'Real Housewives' stars pen book debunking latest anti-aging fads

In 2015, the anti-aging services market reached 50-billion dollars. But with so many new trends and procedures, how do you know what really works? Dr. Manny sits down with Dr. Terry Dubrow and his "Real Housewives of Orange County" star wife Heather to find out


The quest to stay young and beautiful largely contributed to the nearly 16 million cosmetic procedures performed in the United States in 2015, but in the face of various doctors promising to deliver desirable results— and each by their own preferred method— choosing a treatment can often be difficult. To help patients navigate the ever-changing waters of cosmetic surgery, Dr. Terry Dubrow and his “Real Housewives of Orange County” star wife Heather have penned “The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need to the Best Anti-Aging Treatments.”

For the book, the couple, who call themselves “Dr. and Mrs. Guinea Pig,” self-tested the latest health, wellness and beauty products to distinguish effective products from gimmicks.

“I work based on science, and I go in with a lot of suspicion,” Terry, who has been a plastic surgeon for more than 20 years, told “It’s a $50 billion industry, but by my estimation, about 85 percent of the stuff out there that’s being offered that people are doing doesn’t work at all.”

Through their trials, the Dubrows are looking to help consumers avoid what they call a “wallet biopsy,” which is paying for a high-cost procedure without getting any promised results.

“Celebrities do crazy things, and you hear, ‘Oh so and so is doing this procedure or bought this eye cream that’s $400, and it’s got the eye of newt in it and I need to have that,’ when basically it’s probably just Vaseline,” Heather told “So we have debunked all of that in the book and really told you what it is.”

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One of the procedures receiving plenty of media attention is vaginal steaming, which Gwyneth Paltrow has plugged as a way to “balance her uterus.” The Dubrows ultimately debunked the idea by going to the spa Paltrow recommends on her website. They found the procedure is not only ineffective but also dangerous.

“You can get a fungal infection, among other things,” Terry said. “So we say, ‘Steam your vegetables, not your vagina.’”

They also tried Sculptra, which appealed to Heather because it is thought to regrow collagen to build facial fat.

“It was invented for AIDS patients who lose a lot of facial fat and get that skeletal look,” she said. “It’s injected into you, and you regrow your own collagen sort of slowly, naturally and you don’t have that overdone, weird, filled look, so when you get hollow, like in your temples, it fills them out.”

On the Dubrow’s list of procedures to avoid is an acupuncture facelift. Terry said the procedure attempts to manipulate the muscles or underlining skin and blood flow, but ultimately he found the technique does not work and instead results in a strong placebo effect.

During their mission, the duo did not shy away from procedures that can cause pain. They tried leech therapy, and subsequently suffered from sore spots and two days of bleeding. Some people believe leech therapy tightens and rejuvenates skin by removing impurities.

“I thought my skin looked and felt light and bright afterward, but considering the pain and scarring, it wasn’t worth it,” the couple writes in the book.

Heather and Terry don’t always agree on whether a procedure is worth the risks, as was the case with cryotherapy. While Terry said there are some indications that the procedure works, Heather countered that if it was effective then people who lived in colder areas of the world would look younger than those who live in warmer climates.  

“We’re in the process of testing that in more detail,” Terry said.

The couple is launching a “Dr. and Mrs. Guinea Pig” podcast in October to discuss more procedures, and they are currently on a book tour.

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