“Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all” is a familiar tale that we have all learned from. Our relationship with our mirror can be as complicated as our appearances, as our interpretation of our changing appearance is constantly changing itself. As a facial cosmetic surgeon in Charlotte, during my consultations, I instruct every patient to look in the mirror and tell me about any aspect of their face that they would like to improve. This is one of my favorite parts during a consultation as I get the first glimpse of how a patient interprets their face, which transitions into their concerns.
A recent study in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, evaluated the motivation behind women who seek aesthetic enhancements of the face. There were many interesting points raised in this article that I would like to share:
1) The dissatisfaction of what women see in the mirror is the primary motivator in their decision to seek cosmetic procedures
2) There were concerns that were common between certain age groups
a) Women in their 20’s and 30’s were focused on the quality of their skin and the appearance of their nose
b) Women in their 30’s and 40’s were focused on the area around the eyes (bags, wrinkles), and the quality of their skin
c) Women in their 40’s and 50’s were focused on the area around the eyes and sagging neck
3) Women compare their appearance to women that are much younger to them in age
As a Charlotte cosmetic surgeon, there are a few insights I gained from this study. First, women mainly seek improvement through self analysis and not from outside influences such as opinions of friends and family. I believe that the motivation to undergo a facial cosmetic procedure should come from within. I found it interesting that women compare their appearance to women that are much younger to them in age as opposed to women similar to their age. During my consultations, I discuss with patients that our goal is to create an appearance that they will look great for their age (My goal is not to have a 50 year old to look like a 35 year old).
In all areas of facial plastic surgery, I must understand the motivation and expectations of my patients. Understanding our complicated relationship with the mirror is another way I continue to learn about facial aesthetics.