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Are you shallow if you do cosmetic procedures?

October 10, 2014

The conversation often begins like this:  “I know this is really vain, but…” or “I never thought I would be one of those people who did Botox” or “Now that I know I don’t have skin cancer, can we talk about how to make my face look better?”

Patients often feel sheepish or embarrassed about asking me how to look better.  And I will repeat what I always say, “Caring about the way you look is normal and healthy.  Caring too much makes you a narcissist, but not caring at all may be a sign you are depressed.”

To me, cosmetic procedures are a part of an integrative approach to dermatology. I love doing Botox and Fillers for the same reason I love when someone’s acne gets better – If I can help you feel good about the way you look, then I am contributing to your emotional/mental health, which is such a fundamental part of overall health.  I will never push cosmetic procedures, or take advantage of someone who is feeling vulnerable to get them to do more cosmetic stuff.  And I will always be honest about what I have done myself.  I dislike when dermatologists are coy about or deny what they have done to themselves.  It is hypocritical to recommend to your patients to do something that you feel shame admitting yourself.

If you look in the mirror every day and feel great, God bless you, and don’t do a thing! But it that one wrinkle drives you nuts, and there is a low-risk way to get rid of it, and you can afford it, WHY NOT? If you can get rid of those hollows under your eyes or replace a little of the volume that aging has taken away, go for it. And this advice is for you men out there, as well as you women.

So of course you must be wondering “When is she going to step up and admit what she does herself?”

First of all, I really don’t obsess about my appearance.  I don’t have a magnifying mirror, and I feel better without makeup for day-to-day life.  I try to be generous to myself and not be constantly self-judging, which so many women do. I use great products, do Botox to myself about 3 times a year, and last year I took the plunge and got Belotero filler under my eyes.  I had wanted to do it for years, and do not know what took me so long.  😉

So there you have it.  For me, cosmetic dermatology can be done ethically and is part of how I try to help my patients.