Skin, with attitude

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Dr. Paul Vanek, of Vanek Plastic Surgery, sees clients like Kris Mendeszoon (above) who present with extensive sun damage and premature aging. Combining the Forever Young laser procedure with his exclusive product line helps to reverse the damage and natural signs of aging. (Photography by Benjamin Margalit/Margalit Studio)

By Patricia Nugent

What William Shakespeare touched on in “As You Like It” is essentially that we play many parts over the course of a lifetime, and that many of us are always on display—whether we like it or not.  

For Kris Mendeszoon, the roles range from being a bustling mom to 13-year-old twins and loving wife to operating Achilles Running Shops in Mentor and Erie, Pennsylvania. The former gymnast and track and fielder admits to not paying attention to sunscreen in her youth, and several years ago noticed the appearance of brown patches and fine lines and wrinkles.

“Since I’m in the business of selling people running shoes and apparel, I felt I needed to project the image of health, wellness and vitality,” she says. Kris made an appointment with Vanek Plastic Surgery to explore her options for reversing the initial signs of aging.


A Measure Beyond
“Kris came to me with a lifelong history of sun exposure that had taken its toll on her skin,” says Dr. Paul Vanek.

“Before deciding a course of action, we wanted to see what shape the skin was in down to its deepest layers, by doing a VISIA Complexion Analysis, which measured and then evaluated every aspect of its health. We chose to synergistically combine the Forever Young laser with my line of skin care cosmeceuticals and were able to revolutionize her skin’s appearance. It’s now soft and looks beautiful.”

Dr. Vanek’s laser penetrates the skin with selected wavelengths to stimulate gene expression in the dermis and subdermis levels. 

“On a bioactive level, we are able to ‘turn off’ aging genes and ‘turn on’ youthful genes,” he says. “By producing collagen with the body’s natural immune response, skin tissue is remodeled. It acts and appears like younger skin. With continued use of a few sessions per year, someone can easily look 10 years younger.”

A wide variety of custom Vanek Cosmeceutical products feature specific formulas that combine active ingredients to produce healthier, smoother and more radiant skin.

“My products are made up of the same ingredients used to heal wounds,” he says. “They are geared to heal skin from the outside in with bioactive peptides.”

Kris is especially pleased with her results when she uses Amino Lift Peptide Complex, Collagen Elastic 14-1 Cream and Camphor Pore Minimizing Cream, but there are about nine products she uses regularly.

“My products are made up of the same ingredients used to heal wounds,” he says. “They are geared to heal skin from the outside in with bioactive peptides.”

Kris came to Dr. Vanek in her mid-30s, but he says starting a skin care regimen of laser treatments and products as young as your 20s is optimal.

Sincerity and Compassion
Says Kris, “Every person I encountered in Dr. Vanek’s office was wonderful and very caring. First I met with the Cosmetic Coordinator, Mary Jo Somich, in a relaxing living room complete with plants and soft lamp lighting, and big leather furniture. After the results of my VISIA, we discussed procedures to renew my skin to where I wanted it.”

Asked if she has any advice for women thinking of a little rejuvenation for body and face, Kris says, “Why put it off? With the refined procedures Dr. Vanek specializes in, there is very little or no downtime and you look and feel better about yourself with totally natural-looking results, which is a game-changer.”


“What makes Dr. Vanek so unique is his sincerity and ability to be an excellent listener,” she adds. “He also has a witty and wry sense of humor.”

Keeping Things Running
For Kris, there was a comfort in knowing that any procedure she went through with Dr. Vanek aimed at rejuvenating her face or contouring her body would entail very little downtime, and fit nicely into her hectic schedule of running Achilles along with all other aspects of her busy life.

The idea to open a specialty shoe and apparel store for runners actually came from Kris’ husband, Dr. Mark Mendeszoon, DPM, an avid runner and podiatric surgeon with Precision Orthopaedics in Chardon. A former Olympic runner for Holland in 1988, he still carries the torch, coaching and consulting at local high schools as well as working with athletes of all ages, from local runners to Olympians who visit him from around the world.

As the area’s only orthopedic surgeon-owned specialty running store, Achilles can offer its customers a unique perspective and specialized services. The shop features an inventory with consideration for the best health of athletes at all levels. Their staff consists of seasoned runners who understand the running community.

Says Kris, “We offer wonderful service and all of the products and apparel we think runners need. But underneath these things, Dr. Vanek can keep you looking and feeling younger and healthier.”

 Dr. Paul Vanek is double board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Surgery and is a Fellow of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and Chief of Staff at Lake Health. His offices are located at 9485 Mentor Avenue, Suite 100, in Mentor. For more information, call 440-205-5750 or visit