One of the things that can keep people from seeking out cosmetic treatment is the notion that it’s somehow “vain” or “shallow” to have these procedures done. I am always saddened when I hear that and eager to reassure patients that this is a false stereotype.
It’s true, unfortunately, that there is a stigma around cosmetic procedures, but it’s largely due to those cosmetic surgeons who’ve gotten it all wrong—those who have created exaggerated, unnatural-looking results based more on current beauty trends or patients’ extreme desires than on restoring a patient’s underlying beauty.
When done properly, cosmetic treatments are simply another way to make us feel and look our best—something we all want and can relate to.
We All Want to Look Our Best
We as humans are very social beings, and we yearn to connect with one another. In this desire to form human connections, the non-verbal language we all communicate can dominate those interactions. This non-verbal language includes our visual presentation to another person.
We all take steps to make sure we look our best.
We get haircuts, choose clothes that flatter our figures, put on makeup, wear heels to appear taller, work out to tone our bodies. Very few people would consider getting up and going to work (or out to dinner, or even to run errands) just as they are when they first get up in the morning—tangled bed hair and sleep-crusted eyes and all. At the very least, even if you consider yourself to be “low maintenance,” you’ll make an effort to shower, comb your hair, and try to make yourself generally presentable.
There’s hardly anything “vain” in doing these things. No one at your family get-together is going to start whispering, “Did you see that Jean combed her hair? How shallow is that?” Yet, still, patients fear that if others find out they’ve had treatments done, they’ll somehow be judged.
First of all, it’s important to note that the right cosmetic treatments shouldn’t be so obvious that others feel like “you’ve had work done.” People may notice a certain something about you afterwards—a new glow, a more open appearance, a new vitality—but you shouldn’t look like an entirely different person. You should just look like you, only a better version of you.
Cosmetic treatments, when done properly, are no more extreme than the basic personal maintenance we all do every day. They’re simply an extension of the desire to connect with other people, which is helped when we put attention towards caring for our appearance—and no one can fault you for that.
Appearance Does Matter
The way we look is one of the ways we communicate with each other. Like it or not, we all “judge a book by its cover”—it’s natural human instinct. Our appearance has a real-life impact on the way we interact with other people.
Recent research published by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis even looked at the link between appearance and wages. In their research, they noticed that, compared to a person with an “average” appearance, those with a “below average” appearance earned 9% less and those with an “above average” appearance earned 5% more. The14% swing between these two extremes gives hard evidence to what many of us feel is true intrinsically—that appearances do matter.
We all make assumptions based on physical cues. If we see someone who’s dressed in a suit and tie, we assume he’s a businessman or on some sort of important errand. If we see someone in sweats and sneakers, a worn baseball cap pulled over his untidy hair, we assume that he’s not. That’s why when it’s time for a big business meeting, we make sure to dress nicely. (And, on the other hand, why most of us don’t go grocery shopping in a suit and tie.)
We make conscious choices every day in the way we present ourselves in order to give the world a better idea of who it is that we are inside and how we want others to perceive us. Improving your appearance through cosmetic treatment—whether it be a brow lift, under-eye bag treatment, or other procedure—is no different.
You have the right to present your best face to the world—and the right cosmetic treatments can help you do just that.