Have you ever wondered why people undertake aesthetic procedures such as those available in appearance medicine clinics? The answer is that it is mostly for confidence and self esteem.
These procedures include Botulinum Toxin injections, volume addition with dermal fillers, microdermabrasion and machine treatments.
The machine treatments fall into two categories – ablative and non-ablative. Ablative means the skin is superficially or fractionally destroyed to cause a healing response. These treatments require a healing period of a few days. The end result is improved colouration and texture in most cases.
The non-ablative treatments are usually relatively painless and have no downtime associated with them, so they are done on a walk-in-walk-out basis.
More people than you think have probably had such treatments, but you normally can’t tell.
"I want to look well, fresher and youthful for my age"
It comes back to the "look good, feel good" principle. It’s about feeling good about yourself and with that comes a feeling of increased confidence. A casual observer would think that the person looks better than before, or perhaps may think that the "holiday did them good".
"I want to look great for that special day"
These are often mothers of the bride, or perhaps someone having a significant birthday. Otherwise, it’s for a special holiday, trip or class reunion.
"I need to look younger so I can get work"
This is a serious matter. With the tendency for ageism in the workplace, some people have found it necessary to look younger in order to be considered for a job or even a promotion.
"Clear up unwanted pigmentation of skin"
People just like their skin to have an even colour. If that person has spent a lot of time in the sun, there will be brown blotches, redness and some veins. These mostly respond to Intense Pulsed Light therapy (see the earlier article on this treatment).
"I want the skin to be a bit tighter"
Many women pull back their faces and necks in front of a mirror to show what they want. Skin sags with age, and this is worsened by sun damage, smoking, drugs, disease and poor health. There are some effective non-surgical treatments that can tighten the skin with no pain or downtime. There is also facelift surgery, but that is a major undertaking.
"Correct the pores, scarring and texture problems I have"
Typically, the area around the mouth and nose tends to get porous and textured with age. Severe acne at a younger age leaves a person with lifelong scarring. Comfortable treatments can help with this. There are also laser ablative treatments available .
"I have had a terrible time, so I want to have a treatment to make me feel better"
People come for an aesthetic treatment when they have had significant stress, illness, their partner has died or left them or when they have lost a lot of money. They can sometimes demand "do something!", even when they don't need it. A simple procedure like Botulinum Toxin for a frown line or crows feet by an insightful doctor can be all that is required to make that person feel better.
"I want my lips the way they used to be"
Older women often miss the fullness they used to have in their lips and want some of that back.
"I want to look like her"
I’ts not often that a person brings along a photo of Angelina Jolie or Jennifer Aniston, but it can happen.
"I want to prevent skin cancer in my sun damaged skin"
There is an old treatment in a modern, comfortable guise called Photodynamic Therapy that is used to reduce skin cancer risk. Done well, it can save a person from the knife for skin cancer removal. Only advanced clinics offer this treatment.
"My cheeks are sagging"
Loss of cheek volume occurs with age and contributes to an older look. A simple procedure can help with this.
"People say I look sad"
The downturned corners of the mouth can be easily remedied in most cases.
"People keep asking me why I am angry, but I'm not"
This is often a person like a school teacher or grandmother who doesn’t want these comments from other people.
"Don't make me look like her!"
More often, a person will be concerned that they will look "overdone" and that people will know they have had something done. The reality is that most people who have had aesthetic procedures cannot be picked. The ones you can pick are the ones who have had a bad treatment, too much done, or just don't know when to stop. A wise doctor can identify someone with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (see article on Teenagers and cosmetic surgery) and knows how to treat them with care.
"I don't want a trout pout"
Many women fear that they will end up with a result they don't want. In truth, the people with trout pouts actually asked for them – the doctor or nurse who treated them did not give it to them by design.
The truth is that many people who seek simple, non-invasive cosmetic procedures are ordinary people who just want to feel better.
Aesthetic procedures and their reasons PDF (209KB)
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