen. Can you say "DIY"?

2. Chemical: These interventions use chemistry to your benefit. Many of these chemicals are derived from or synthesized from natural compounds but have been altered to be stronger and more potent. Some of these products are available over the counter, and some require a prescription from your plastic surgeon, dermatologist, or other doctor.

3. Technical: These are the gadgets, devices, and machines that aren't surgical in nature but that can make a real difference in how your skin looks. They includes things like lasers, pulsed light, ultrasound, and radiofrequency waves. These devices are very expensive, so most of the time you would require a visit to the doctor to use them. There are a few less powerful gadgets that you could invest in for home use.

4. Surgical: These are (obviously) the interventions that require a surgeon's practiced hand and include things like brow lifts, facelifts, breast augmentation, and liposuction. This is not the focus of this book, which is about the many, many nonsurgical antiaging resources available to you. However, if you do decide that you need plastic surgery for an issue that can't be handled any other way (and these do exist—I'll be sure to let you know), I'll give you a little bit of information to guide you.

Some people definitely gravitate toward the natural side of things. They like mixing up their own skin-care remedies at home and saving money on a DIY approach. Others are more likely to try more intense treatments because they want faster or more dramatic results. Some people enjoy the process of finding the most effective chemical treatments, like over-the-counter creams with the latest age-reversing ingredients. Some people like the fun of technical gadgets that can make them look younger. A few people may opt for a surgical procedure. You will have your opinions, but I will give you all the best options. Generally, I recommend chemical and technical solutions as the most effective, but I like many natural treatments, too. I'll give you the information you need. Let's talk about each one of these so you can best choose, in any of the following chapters, which kind of intervention will be best for what you want to do.


Natural methods are the least invasive. Unfortunately, they tend to be the least effective. However, there are some notable exceptions, which I will mention in this book—natural treatments that really do make a noticeable difference. This is good news, because a lot of people are very interested in natural treatments. I receive inquiries all the time from people seeking suggestions for less expensive, easier alternatives to the skin-care products and treatments that we sell in our office and that I've shared on TV. Many of these inquiries come from people for whom paying $20 for an over-the-counter retinol cream would be a stretch.

I once received a handwritten letter from an older woman who complained about terrible sun spots. She lived on a fixed income in rural Ohio and was hoping that I had a solution for her. She wrote, "I'd love to buy the ZO stuff you've talked about on TV, but to afford it I'd have to cancel my weekly Bunco night at Cracker Barrel with the ladies!" I wrote her back and told her to try one of the recipes you'll read about in chapter 4. It costs only pennies per application and, given enough time and dedication, can create some really nice changes. Four months later, I received a thank-you card with "before" and "after" photos of her. She looked great! Although some of her sun spots were still there, she had a definite improvement and was very happy. She recommended my sun-spot treatment to all her Bunco friends. So if you see a bunch of sun-spot-free faces at a Cracker Barrel Bunco party in rural Ohio, you'll know exactly what they're putting on their skin.

Making your own skin-care products at home is just one way to use natural treatments. Occasionally you can buy products with natural ingredients, but to me, natural remedies also include lifestyle shifts, like eating natural foods to look younger and practicing stress-management techniques to relax worry lines. I provide many recipes for homemade products throughout this book, and I share only those that I believe actually make a difference—but not every remedy works for every person (and that doesn't just apply to natural remedies). However, if you are oriented toward natural products, then you will want to look out for these.

There are some definite advantages to natural treatments. For one thing, you will avoid exposing your skin to too many of the negative aspects of commercially available products, like potentially harmful additives, including dyes, fragrances, preservatives, or other chemicals that could cause an allergic reaction. Natural products also tend to be much less expensive than commercially available options. The problem with many natural options you might hear about out in the world (and especially on the Internet) is that they don't really do anything. For example, there are some ingredients from your own kitchen that really do make a difference, like yogurt, but others that don't, and still others that may actually cause an allergic reaction just as distinct as one you might get from a commercially available product.

Unfortunately, there isn't an all-natural (or even a nonsurgical) solution to every cosmetic problem, but when they work, they can be a nice and inexpensive option.


Chemical treatments include things like chemical peels, prescription treatments, and commercially available skin-care products. Although nonsurgical and generally noninvasive, in many cases they can dramatically reverse aging. I once had a patient, Candace, who came in to see me for a facelift. She was in her late fifties and complained about wrinkles and fine lines on her face. She also didn't like the subtly loosening skin on her neck, her age spots, and her sun damage. I thought Candace was an appropriate candidate for facelift surgery, so we made plans to perform the operation six months later, at the time of her preplanned vacation. She asked me if, in the meantime, there was something she could do to improve her skin prior to surgery.

I started her on a combination of tretinoin, 4% hydroquinone, and alpha-hydroxy acid creams, at a total cost of less than $200. Three months later, Candace called to cancel her surgery. She was so happy with how much better the combination of creams made her skin look that she felt she no longer needed the facelift. She saved over $8,000, didn't miss a day of work, skipped going under the knife, and, best of all, looked great.

The advantage of chemical treatments over natural treatments is that they tend to make a more dramatic difference in less time. Natural products are gentle and slow, and chemical treatments can be too harsh for some people, but when they work, they tend to work pretty well. I recommend many chemical treatments throughout the next few chapters that I like and believe to be quite effective.

Of course, chemical treatments don't always work for everyone, usually because people may react poorly to them. Some chemical treatments may be too harsh, causing irritation, rashes, itching, or peeling. In some cases you might be able to find a less intense version of the same treatment. After seeing the great results that Candace achieved with my cocktail of skin creams, I decided to recommend that same combination to my mother. If it worked for Candace, who had terribly damaged skin, how great could it make my mom's skin, which was nicer than the skin of 95 percent of women her age? Not nice at all! She reacted horribly to it, she developed a rash, and her skin flaked off all over. She looked like she'd forgotten her sunblock and fallen asleep while sunning herself on a beach in Mexico. As many people can attest, hell hath no fury like a Korean mother whose face looks like the inside of a pomegranate! I started her on soothing moisturizers and steroid creams, and she wore a surgical mask over her face in an attempt to hide the shame. Within two weeks, her skin finally cleared up, thank God! (My dad and I were also extremely thankful!)


Technical intervention is fun for those of us who like gadgets. These treatments can be divided into two groups: at-home and in-office. These days, consumers have access to all sorts of at-home gadgets that promise results similar to those we get with the treatments we perform in our offices. These devices range from the tried and proven (such as at-home microdermabrasion) to the large, bulky, and sometimes unrealistic (an at-home version of our in-office cellulite treatments). Then there is the advanced technology (like home laser hair removal) and devices that are just plain ridiculous (like a device that supposedly causes your nose to change shape). While none of these gadgets can typically approach the results of surgery or in-office treatments, some of them can be a valid alternative for people who want to save money and address issues in the comfort of their own homes.

In-office cosmetic treatments are now a multibillion-dollar industry. What started back in the 1990s with simple but effective CO2 ablative laser resurfacing has expanded over the last several decades to include laser hair removal, wrinkle reduction, skin tightening, tattoo removal, acne reduction, and even what I call the Holy Grail of Plastic Surgery: noninvasive fat reduction. Yes, you can now lose fat and inches without having to diet or exercise! It's amazing how far in-office technology has come. In fact, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, over the last dozen years the number of nonsurgical cosmetic procedures performed in the United States has increased 144 percent, while the number of cosmetic surgeries has actually declined 12 percent! Today, it's all about getting results without going under the knife.

Unfortunately, sometimes the hype of these technological devices precedes proof that they actually work. In fact, some device manufacturers use what is essentially a flaw in the approval system to allow them to sell and even market devices that are declared safe, but not necessarily effective. Cosmetic medical devices can be considered "FDA-cleared" or "FDA-approved." A device can be considered FDA-cleared if the manufacturer and the FDA agree that it is very similar to another device already on the market and is deemed safe to use. Becoming FDA-approved is a more rigorous process, used for devices for which there aren't other, similar approved models on the market. What makes it even more confusing is that some devices may be FDA-cleared for one indication but used and marketed by physicians for a completely different indication. For example, some devices may be FDA-cleared for pain reduction, yet plastic surgeons use them to reduce fat.

So the big question is: Which devices actually work? Plastic surgeons and dermatologists have an inside joke regarding obsolete devices or ones that never worked in the first place:

PLASTIC SURGEON #1: So, Dr. Shmo, I'm thinking of buying the Super Laser. How is it working for you?

PLASTIC SURGEON #2: It's working great! As a very expensive coat hanger.

Many older plastic surgeons have several of these types of devices sitting in their offices gathering dust. I once had a plastic surgeon who worked in my building move out to a different office. On his way out, he dropped off a skin-rejuvenation machine that he had bought about eight years earlier for approximately $60,000. The device claimed to tighten the skin by deep-heating it, and was even heavily promoted on TV talk shows. He told me that he couldn't figure out how to get good results with it and ended up bequeathing it to me as a gift. "Maybe you can figure out how to get people happy with this," he said. Well, I'm not one for using old technology on my patients, especially technology that was never proven to actually, consistently work, so it sat in my storage room for months. I finally decided to put it on eBay and sold it for $4,500 to a laser-refurbishing company. I used the money to make a down payment on a fence to keep the scary dogs next door out of my yard.

In the upcoming chapters I will give you tips and advice on which devices work, which ones don't, and which ones on which the jury is still out. I hope I can keep you from wasting money and get you on the right track to using technology to remove the years. Because you may need that money for a fence.


None of my patients actually want surgery, and I don't want to perform surgery on them. Surgery always has risks, and unless there is absolutely no other option available, I would prefer to do something less invasive. Sometimes this is the case.

A couple of years ago, a man came in for a consultation. He wanted to smooth his nasolabial folds. These are the lines that extend from the sides of your nose to the corners of your mouth, and they are typically shaped like commas. He was very flustered and said he had tried everything to get rid of them. He even went to one of those chain facelift centers (you know, the ones with half-hour infomercials on Saturday morning cable TV) and asked them for suggestions on how to treat his nasolabial folds. The "patient consultant" convinced him that their special lunchtime facelift would do the trick. She even pulled his cheeks back to show him how his comma signs would go away. After he'd paid $6,000 and undergone a painful two-hour operation, his nasolabial folds were still there. But now he had god-awful permanent scars around his ears to show for it. When he complained about it, the medical assistant told him that the doctor was no longer available to see him and that there was nothing else they could do. That was when he came to see me.

After $550 and one syringe of Juvederm, his nasolabial folds were gone. That was all he needed in the first place. Any plastic surgeon worth a nickel knows that facelifts don't treat nasolabial folds. Injectable fillers do. He emptied his bank account, underwent painful surgery by inexperienced hands, and gained permanent scars for nothing.

In other words, there are many, many times when surgery is not the answer. Most of the time, there are valid and even highly effective noninvasive solutions. The only major exceptions, which I will explain later in this book, are for breast augmentation, excessive hanging stomach skin, and drooping upper eyelids. In these cases, surgery is the only really good option if you find you can't live with your issue. Otherwise, you should never need to go under the plastic surgeon's knife, at least for antiaging issues. There are so many other fantastic and effective treatments you can explore that surgery can simply be a nonissue.

Doing Nothing


  • "Dr. Youn is a frequent guest on my show, and I can say without a doubt that he's a cut above the rest."—Rachael Ray

On Sale
Dec 26, 2017
Page Count
256 pages

Anthony Youn, MD

About the Author

Anthony Youn, M.D. F.A.C.S is a nationally-recognized, board-certified plastic surgeon who is considered one of the country’s best-known experts in looking younger with or without surgery. Recognized as a leader in his field, Dr. Youn is valued for his honest approach and ability to speak to all areas of health and well-being. In addition to being a regular expert on The Rachael Ray Show, The Dr. Oz Show, and The Doctors, Dr. Youn’s has been featured on Good Morning America, Today, CBS This Morning, Fox News, CNN, HLN, and E!, and in theNew York Times, USA Today, and People magazine. Dr. Youn is also a regular contributor for,, and The Huffington Post.

A national lecturer, Dr. Youn is the author of In Stitches, his critically-acclaimed and award-winning memoir of becoming a doctor (Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster, 2011). Named a “Top Plastic Surgeon” by U.S. News and World Report and Harper’s Bazaar, Dr. Youn is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He is an Assistant Professor of Surgery at the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine.

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