Cosmetic procedures and beauty ideals

How can ‘beauty’ be defined? What makes each of us feel beautiful? And what role can cosmetic procedures have within this? These are topics of much debate - especially on social media. Here are my thoughts as a medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatologist.

In my work, I am never too far away from the subject of beauty ideals. 

Whether I’m surgically removing skin cancer, treating acne, or giving Botox treatments, the final cosmetic outcome is always an important consideration for both me and my patient. It’s made me think a lot about the responsibility I have as a dermatologist to encourage a healthy approach to how we define and measure beauty. 

I feel this is particularly important in a world where hybrid working means we’re looking at our faces up-close on screen more and more, while social media continues to push unrealistic beauty standards. For many, the pressure to conform to them is real. 

We can see this in the large numbers of young people choosing to dramatically alter their facial features through lip, cheek, chin and jawline fillers. There’s nothing wrong with having these procedures if they feel right for you. But I believe the widespread pressure that exists for everyone to conform to these particular aesthetics is an unhealthy approach to beauty.  

For me, beauty is about celebrating the individual. It’s not about everybody looking the same as everyone else. That’s why when patients come to me for cosmetic procedures, my approach is always to work with their individual beauty and their natural features. It’s about embracing what makes you unique and using treatments and procedures to enhance your natural beauty, if you want to.  

For example, if a patient wants Botox, I’ll always advise and administer treatments that deliver as natural a look as possible. If a patient wants fillers, I’ll always advise using them in a very considered way that is sympathetic to the face as a whole – instead of treating features in isolation. If a patient is having a surgical procedure to remove skin cancer, I’ll always do my best to restore their natural beauty and face shape.

I know that everybody always wants to look their best – me included! But I feel the more we understand that looking our best is about embracing our natural beauty – rather than striving to look like everyone else – the happier we will be.