Cosmetic procedures have traditionally been unpopular among African-Americans, but there are recent signs of this stigma declining, according to a recent article
on ABC News. More black women are pursuing cosmetic procedures against the beliefs widely held among their communities.
Black Women Speak Out
“There’s a pressure from the community that, you know, ‘African-American women don’t need to have beauty enhancements.’”
– Phyllis Jackson, who received a Botox injection
at a Beverly Hills dinner party.
“I think African-American women are still in the closet about having plastic surgery…[but] I think we’re doing it a lot more.”
– Linda Caradine-Poinsett, 50, who received body contouring surgeries
to increase the size of her breasts
and reduce her waistline.
“I’ve wanted my backside larger all my life… One day I just woke up and everybody was talking about butt, butt, butt. They’d had this surgery and that surgery… The first question I asked [my plastic surgeon] was, How big can you make my butt?”
– This woman wished not to be identified.
The Advantages of Dark Skin
The natural advantages of black skin are another reason why many blacks have declined to pursue cosmetic procedures. “Darker skin has natural protective factors against sun,” Chicago plastic surgeon Dr. Julius Few told ABC. “So we don’t see the same wrinkling, because sun exposure typically will cause weathering or cracking or folding of the skin.”
As well, Few said, black skin has more oil and thus tends to be more resilient against wrinkling:
“A lot of people think oil in the skin is bad. The reality is oil in your skin is good. It’s kind of like folding a piece of paper. The more you fold the piece of paper, the more you’re likely to get a wrinkle in it. Well, if the skin is a bit oiler, has better moisture to it, it will tend not to get a heavy crease in it.”
Questions of beauty and appearance are often subjective, and it can often be difficult to attach a number to something as elusive as cosmetic enhancement. However, a recent effort headed by University of Toronto plastic surgeon Dr. Nitin Chauhan provided some promising results, which have been published in the latest issue
of Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery
. It seems that patients undergoing facial surgery can appear about 7 years younger on average.
The new study began with the recruitment of 40 first-year medical students, who were asked to look at a collection of photographs. These were before-and-after pictures, separated and scrambled, of patients who had undergone different facial rejuvenation surgeries at Dr. Chauhan’s clinic: 54 women and 6 men, aged 45 to 72. The medical students were asked to estimate the age of the person in each photo.
On average, the study found that patients who had undergone facial surgery appeared 7.2 years younger than their before photo.
Since after photos are normally taken months or even years after the surgery, this actually meant that the average age that the students assigned to the after photos was about 9 years lower than the patients’ age when the photos were taken.
Not surprisingly, the study found that multiple procedures resulted in significantly better results, shaving further years off patients’ faces. Patients who underwent facelift
and neck lift surgeries looked 5.7 years younger, while additional eyelid surgery
removed almost two more years, and a forehead lift
took roughly another year from the face.
People who had all four surgeries – facelift, neck lift, blepharoplasty, and forehead lift – appeared a full 8.4 years younger than their before photos. Dr. Chauhan hopes to use these results as an objective measure that can be used to manage patient expectations.
“Nothing we do is magical,” he told Health.com contributor Matt McMillen
. “We do certainly get 60-year-old patients who want to look 40, and this will help us when we discuss expectations.”
Beverly Hills plastic surgeon
Dr. Andre Aboolian is well known in California for his numerous television appearances, most notably when he performed a full body lift
on “The Biggest Loser” winner Erik Chopin. The post-bariatric
“body expert,” renowned for his skills in liposuction
and body contouring, recently took some time to talk about his profession with an editor of the Los Angeles Health Directory
A father of two, Dr. Aboolian is sensitive to the needs of his patients, and feels that “it is very important for a woman – and not because of a man but for herself – to feel comfortable in her body and feel attractive.” Plastic surgery is about vanity, Dr. Aboolian says, “but so is putting on makeup in the morning, coloring hair, applying nail polish and so on. It’s all about making you look better.”
“I want people to know that there is a lot of GOOD plastic surgery and the good plastic surgery is the one you don’t see and don’t notice because the outcome is so natural and flattering… If you can’t tell that the person’s undergone plastic surgery and looks great, that’s a plastic surgery well done. Unfortunately, the media portrays one bad plastic surgery after another.”
Dr. Aboolian addressed some of the disturbing stories about plastic surgery that have emerged in recent years. He was the doctor who declined to perform body contouring surgery on Donda West, Kanye West’s mother, in 2007 because she had hadn’t obtained clearance from her physician. Mrs. West later died from complications after finding another surgeon who agreed to perform the procedure despite these misgivings.
“The most important thing to know is that plastic surgery is no different than any other surgery. There is the misconception that plastic surgery is somehow different (safer) than a surgery performed in a hospital… I’m no different than any other doctor, be it a heart doctor, or an urologist. I’m a physician. It’s about the human body; it’s no different; it’s not risk-free.”
Botched cosmetic surgeries are on the rise with a growing number of practitioners who practice beyond their specialty, according to a recent article
in the New York Times
. Doctors who are board-certified in fields such as otolaryngology, gynecology, and general practice are marketing cosmetic procedures as part of their services, which is perfectly legal under US law.
More patients are seeking revisionary surgeries to correct the damage caused by botched cosmetic procedures, according to American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) president Dr. Malcolm Z. Roth. “The public needs to be protected from doctors who are not upfront about what board certifications they have,” he told the Times
One of the victims of this trend, named Joan, was interviewed by the Times
about her experience receiving a facelift
and tummy tuck
from a board-certified doctor. A financial-services professional, she was treated by a Beverly Hills doctor whose board certification turned out to be in otolaryngology. She received thick scars on her temples and a wavy abdomen that probably could have been avoided by a certified plastic surgeon.
“I had to use all my savings to get a real plastic surgeon to fix what he did to me,”
Joan told the Times
. “I have an M.B.A. I’m not stupid. But when the doctor has a nice clinic and all those diplomas and certifications on the wall, you think he knows what he’s doing.”
Unfortunately, US laws make it difficult for patients to distinguish top-quality care from the practices of non-specialists who frequently lack experience:
- Forty-six states do not require that doctors who advertise themselves as being “board-certified” must specify which board has certified them. Only Texas, California, Louisiana, and Florida require that doctors must do this.
- Doctors who practice beyond their specialty aren’t required to report this fact to any oversight authority.
- Non-specialists are not required to report complications to any oversight authority.
Members of ASPS, who have received special training and certifications in plastic surgery
, are subject to stringent rules and oversight from the society. Patients who want to minimize their risks and achieve the best results from surgery should be sure to ask about board certifications and always seek second opinions when surgeons aren’t specially trained and licensed for plastic procedures.