Dr. Melanie Bone is a beloved gynecologist devoted to helping women achieve their maximum health and well-being. Since opening her own practice in 1991 in Palm Beach County, Dr. Bone has delivered thousands of babies and provided gynecological care to countless women in her community, all while raising four children and surviving Stage III breast cancer. Currently serving on the Board of Directors of BreastCancer.org, Dr. Bone is involved in a number of nonprofit organizations including her very own, Dr. Bone's Cancer Comforts, which is devoted to providing goods to ease cancer treatments. She also writes a weekly column in the Palm Beach Post called “Surviving Life” and authored a book with the Reverend Dr. Richard Cromie titled A Journey Through Cancer.

A strong believer in aging gracefully without cowing to societal pressures to appear younger, Dr. Bone has taken a keen interest in helping her patients feel beautiful inside and out. In the past year, her practice expanded to offer non-invasive beauty procedures and products, located on the web at BeautytotheBone.com. Given her medical background and her recent foray into the cosmetic realm, Dr. Bone offers a unique perspective on looking and feeling young.

How did you get involved in the medical beauty industry?

Over the years, my patients had asked for my advice on how to stay youthful and how to keep skin looking its best. Though I would refer them to specialists in the area, my patients kept returning and saying that they wished they could stay put because they trusted me. Having always been afflicted with cellulite, I had an opportunity to try the VelaShape last October. I was amazed at the improvement I saw six weeks after the full treatment and decided to invest in a machine to use on my patients.

How does VelaShape work?

VelaShape uses a technology called elos, which heats up fatty tissues in the treatment area and manipulates tissue to even out the skin. The procedure only takes about 40 minutes, and after a series of four sessions, I have seen impressive results. Obviously, these results will last longer if you treat your body right, eating reasonably, taking vitamins or supplements if indicated, and maintaining an exercise regimen.

What other procedures does your practice currently offer?

The same technology that powers VelaShape can also be used for skin resurfacing and tightening. The first machine with elos energy technology that I purchased, called Aurora, could remove age spots, hair, and wrinkles. I have since upgraded to a machine called eMax, which features an infrared head for fine lines and the “Matrix” head that goes deeper into skin. The combination of radio frequency and light energies in elos safely target hyperpigmentation, vascular lesions, and redness from rosacea. It can also heat the dermal tissue within the treatment area to stimulate collagen production and produce a firming effect where skin is lax or wrinkled. While most applications don’t require any downtime, the Matrix is the one component that may cause a day or two of redness and discomfort because it works deeper. We use topical anesthetic ointment for analgesia. This procedure makes the skin look younger and rejuvenated by breaking down skin and then allowing it to rebuild as part of the healing process. A series of three treatments lasts for a long time, much better than the chemical peels of old.

Do you think that non-invasive technology will one day replace cosmetic surgery?

No, I do not feel that plastic surgery is a dying art. Instead, the non-invasive procedures compliment the invasive ones. Rhinoplasty, breast augmentation, and many other cosmetic procedures will always be around.

What are your favorite skin care products?

Niacin, or vitamin B3, has shown to be very beneficial for skin. It can help DNA repair itself naturally and help the skin turn over new cells. I carry the Nia24 line, which is a full system for preventing and treating signs of UV-related skin damage. It is also endorsed by Dr. Oz. I use NeoCutis products on my own skin and on all my patients following their treatments. The Biocream, combined with Journee, follows every foto-facial. NeoCutis uses Human Growth Factors, derived under very stringent guidelines, to promote collagen formation and rejuvenation through the fibroblasts. I am also a fan of the Clarisonic brush. But if I had to pick one item to take with me to a deserted island, it would be a sunscreen/moisturizer as these two elements are the key to looking good.

What specific cosmetic ingredients do you look for?

Besides niacin, I look for retinols (vitamin As) and vitamin C. Green tea extract is great for rosacea and has shown promise for treating pre-cancerous skin cells. With fetal cells, the concept is that younger skin is more supple, moisturized, and elastic and that this state can be restored through regular topical application.

What are some new trends you have noticed in skin care?

There has been a move away from chemicals and an increased emphasis on botanicals. Lately, I have noticed less of an interest in hydroxy acids, which were long used as the mainstay of beauty for their exfoliation. We now understand that younger-looking skin is not simply a matter of exfoliating. We need to be more focused on collagen renewal and getting antioxidants into skin. I think the beauty industry is trying to use more natural products with plant-derived factors to rejuvenate in the same way that bio-identical hormones are used to mimic the natural hormonal state of a woman in her reproductive years.

Keep reading for the second part of our interview with Dr. Bone.