Beneath the Surface of Anti-Aging: Q&A with Dr. Anna Baker
by Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer
As another year draws to a close, we are once again confronted with the passage of time and its effect on our bodies. The grooves, furrows, lines, droops and wrinkles in our faces are reminders that age is inevitable—and none of us are exempt.
However, while we cannot rewind the clock, we can restore the same fresh, radiant, youthful appearance that once greeted us in the mirror. I’m not talking about those “quick fix” potions in the cosmetic aisle filled with artificial, chemical additives we can barely pronounce. These claim to transform us back into our younger selves, but their results are short-lived, and their ingredient lists can be toxic.
On the contrary, I’m referring to a natural and sustainable alternative that not only reclaims the vibrance of youth, but probes beneath the surface to rejuvenate skin cells, retighten facial muscles and create long-term results.
So how is all of this possible? Enter: Dr. Anna Baker, an inventor, engineer, Doctor of Oriental Medicine and the founder of two anti-aging modalities—Faces by Dr. Anna and Pearl Cream by Dr. Anna. She has also been named Sarasota’s favorite anti-aging practitioner, and it was an honor to speak with her for this month’s “Community Spotlight.”
Natural Awakenings: What occurs in the skin’s aging process, both on the surface and at the cellular depth, and why are most mainstream skincare products or services unable to achieve sustainable anti-aging results?
Dr. Anna: The cosmetic industry refers to “skin aging” as a person grows older, but it is more a function of muscles beneath the skin losing their tone. Those who do resistance training on the body will understand that muscles are held at both ends on the skeletal bones, so that exercise can tighten them which makes the toned muscles smaller.
However, facial muscles cannot be exercised because they are held at just one end on the skull. The other end is held by the skin which is elastic and, therefore, impossible to use for resistance. The first indicators of muscle aging start in a person’s mid-twenties. These changes are difficult to see because, as the muscles begin to lose their tone, they expand and puff out which causes the face to grow fuller.
This continues in the thirties until enough tone has diminished that, as the forties approach, the face starts to become longer and flatter. Then as a person reaches their fifties, the changes are noticeable as the face widens and flattens even more. By this time, the cheeks will lose fullness and droop into the jawline, and the jowls will start to appear. The muscles continue losing their tone in the sixties, seventies and beyond which causes a progression of more lines, folds and wrinkles in face.
This process is like when a balloon deflates. When a person is young, they have a small, tight, inflated balloon. However, as they age and lose muscle “air,” their balloon becomes longer, flatter and rippled from the deflation.
The reason that mainstream anti-aging products do not yield sustainable results is because they use chemicals which micro-burn the skin. The body then sends collagen and other repair products to heal this burn damage which puffs the area out temporarily, making the user think their fine lines and wrinkles are gone. But when the body heals, the repair chemicals are removed, and those lines or wrinkles return—sometimes deeper than before the treatment. Some of these products are applied daily, so the micro-damage never has a chance to heal, leading to the potential of skin cancer after long-term use.
Doctors warn against sunburns due to the cancer risk, but too often, they will damage the skin with a host of treatments like chemical peels, laser surfacing, microdermabrasion, intense pulse light (IPL), micro-needling and the list continues. All of these treatments work temporarily just until the damage is healed.
NA: Will you describe how your acupuncture facelift technique works, the results it can deliver and what differentiates it from other anti-aging procedures?
Dr. Anna: Faces by Dr. Anna is an acupuncture facelift technique that I invented which retightens the muscles back from their natural progression of aging over a series of treatments. The muscles are retightened by 12 small, hair-thin needles placed on the scalp and neck in muscle attachment groups. I then use a special quantum-level manipulation which causes the muscles to retighten in small additive steps through the course of each treatment.
Patients can choose how far back they want to reverse the aging, so to help with that decision, I show them photographed results that accurately depict the before-and-after process of this technique. When a patient reaches a level they want to maintain, the aging does not stop; however, only one treatment is required every 18 months to maintain the lift. This result is unique among all the other non-surgical techniques.
The method of acupuncture facelift done by other practitioners just inserts needles on the cheeks to puff them out with micro-damage, and this has to be performed monthly. That form of treatment cannot be used on any other areas of the face and neck, but my procedure retightens all muscles of the face and neck including the eyelids, nose, ears, lips and eyebrows.
NA: Now on a similar note, will you describe your Pearl Cream skincare line, what ingredients it contains, the results it can deliver, and what differentiates this product from other variations currently on the market?
Dr. Anna: Pearl Cream by Dr. Anna achieves the exact same muscle retightening outcomes as my acupuncture facelift—it’s just a slower, more gradual process. Pearls have been used in Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years to heal and rebuild the skin muscle after injuries or burns. They were also used as an ancient beauty secret of the Chinese empresses.
Pearls are formed when an oyster sucks in grit or parasites. Its shell lining then secretes a mixture of amino acids and micro-particles of shell which three dimensionally encapsulate the intruder and build successive layers until a pearl is created. In humans, the same three dimensional action of these amino acids can be used to retighten muscles and densify bones.
Pearl creams are still manufactured in China, but they contain preservatives for shelf life. I discovered that preservatives kill the amino acids and prevent them from tightening muscles, so Pearl Cream by Dr. Anna is made from pearls, Chinese herbs and a Vitamin E oil mixture with no preservatives. There are different mixtures of Chinese herbs for each product in my line, tailored for women, men, sports performance and pain management.
NA: Will you summarize your professional background and how you became not only an alternative medicine practitioner, but also the inventor of these unique, results-driven skincare products and services?
Dr. Anna: For 12 years, I worked at Boeing in Seattle as a research and development (R&D) engineer. I was an inventor and received 21 patents for my work in materials similar to the tiles used on space shuttles. However, I became sensitized to the chemicals I worked near and, therefore, had to leave that profession.
At this point, I returned to school and became a Doctor of Oriental Medicine. After establishing my Sarasota practice in 1998, I then trained in acupuncture facelift, but the method I studied was both impractical and did not yield results for a neck lift. So I invented my own three dimensional muscle tightening acupuncture face and neck lift process which offered such unique results that I started to rigorously document it with photos. I now have a database of over 700 images of patients from 28 to 96 years old.
Pearl Cream by Dr. Anna was invented in 2009 after my patients and I suffered an allergic reaction to a batch of pearl cream from China. My R&D background made it possible to start working on my own pearl cream. Because of my own chemical sensitivity, I made it without any preservatives or chemicals. I was shocked to discover the muscle retightening properties of these pearl amino acids when I documented the results.
The Pearl Cream muscle retightening mirrored the exact result as my acupuncture facelift—the only difference being the process took longer. I then tested this cream on a group of 84 volunteers, and the photographed results showed that I had something unique. When a person discontinues their use of the cream, the results still last for a minimum of six months before any tightening whatsoever is lost.
The Chinese herbs in the Pearl Cream by Dr. Anna brighten the complexion and remove toxins from the skin. The micro-particles of shell give it an SPF of 10. The cream is an excellent moisturizer, and there is also a body lotion formula for those hard-to-tighten areas such as the upper arms and inner thighs. It is also ideal for crepey skin and to rebuild muscles on the back of the hands—an area will often reveal age more so than the face.
I tell people that I am an engineer, not a marketer. I refuse to sell a product or service that does not work. Moreover, as a woman, I am tired of seeing “before-and-after results” of beauty products shown with artificial lighting, makeup enhancements and Photoshop tricks. My results are meticulously controlled and scientifically documented. People can consult with me and observe for themselves what results are possible through a series of comparison images.
NA: What measures have you taken, both in your practice and in your Pearl Cream store, to ensure the health and safety of clients during this COVID-19 pandemic?
Dr. Anna: I have implemented the following health and safety practices for my acupuncture facelift clients. Each patient waits in the car until I come out and take their temperature. Masks are then worn both entering and exiting the office. I have also installed a ventilation system in my acupuncture treatment rooms. The patient lays under an exhaust fan powered suction hose that pulls all breath droplets out the window. The patient can remove their mask during a procedure, and the treatment room is sanitized after each patient leaves.
At the Pearl Cream by Dr. Anna store, everyone is also required to wear a mask. We provide social distancing markers and touchless payment solutions. In addition, customers can utilize curbside pickup or have a purchase shipped to their home address if they would rather not come into the store.
Thank you, Dr. Anna, for this relentless commitment to a safe, healthy, vibrant and youthful looking Sarasota community!
The Pearl Cream by Dr. Anna store is located at 2721 Mall Drive, Sarasota. Its hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 941-924-2723 or 941-921-2662. To view before-and-after photos of Dr. Anna’s results, visit http://facesbydranna.com/ and http://pearlcreambydranna.com/
Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer is the Managing Editor of Natural Awakenings Sarasota–Manatee. She also works as a freelance writer, blogger and social media marketer. Her personal blog HealthBeAHippie.Wordpress.com features tips for embracing an active, nutritious, balanced and empowered lifestyle.