More than Skin Deep

Aesthetic Medicine does make a difference to peoples lives, with more and more evidence demonstrating the positive impact that a little change to someones appearance can have a huge influence on their lives, and on the lives of those around them.

How often have we poo-pooed the profession of Aesthetic Dermatology, Plastic Surgery, Cosmetic Medicine? How often do people say that we are only skin deep and that what we do isn’t saving lives. How often are people who undertake a procedure looked down upon by their peers, their friends and their family. How often does society attempt to make itself feel better or more superior to others by casting judgment, doubt and sneer upon someone else?

Every day, in ways that are often not measured – what dermatologists, plastic surgeons, dentists, cosmetic physicians, nurses and other HCP’s specialising in this field do – has a positive impact on how people present themselves, on how they feel about themselves, on how they interact with the society and the community around them. HCP’s really harness the energy that power of positive transformation initiates.
So what does this actually mean – the Power of Positive Transformation. Little changes that make a huge difference in someones life.
Power – having the effectiveness or the ability to influence
Positive – an affirmative action to create a positive image, portray ones true colours or shades
Transformation – metaphorosis, change.

In 2012, a US study showed that whilst Marriage, Children and ones health status were the leading contributors to ones overall wellbeing, 19 % of respondents indicated that Mental Health is an important factor and ones appearance was indicated by 8% of respondents.

However given this, there is an unnatural sense of guilt and shame associated with appearance, pride and confidence. As soon as someone indicates that they are proud of their appearance, their achievements, or takes pride in the way that they look – they are immediately shamed or ridiculed or cut-down by their peers. The Tall-Poppy syndrome is not only alive and well it is exacerbated in the on-line community, with the trolling behavior where people are unashamedly ridiculed and harassed for no good reason except the trolls own belief that it is a true sport and their actions are “not really harmful” or have an impact upon their targets.

On one hand, we as a society need to take responsibility for the actions that are displayed on line, and clearly say to the trolls – their behavior is not tolerated. It is interesting that the majority of trolls are 40+ women and men, who hide behind their keyboards, living the double life of leaders of our community, and the the future generations, and then viciously inciting hatred, violence, and intolerance towards others for sport. But on the other hand, social media is leading to an increase in consultations, in cosmetic enhancement procedures, in people seeking to control their social media appearance with more consistent results.

Social Media, and the willingness for people to truly take control of their image, their lives and the way they are interpreted by others – this particular trend is leading to a 31% increase in consultations to address the concerns that people have with their appearance. Social media – whether it is FaceBook, Instagram, Line, WeChat, blah blah blah – these are all contributing to people taking control of their apperance and the way that is seen by the rest of the world.

In the medical world, those that practice Aesthetics are often ridiculed for not practicing real medicine – “you only make people look pretty, you don’t save lives”. Well ladies and gentlemen Mental Health and Appearance are necessary for Holistic wellbeing and care, and what we do in Aesthetics – it does matter.

In 2006, Eric Finzi et all showed in 10 patients that using a NeuroModulator helped with the Treatment of Depression. Ten depressed patients were treated with neuromodulators, and 9 of 10 patients were no longer depressed 2 months after treatment. The tenth patient had an improvement in mood.

In 2009, Carey & Baker et al, showed how the use of a collagen stimulator – by improving dermal thickness and restoring facial volume – this helped improve the Quality of Life scores, the mental health outcomes, and the social function of people living with HIV Facial Lipoatrophy.

in 2013, Doris Hexel, et al demonstrated in 25 patients that the use of a NeuroModulator in the glabellar complex can improve emotional states and significantly improve their self esteem. It was highlighted that self-esteem improvement scores alone cannot explain the improvement in depression symptoms.

In 2014, Michelle Magid et all has started the scientific discussion presenting two theories as to why a NeuroModulator’s may help treat depression and mood. The first theory was a behavioral based theory – if look less sad and anguished, people will engage with us more, and when social interaction improves self-esteem and mood will most likely improve. The second was a biological theory: By decreasing the trigeminal nerve signals to the part of the brain that manages the fear response, this can lead to a reduction in the subjects hyperactive fear response thus reducing anxiety and depression..

Clearly more evidenced based science needs to be conducted into this, but now with at least 4 published clinical papers, demonstrating that the use of neuromodulators, dermal fillers and collagen stimulators clearly have an impact upon peoples lives in a positive way. This underlines what we have all known for sometime; Helping people feel better about their appearance, helping people show on the outside how they feel on the inside – this is important not only for the person undertaking the procedure, but for those who dedicate their lives to this field of medicine.

Every day in every way – we do make a difference, a real difference to those that matter. What we do is more than skin deep.

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