You’re one in seven billion: Cherish this uniqueness, writes Dr Anushka Reddy…
The incredible variety of faces is the result of evolutionary pressure to make each one of us unique and recognisable. This is according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, where they analysed human faces and the genes that code for facial features1.
They also found that facial traits varied more than body traits, with the most variable features being situated in the “triangle region”(between the eyes, nose and mouth). This area has all have unique features and characteristics that, when added together, make a unique you.
For instance: see those curves and ridges of your ear? You’re the only person in the world with that exact shape. In fact, this body part is such a unique identifier, you may soon be able to unlock and answer the phone by simply pressing it to your ear. It comes as no surprise then, that Yahoo is currently developing technology to unlock smartphones with an ear scanner.
Meanwhile, the pattern of elevations and depressions in the lips are as unique as fingerprints. Indeed, a study in the Journal of Forensic Dental Sciences revealed that detectives could use a kiss as evidence (lip prints have actually been used as identification in court in some cases).
The Ideal of Beauty
Although each person is unique, there is an attractiveness factor that influences the way we see each other and perceive beauty – and for centuries, across countries and every human culture, people have always had their own ideal of beauty and physical attractiveness.
From Ancient Egypt, when slender women with a high waist and symmetrical faces were considered beautiful – to Ancient Greece, where they worshipped the androgynous figure, as men faced a much higher standard of beauty and perfection than women. And of course, there was the classic Italian Renaissance period, when a full body, light hair and light skin were thought of as superior indications of beauty.
In modern times, the 1920s saw women wearing looser clothing that gave them a curve-less look, while the hourglass figure was made famous by Marilyn Monroe in the 1950s. And let’s not forget the heroin chic trend of the 1990s, when the celebrated woman was thin and frail – much like the signature look of model Kate Moss during this period.
These are all great examples of how feminine beauty standards have revolutionised, and due to the social media influence nowadays, these changes occur faster than ever. Regardless of background, country or culture, women still hold themselves to the ever-changing beauty standards, focussing on how they can ‘fix’ themselves in order to fit into society’s beauty standards. Nowadays, what is sold as beautiful is tall, thin, with white and perfect skin.
And sadly, whoever does not fit into these stereotypes is not seen as attractive, does not progress, and is not happy. In fact, according to the NYC girls project, “By middle school, 40-70% of girls are dissatisfied with two or more parts of their body, with body satisfaction hitting rock bottom between the ages of 12 and 15.”
A report by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery has shown that consumers are obsessed with celebrities now more than ever before – so much so, that there is a sharp increase in requests for celebrity procedures.
This trend is fuelled by an all-consuming media society, where every aspect of their lives are lived online and through social media.
A survey led by American aesthetic news website, ZALEA, suggests that 40% of millennials have either undergone a cosmetic procedure or are considering one in the next year. Plus, they spend so much time on social media, they’ll naturally be swayed by key influencers and celebrities talking about which treatments they’re having done.
So how can we change the perception that beauty is simply one standard to which everyone should adhere to? Well, we can start off by acknowledging that beauty is so diverse that it cannot be reduced to a model, by portraying diversity as part of everyday life, encouraging confident and empowered women to become role-models, and teaching young women how to love themselves, cherish their unique beauty and own it’.
Each one of us has a role in making this happen. In the aesthetics industry, it’s imperative to take our patients’ needs and wishes into consideration – yet at the same time, provide professional advice around the procedures and treatments they need (and in many cases, where they don’t need). In this way, we can ensure their results will reveal the best version of themselves – instead of changing who they are.
And just like the fashion industry is slowly stepping away from portraying a perfect beauty standard by using models who have distinguishing facial features (such as Daphne Groeneveld or Issa Lish who is of Mexican and Japanese descent), so too, is the aesthetics industry.
Doctors specialising in aesthetics are now stepping away from beauty stereotypes and standards, and are rather focusing more on helping patients find their own beauty, preserving it, and ultimately enhancing it.
To ensure that you receive the best care and achieve the results you are looking for, here are five things to look for when choosing a doctor specialising in aesthetics:
Do your research online, read reviews and recommendations
Ask about your doctor’s qualifications and recent speciality training
Ask for referrals from previous clients
Request to see examples of previous work
Make sure the clinic is set up appropriately to conduct treatments
Written by Dr Anushka Reddy MBChB (Wits)
- www.medisculpt.co.za Dr Anushka Reddy is the owner of Medi-Sculpt, Aesthetic & Anti-Ageing Solutions
- President of the South African Association of Cosmetic Doctors (SAACD) www.cosmeticdoctors.co.za
Dr Reddy regularly contributed to various publications such as Woman and Home, Longevity, Elle and The Star. She has also appeared on TV programmes such as Carte Blanche Medical, Top Billing, Eastern Mosaic, Maatband, Hello Doctor as well as CNBC Africa.
A2 Disclaimer: This article is published for information purposes only, nor should it be regarded as a replacement for sound medical advice.
This article was written by Dr Anushka Reddy and edited by the A2 team EXCLUSIVELY for the A2 Aesthetic & Anti-Ageing Magazine Mar/Jun 2020 Edition (Issue 33).
A2 Magazine prints only four magazines each year – reporting seasonally on everything you need and want to know about aesthetics, anti-ageing, integrative medicine, quality and medical skincare, cosmetic dentistry and cosmetic surgery in South Africa – where to go, who to see, what to expect, something new and so much more! Never miss an edition – click here for more info about where you can buy the print and/or digital copy of A2 Magazine (including back copies).
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