Plastic Surgery Plastic Surgery

Vixen Chat: Plastic Surgery Trends, Precautions, and Tips with Dr. Alessi of the Alessi Institutes and Face Forward Foundation

In this day and age, getting plastic surgery is no longer anything to be ashamed of. Everyone has a few things about themselves they wish they could change, but not everyone takes the steps to alter those imperfections  permanently. Dr. Alessi of the Alessi Institutes and Face Forward Foundation thoroughly informed us exactly what is going on in the world of plastic surgery, from to current trends that are being requested, to the precautions that should be taken before considering making physical adjustments.


Photo Credit(s): Getty Images

Plastic Surgery

Vibe Vixen: Dr. Alessi, can you walk us through your day-to-day as a plastic surgeon?

Dr. Alessi: I’m an official plastic surgeon. I do Rhinoplasty, facelifts, obviously the non-surgical things such as injectables and fillers and things like that.

VV: What procedures are popular and trending in plastic surgery right now?

Things that are trending nowadays is adding volume back, because as somebody ages, not only does their skin sag, but they actually lose volume. So, the best example is to think of a 90-year-old lady, kind looks like a skeleton, so we do a lot of things where we add volume back. What we do is basically coach the patient in the terms of what they really need. Since we do injections as well as fat transfers as well as surgery, we can give what the patient needs. The common trend, and I thinks it is kind of unfortunate, is that there is a philosophy with some doctors that if you have a crinkly balloon and you inflate it enough the balloon and melt it, it will get rid of all the crinkles.  What some doctors who only do injectables do is, put so much injectables into somebody’s face, they come out looking like these massive balloon heads, and it looks horrible. So the whole idea is to add fillers back, but not to destruct the face while you’re doing that.

VV: Can you give us an example of someone whose fillers have gone wrong?

DA: A classic example is Donatella Versace. She has horrible lips and she has too much filler in her cheeks, and it has actually made her folds look worse instead of pushing the whole face down. And the interesting thing is that it's pretty popular. Adding volume back is okay as long as it’s done judiciously.

kim k booty

VV: Another type of fat transfer that has become really popular is the Brazilian butt lift. Can you explain what the procedure entails?

DA: A Brazilian butt lift is where fat is taken from some places with liposuction and then transferred to another place. Other common places for fat to be injected is either going to be the breasts or the buttocks, but lot of people who come in bring photos of the Brazilian models. Everyone wants to have those Brazilian bubble butts.

VV: Which celebrity's picture is most requested in the butt category?

DA: You would think, because she is famous for her bottom, Kim Kardashian, would be most peoples choice but actually very few people come in wanting to have her butt. I get a lot of Justin Timberlake’s wife, I can’t think of her name.

VV:  Jessica Biel?

DA: Yeah, Jessica Biel. People will bring in people who I don’t know who they are, but basically want the a backside mimicking Brazilian models. Instead of wide hips and a big butt, they have thinner hips and a bubble butt.

VV: So thinner hips are more popular now versus wider hips ?

DA: Yes. Many  people want the thin waist, and some people are doing rib binding, where actually sometimes they’ll take out one of the ribs to make their waist look thinner. Or they’ll do the binding where it basically gradually compresses the rib cage. So the rib cage is curved inwards, which I don’t think is a healthy trend because it’s pushing the diaphragm as well as the stomach content into the chest cavity, which could result to hernias and other really disastrous problems. It’s not something we would encourage, but you can still have a nice thin waste with liposuction if you need to. Liposuction is meant for somebody who is in a good physical state; a lot of people use it as a form of weight control, but that is actually not what it is designed for. The classic example would be a woman who works out, watches her weight, but still has large saddle bags, and no matter how much weight she would lose the saddle bags would still be there. That’s a perfect candidate for a liposuction procedure.


Plastic Surgery

VV: What are some things people should research before they decide to come to you for a procedure?

DA: First of all, they need to research the doctor and make sure they are board certified. And then, make sure they get references from them and get before and after pictures to get a good feel for the doctor, and talk to a couple of other people to make sure they’re in the ball park. Number two is that, bringing in pictures as a platform to us is o.k. I think the things that scare us as plastic surgeons are patients that come in and say, “I want to look just like her”. People who try to transform themselves to look like Michael Jackson and stuff like that.  Those patients are problem patients and are potentially plastic surgery addicts. Ethically we have to stay away from those patients if we can. If you look at pictures just to get an idea of how to formulate or form an opinion as to what you really want to have done, then talk to a surgeon and we can discuss what is logical and what’s not logical just to be realistic. Also, especially for facial procedures, it’s good to always have imaging done to know what you’ll look like with the procedure.

VV: What are some of the most popular celebrity-inspired procedures your patients ask for?

DA: Getting back to celebrities for lips, you would think a lot of people would want to have Angelina Jolie’s lips, but actually it’s not that common. The most requested lips we get, is people brining in pictures of Scarlett Johansson. People who are requesting nose surgery say they want to have a nose like Kate Middleton. The most common breasts would be Selma Hayek. For cheekbones, a lot of people want Kerry Washington’s.

 VV: What do you usually tell your patients who are unsure about undergoing procedures ?

DA: First of all, you’re having surgery done so there are associated risks with that. Basically be informed of what your realistic expectations are. That is actually what the surgeon does for most of the visit, is actually giving the patient what their realistic expectations should be in the terms of any procedure that is done. Number two; ask if there are any non-invasive options they can go to. For anti-aging, in terms of fillers, even cheek and chin implants you can do non-invasive procedures initially to see if you actually like it. For example, if someone comes in and says they want Kerry Washington’s cheek bones, but “I’m not really sure if I’m going to like it or not”. So what you do it, you put in a filler that will last you about a year and if the patient likes it, then the can come back and have something more permanent done.




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That Glow, Tho: How To Revive Your Skin After A Brick A** Winter

Whew, chile! Freshly fallen snow may be nice to look at, but the dry skin that accompanies the winter months ain’t it. And by the time the first tulip blooms come springtime, best believe your skin—which just endured months of humidity-deprived conditions—is super parched. Pass the moisturizer, please!

“The lack of humidity during the winter months is the main cause for the ‘winter’s itch’ and dryness,” Dr. Meena Singh, board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon, told VIBE Vixen over email. And let’s not forget how the shorter days rob us ladies of the melanated variety of our warm and natural glow.

Luckily, there are many ways to combat such cold weather woes, both during and after the winter.

“I personally change my regimen significantly between seasons,” Singh added. “In the winter time, I am more prone to use heavier ointments and butters. Whereas in the spring, I can typically get away with moisturizing with emollient creams and lotions.”

But that’s not all you can do to whip your skin back into shape. Looking to bring your fly and radiant self back to life? Look no further. Vixen reached out to five women of color dermatologists, who’ve shared the following tips to help you get started.


Hydrate From Within.

How many times have you asked a woman with bomb skin what her secret is and been met with the “I drink a lot of water” response? Did you figuratively roll your eyes? We’ve been there and we get it, especially since science says genetics do play a role in how your skin behaves—but homegirl wasn’t wrong!

Dr. Fran E. Cook-Bolden, board-certified NYC dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon, tells Vixen that while you may not feel as thirsty when it’s cold out, it’s still important to stay hydrated and drink your eight glasses of water a day.

“The best way to avoid dry skin in the winter is to tackle it from the inside out,” she says.

Other ways to stay hydrated? suggests eating fruits such as apples, pears, and clementines, which are all over 80% water. Plus, not only will the vitamin C content of these fruits help you ward off the flu in the winter, but they’ll also keep you cool and refreshed once the weather warms up.

We stan a multifaceted solution.

Don't Forget To Cleanse.

As important as it is to drink your eight glasses a day, it’s also important to keep up with your cleansing routine—even if you’re not sweating as much.

In fact, board-certified Chicago dermatologist Dr. Caroline Robinson tells Vixen that maintaining moisture during the harsh winter months begins with cleansing. Washing our face removes makeup, dirt, and debris from the day, preventing buildup and breakouts. This also means the expensive serums and moisturizers you’ve probably splurged on are better absorbed by the skin.

But don’t overdo it!

“I find that many patients are over-cleansing, over-exfoliating or using cleansers that are not appropriate for their skin type and this is causing excess dryness,” she added. “Using a more mild cleanser can help tremendously in the battle against dryness.”

Our dermatologist-recommended favorite? CeraVe’s Hydrating Cleanser Bar.

It may also help to reconsider what you’re washing with when the weather changes. Dr. Rosemarie Ingleton, Medical Director of Ingleton Dermatology, adds that as the temperatures go up, your routine should become “less heavy.”

“Switch from more hydrating cleaners and oils to foamy, gel-based cleaners” and to “a lighter weight daily moisturizer,” she advises. And if you’ve been skimping on the SPF don’t—you’ll definitely need it when the sun is back in these streets.

Keeping Up With "Wash Day" Is Important, Too.

Otherwise, you may end up with a condition called seborrheic dermatitis, which often appears on the scalp as a result of product buildup, but can also show up in skin folds such as behind the ears, under the breasts, etc.

“A dry, itchy and flaking scalp is very common in the winter and becomes more common as the frequency of washing the hair decreases,” Cook-Bolden tells Vixen. “When seborrheic dermatitis presents, it’s a common belief that applying scalp lotions, gels or pomades will help to treat the condition and is indeed sometimes helpful in temporarily soothing the itching and irritation.

However, as these products build up on the scalp, they can actually worsen the inflammation and overall worsen seborrheic dermatitis.”

So keep up with your hair care regimen, and if you do find yourself with a case of the seborrheic itchies, don’t hesitate to reach out to your dermatologist for an anti-inflammatory treatment.

Ceramides & Antioxidants Are Your Friends.

If you’re not familiar with ceramides and their superpowers, now’s the time to get familiar. Why? Because they can be extremely healing for desiccated skin.

As Atlanta board-certified dermatologist Dr. Tiffany Clay explains, ceramides are fats in the surface of the skin. When added to skin care products, they not only help your skin retain moisture, but they also give your skin a boost after being exposed to the elements like pollution and icy wind.

In terms of what to use, you’ll want to look for products described as “non-comedogenic,” which means a product is less likely to clog your pores. Additionally, products containing hyaluronic acid (HA) are also a win because of its ability to attract and hold water at the surface of the skin.

“I typically recommend patients keep their antioxidant serum/lotion (vitamin C) and their retinol on board no matter the season,” Clay also notes. “Over- the- counter retinols and prescription retinoids are vitamin A derived medications that most people use in a topical form.”

And they’re a major win-win. Using retinols/retinoids short term will help exfoliate your skin and give you that Kelly Rowland glow. Their long-term use helps to promote collagen production in the skin, minimizing fine lines and decreasing excess melanin production, which will even your complexion, reduce hyperpigmentation, and help reduce photo-damage.

As for vitamin C, look at it as SPF’s best friend.

“Vitamin C is an antioxidant that, when applied topically in combination with daily sun protection, decreases free-radical damage from ultraviolet exposure,” Clay shares.

Those rays don’t stand a chance.

Exfoliate, But Make It Gentle.

It may be tempting to grab the St. Ives but don’t. Instead, Clay suggests, get acquainted with chemical exfoliants like glycolic acid, lactic acid, mandolin acid, or salicylic acid.

These strong but gentle powerhouses typically come labeled as AHAs and BHAs (alpha hydroxy acid and beta hydroxy acid) and are way less harsh on the skin. Those over-the-counter scrubs you’re used to? They tend to leave scrapes and cuts on the skin, which can lead to inflammation and—you guessed it—hyperpigmentation... and we ain’t ask for all’at.

If you do decide to use a traditional scrub, Ingleton suggests trying Dove’s Exfoliating Body Scrub.

“This will help to slough away dry, dead cells on the surface and also hydrate/moisturize the skin in the process,” she says. “Apply a hydrating body lotion after doing the scrub.”

But again, be gentle!

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Kylie Jenner attends the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

Kylie Jenner Doubles Down On Being Crowned A "Self Made" Billionaire

The premise of "self-made" and its interpretation when it comes to privileged celebrities has been a huge debate. When Kylie Jenner was named Forbes' youngest self-made billionaire, debates were raised due to her timeline in the limelight and her wealthy family. The 21-year-old defended her title, explaining how she doesn't fall into any ofter category.

"There’s really no other word to use other than self-made because that is the truth," she said in Q&A with Interview Magazine's German edition. "That is the category that I fall under," she started.

She acknowledged how her fan base equated to her success but refuted claims that she used her family's money to jump-start her wildly successful Kylie Cosmetics line.

"Although, I am a special case because before I started Kylie Cosmetics, I had a huge platform and lots of fans. I did not get money from my parents past the age of 15. I used 100 percent of my own money to start the company, not a dime in my bank account is inherited… and I am very proud of that."

Earlier this month (March 5) the mother-of-one officially surpassed Mark Zuckerberg as the youngest person to reach billionaire status, when Kylie Cosmetics hit a billion dollars in revenue.

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'Boomerang' Episode 7 Recap: Family Matters And Pride

Bryson and Simone are a thing, like for real for real. They can’t keep their hands (or tongues) off of one another. As the two of them get steamy in the jacuzzi, a sexually riled up Simone tells her new beau that she wants to treat his face like a bean bag. They are in it, y’all. There’s just one problem — they may be half-brother and sister (insert vomit emoji here). The excitement of finally landing the girl of his dreams is shut down when he reveals that his mother, Jacqueline, informed him that Marcus Graham may be his papa. (Wait. Does that mean Marcus cheated on Angela back in the day? Regardless, what a way to ruin a mood.)

As they wait for the DNA test results, Simone and Bryson still try to be business as usual, you know, chillin’ like they used to. Speaking of business, Bryson is all that. Ari may be his boy and all, but when it comes to directing Tia’s music video, Bryson wants an Italian dude to shoot it instead. He just doesn’t believe Ari can execute. All great directors have vision and through Bryson’s eyes, Ari has none. Simone can’t help but agree. It’s obvious that Tia and her bae are not at all pleased with the video production of her single. Bro gotsta go. Tia has never been one to hold back and in a fit of frustration, she does what Simone couldn’t verbalize; she fires Ari.

Like the “big bad boss” he is, Bryson harshly tells Ari that not only will he basically fail at being a producer, but people will notice that he doesn’t belong here. Hold up. Are we sure Bryson and Ari are friends? Tough love is understandable but to completely obliterate the dreams of someone you’ve been rocking with? That’s foul. Unlike Ari, Bryson knows that he was brought up with the keys and basically helped himself to whatever role he wanted in the industry, a luxury he can afford to extend. Why not help your friend out now even with a little guidance knowing his career aspirations?

Bryson may be able to but Simone is not willing to give up on Ari just yet. She lets Ari collaborate Bryson’s pick, Shayan, who is also seemingly having a hard time capturing dope shots. A conversation with Simone about perfecting his craft leaves Ari somewhat disappointed but open to the constructive criticism.

While enjoying the Atlanta Black Pride festivities, an old filing recognizes Ari and waves him down. In catching up, the discussion quickly takes a turn to sexual orientation labels with a judgemental tone and Ari is not having it. Sure, while he was with her, he liked women but sometimes he’d rather be with a man. “Bisexual,” “Gay,” call it whatever, he just likes who he likes, refuses to be put in a box, and there’s nothing wrong with that. What is not about to happen is him being judged by a woman with five kids and three baby favas. Yikes.

That frustration instantly births inspiration. Instead of dryly shooting Tia performing with Pride weekend just happening around her, Ari points out how the world needs to see all black people not caring about what anyone has to say about them, especially when the world includes women rocking $12 jewelry. Sashayers, milly-rockers, and twerkers galore, the video shines on the culture, highlighting Kings and Queens of all shades, ages, genders, and sexualities. It’s a good time. Even Bryson can give up his props and that lead director credit to Ari. You see, Bryson? You gotta have a little faith like David always has.

Speaking of our fave pastor, unlike many Baptist churches, it’s amazing to see that David embraces and participates in the Atlanta Black Pride weekend. With the help of Crystal, David is preaching a message of loving who you are and loving others. His sermon last week no doubt spoke to the soul but if you recall, Crystal did notice that a lovely lady attended the service moreso for David and less so for Jesus. That obviously triggered something. Crystal and David may not have been able to work out their marriage but the attraction is absolutely still there. Could it be one-sided though?

You didn’t think we forgot about Bryson and Simone, did you? It should be noted that for his entire life, all Bryson ever wanted was to be like Marcus Graham, but not like this. David is right: be careful what you pray for. No matter the outcome of the paternity test, Simone and Bryson will undoubtedly be in one another’s life (maybe less like Whitley and Dwayne and more like Denise and Theo).

Well, folks, the results are in (insert Maury voice). In the case of Bryson J. Broyer, Marcus, you are NOT the father! But, you may still have some ‘splaining to do. Now that they are officially not related, Simone can finally go ahead and have that seat. We know, sis has been tired all day. Ow!

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