As the masses seek to emulate their favourite celebrities, there can be a trickle-down effect, Dr. Apratim warns. “When a beautiful celeb denies she’s had anything done, it encourages patients to do so as well,” she acknowledges. This unfortunately dupes fans into buying the same products celebrities endorse in the hopes of a similar body-type.
Dr. Yap recalls, “In my own practice I’ve had patients who’ve achieved good results from surgery but tell their colleagues that weight loss was attained through amalgamations of herbal soups and vitamins.” This goes back to the argument where people want to be seen as genuine. Although all of us desire physical beauty, patients refrain from confessing to surgery because once you consciously acknowledge this, you’re admitting you’re less than perfect. Though a cultured pearl may be just as beautiful as a perfect, natural one, its value and appeal in general is lessened because it’s more easily available and to a certain extent, “manufactured”.
When celebrities claim their bodies are natural, it gives people hope that they too can attain flawlessness. Apart from maintaining the same illusion of ‘natural’ beauty, celebrities make themselves and their perfections seem approachable and attainable. Dr. Yap opines, “I guess this is why celebrities normally market themselves as being fully authentic because of rarity value.” He also affirms, “By claiming they’ve done nothing more than exercise or apply a scientific diet, one maintains the illusion of being at the same time part of the general populace and yet somehow much more perfect.”
Superstars make themselves accessible in some ways but in others they disassociate themselves from us because of their unachievable perfection. This is precisely why Dr. Apratim believes celebrities should share their stories. Furthermore, once celebrities are comfortable speaking of their passages through plastic surgery on online platforms, it inspires patients to similarly be open about their procedures on social media, helping the public make informed choices. Along with increased awareness, patients are encouraged to be unapologetic about their choices, leading to fewer instances of black market procedures by unqualified practitioners. The lip lock on the right physician and procedure, does provoke quackery and horrible complications. We see many side effects of wrong filler injections and lasers almost on a weekly basis done by unqualified doctors or salons.
Despite many TV or silver screen personalities choosing not to disclose information, Dr. Enrina argues there are content creators like YouTube stars or celebrity bloggers who openly share their surgical stories. “I think we need people who are comfortable speaking about their medical journeys because we need open discourse,” she maintains. Dr. Enrina adds, “It’s vital that celebrities and patients alike be more open about cosmetic surgery so that others can learn how to improve their looks safely and effectively.”
Why do doctors believe that patients shouldn’t be ashamed of plastic surgery?
Dr. Enrina states that aesthetic surgery is a form surgery that improves one’s physical appearance which in turn improves one’s quality of life. “It’s a scientifically based genre of medicine, and completely safe when done by board-certified specialists,” she affirms. If one thinks about it rationally, there’s actually nothing to be ashamed of if procedures are carried out safely and in the right hands.
Dr. Yap confirms that what really defines a procedure are its intents and purposes. “If we are missing one or two front teeth, for example, our speech, eating and or chewing may not necessarily be affected. But, we would have no hesitation in getting them replaced, particularly if they have an impact on the visual appeal of our smiles,” he argues. Most people would have no ethical or moral difficulties with such procedures, and yet this is by definition a cosmetic undertaking.
When we apply this same argument to the face, it’s no secret humans respond negatively to those who frown deeply or have lowered brows, because they look angry and upset. In addition, this also has a connotation of ageing as a drooped brow is also caused by changes related to older tissues. On the other hand, we are hard-wired to respond physically and emotionally to visual indicators of good health, desirable genes and fertility. These factors increase the individual’s attractiveness and desirability as a possible choice for a life partner. “This is the main reason we pay a premium for cosmetic surgery. We want not only to look good but to attain value and desirability, and hence social status in the eyes of our peers,” Dr. Yap says.
In Dr. Enrina’s opinion, there’s no reason to be embarrassed if informed decisions are made to improve yourself. Even if vanity plays a role in going under the knife, who cares? If you can afford it and nobody’s forcing you, then what’s the problem? Even if surgeries are designed to restore youth, there’s still no reason to hide because choices have been carefully considered.
Unfortunately, most patients still keep aesthetic procedures a secret due to the aforementioned societal scorn. Dr. Apratim says, “I believe self-confidence should be of prime importance and if surgery can improve how you view yourself, then go ahead, and fess up to it too,” she asserts. Moreover, Dr. Apratim also outlines that negative public judgement – besides being incredibly demeaning – may lead to an increase of ‘alternative’ therapies which have long been known to cause possible and irreversible side effects. Albeit much cheaper and rumoured to affect in minimal downtime, ‘alternative’ procedures carried out by unqualified practitioners can be dangerous, and at their worst cause permanent deformity or disability.
Why are cosmetic surgery and aesthetic procedures still considered uncommon and how does negative public judgement affect patients?
According to Dr. Yap, plastic surgery has long been thought of as the exclusive preserve of the rich, famous and beautiful. In fact and contrary to popular belief, it has become easily available, more effective and much more affordable. Although the awareness linked to cosmetic surgery is commonplace, acceptance will take time. “People have very different values and this is what makes society great,” Dr. Yap upholds. For every person who’s a pro-capitalist, there’s bound to be another who advocates socialist views. Just like how capitalism that’s been practiced for decades isn’t fully agreed upon, it’ll take time for cosmetic surgery to be recognised. Dr. Yap argues, “Although many may claim they don’t accept aesthetic procedures, I think the demand is quite evident as one can calculate the ever-increasing uptake or numbers of people taking advantage of cosmetic surgery’s many services.” He confirms, “In spite of mass denials, patients are getting it done.”
Dr. Enrina believes that aesthetic procedures are still taboo because “haters will be haters.” Nonetheless, she does concur with Dr. Yap and agrees that people have different points of view. There are many people who embrace the advantages of medical enhancements just the same as there are those who vilify it. She maintains, “I see great changes in our cultural climate where society is becoming more open-minded about aesthetic procedures. At the end of the day, if you can improve your looks, why not?”
Dr. Apratim concedes that people have negative judgements about aesthetic procedures because they are still considered taboo. These negative judgments birth fear and also leave patients unsatisfied and unhappy. “I would advise these patients to have confidence and overcome the need for approval,” she counsels. She further adds, “Patients should realise that not admitting to surgery or treatments is not going to make you be judged any less. If you want to improve yourself, go for it because no one can stop you from achieving your own happiness. Nonetheless, patients should have complete knowledges about surgery’s dos and don’ts and to reset expectations to a reasonable level. Don’t rush into a cosmetic procedure without knowing the details.”
After everything’s said and done, there will always be individuals who prefer to keep their choices under wraps. Should such patients desire aesthetic enhancements, there are always treatments that bring about more natural outcomes as opposed to evident or drastic results.
Confidence is Key
According to Dr. Yap studies have proven if you’re physically attractive, you’ll gain more confidence from others where people respond to you better and rate you as more open and honest. You’ll have higher chances of obtaining jobs, romantic relationships, and be deemed more cooperative, sincere and interactive.
Dr. Enrina agrees and declares that humans tend to be attracted to those with improved confidence. “It’s also proven that those with strong internal assurances have enhanced social and work statuses, translating to an overall improvement of one’s quality of life,” she outlines. Dr. Apratim concurs and advocates that people with formidable self-esteem can control their emotions, behave more responsibly and influence others. She concedes, “Confidence is a tool that can help you manage fears, tackle life’s challenges and maintain a positive state of mind.” She continues, “It plays a big part in leadership, presence and helps build good rapport. So, once you have positive self-confidence, you’ll certainly perform to your fullest potential.”
Unfortunately, Dr. Enrina does acquiesce that women can be hard on themselves, becoming disheartened by physical insecurities and negative public judgement. This is followed by impeded self-worth and discontentment, sometimes leading to feelings of unhappiness and even depression. She affirms, “It’s no secret that the better you look, the better you feel. When patients notice physical flaws, it may create insecurities – especially if said flaws weren’t previously present.” Dr. Enrina concludes that improvement of physical flaws is proven to improve one’s outlook on life. And, when you’re comfortable in your own skin, serenity and self-value is achieved.
Here at Cosmetic Surgery and Beauty we advocate being your best self. If patients plan or desire to undergo procedures, why allow negative comments or silly taboos to affect your choice? Do whatever it takes to be happy. It’s your life. Your future. Your bliss. When you’re at your peak physical self, confidence and happiness is achieved and when contentment is accomplished, inner beauty shines through.