Michigan Avenue Magazine, "Facing the future"

May 1, 2012

The latest nonsurgical antiaging procedure yields surprisingly positive results-and our town’s one of the only places to get it. 

As I’m driving to observe the new ePrime procedure, my cell phone rings. It’s my sister. Again. “Take good notes and sign us up,” she reminds me for the fifth time that day. “I’m all over it,” I assure her. I park and make my way toward Advanced Dermatology, Dr. Amy Forman Taub’s office, located in the heart of suburban Lincolnshire.

Dr. Taub, a pioneer and a leader in the war on aging, has been practicing for more than two decades and, along with her staff, treats 25,000 patients a year. Recently her practice was chosen by Syneron as one of the only 10 training sites in North America to administer the cutting-edge ePrime procedure with a state-of-the art device that adds volume and changes skin tone and texture without surgery. In short, it operates on radio frequency technology and uses heat to naturally stimulate the production of new collagen, elastin, and hydraulic acid, restoring a more youthful appearance. And unlike Botox treatments and the like, which need to be repeated every four to six months, ePrime is a “one-shot” procedure.

“It is really amazing,” the doctor explains. “This procedure gives you a third of what an actual face-lift gives you-volume, life, improved skin tone, and elasticity-without using anything invasive.” The ePrime procedure is a newbie on the aesthetic market-only 300 have been implemented since the FDA-approved technology debuted just under a year ago.

“None of the toxins [such as Botox] does the trick on the upper cheek and excessive jowls under the chin and neckline,” she continues “That’s why ePrime is so exciting.”

I’ve come to Dr. Taub’s office to watch her administer the procedure to one of her patients, Mary Marcus. Marcus just turned 50, but looks a good 10 years younger (and that’s before ePrime). Two days earlier Marcus and I spoke on the phone about why she was getting the procedure and what she hoped ePrime would do.

“I feel a little nervous but excited for the result,” says the tawny-haired real estate broker from Northbrook. “I’ve done other treatments, like Botox, but I would never have an actual face-lift.” She pauses, “I want to age gracefully. I’m up for anything that will reverse the clock without going under the knife.”

Within a half hour of arrival, Marcus is being prepared for ePrime, which takes just 30 to 45 minutes. I join Dr. Taub and her assistants in her surgical room to watch the in-office procedure. A local anesthetic is administered, and Marcus (still wearing her heels) talks throughout, reassuring me that she is not in any pain. Her face has been marked with purple flaglike formations on both cheeks and under her chin. Using the heated, sterile, pistol-like applicator filled with micro-needles (five pairs of 32 electrodes, to be exact), Dr. Taub leans forward and injects the device 1 to 2 millimeters directly into the skin. These sensors will serve to later stimulate collagen production.

Precision is the key, says the doctor. Each puncture is timed and exact. Syneron handpicked only those dermatologists and plastic surgeons considered extremely skilled and experienced, a good thing considering that burning can occur if ePrime is handled improperly.

“You okay, Mary?” I keep asking.

“Doing great,” she responds from the table as Stevie Nicks belts it out in the background. The mood in the surgical room is upbeat, designed to ensure the patient is comfortable and anxiety-free during the procedure. Afterward, patients can be bruised and swollen for about seven to 10 days, and some bleeding is expected. The real results occur six to eight weeks post-treatment, while optimal results, explains Dr. Taub, come about at the three-month mark. The cost for ePrime ranges from $3,000-$5,000.

So, is it worth it?

Absolutely, cheers Mariola Jasinski, a fiftyish self-employed financial services professional from Lake Zurich, whom the doctor treated in July.

“From day to day I look better, but now after two months, I look almost 10 years younger,” Jasinski says. “My wrinkles disappeared, my skin is glowing, even most of my facial capillaries are gone, and from both my male and female friends, who keep saying, ‘Wow, you look amazing. Did you do something?’ I just laugh in response.”

Jasinski adds that post-procedure she felt a tremendous boost not only physically but also emotionally. “I went through a very tough time after my divorce. Now I feel so good about the way I look, I hardly need to wear makeup anymore.” She laughs. “I even dyed my dark hair blonde to match my new look.”

I leave Mary Marcus, Dr. Taub, and her crew to finish up the procedure. I’m in the parking lot when, predictably, my cell rings.

“So,” my sister says. “Did you sign us up?”

Glancing in my rear-view mirror, I see the fine line emerging, the crow’s feet staking their claim on my face. “Oh yeah,” I Assure her. “You and I are definitely not going down without a fight.”