When comparing between natural beauty and artificial beauty, one must first ask himself, “What is beauty?” According to the Little Oxford English Dictionary, beauty is described simply as ‘the quality of being very pleasing to the senses’. However, Stendhal, a nineteenth century writer states that “beauty is the promise of happiness”. Perhaps this is the reason then that human beings, mainly women, are pressured in looking beautiful all the time. This is because beauty happens to be the most gratifying quality of feature for women. The effect it has made on women is astonishing.
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Beauty begins with confidence. Confidence begins with inner peace. This inner peace influences natural beauty which is all about the body and face given by God. Among women, natural beauty is merely embellished and enhanced by make up. Make up does not alter the original symmetry of the face or body. Hence, when a woman applies make up, she becomes more confident as she is now more comfortable with herself. In this way, women tend to become less self conscious about themselves.
Artificial beauty occurs when one alters his or her body. It is more commonly known as plastic surgery. Plastic surgery is done to correct a physical abnormality. It can be done to improve both a person’s appearance and ability to function. When plastic surgery is mentioned, our minds automatically picture famous actresses delaying the effects of aging or people who want to change the size of their arms, breasts, noses and so on just because they are discontented with their natural beauty. Little do they know that plastic surgery has both, its advantages and disadvantages.
For starters, people should discern that there are two types of plastic surgery that is, reconstructive surgery and cosmetic or aesthetic surgery. Reconstructive surgery is generally performed on abnormal structures of the body caused by traumas, diseases, congenital defects and others. On the other hand, cosmetic or aesthetic surgery is to reshape a part of the body which a person is not satisfied with. Common procedures include nose jobs (rhinoplasty), the removal of fat from certain parts of the body (liposuction) and so on. Procedures for both reconstructive and cosmetic surgery can indeed burn a hole in your pocket. However, patients will be pleased to know that most reconstructive surgeries are covered by health insurance. Cosmetic surgeries are not covered by health insurance since it is an elective procedure.
The question one should pose is “Is plastic surgery really necessary?” Sadly, a direct answer cannot be provided to that question. In my opinion, plastic surgery should only be done when required. This is because not only does it cost a bomb, but why go through all that unnecessary pain and risk by going under the knife? Plastic surgery basics expert Steve Fallek states that for plastic surgery such as an injection of dermal filler such as Restylane or even Botox where it’s a tiny needle, the pain is minimal. For some of our bigger plastic surgery operations, such as breast reduction, tummy tuck or liposuction, obviously the pain level is a bit more.
If everything goes well, the pain after plastic surgery is done should eventually diminish within a few days. Bed rest is usually recommended by plastic surgeons within two to five days after major cosmetic surgery. This is seen as a downfall especially to those who are working. They would have to take time off from their jobs to recuperate. Patients should always take any prescription as indicated. Pain medication is usually prescribed to take patients through the first few days after surgery. Nevertheless, there could be certain side effects from the prescription. Patients could put their health at further risk if they become allergic either to the prescript drugs or to the cosmetic surgery itself.
In my opinion, plastic surgery is accepted when the need arises. Reconstructive surgery can be done when a person suffers from cleft lip, a situation where the upper lip and roof of the mouth is affected. Hand defects can also be done by the reconstruction of missing parts by transferring tissue from another area of the body such as the toe-to-hand for a missing finger. Furthermore, reconstructive surgery can also correct blood vessel malformations that affect the arteries, the veins and the lymphatics. In such cases plastic surgery is more of a boon than a bane. Problems such as these ought to be treated as most of it is due to birth defects or injuries whereas cosmetic surgeries are done simply because people are not at ease with their bodies.
While plastic surgery may seem as a common procedure, there definitely are risks involved. Complications can arise from the use of anaesthetics which can potentially cause brain damage, strokes, heart palpitations as well as paralysis if things go really wrong. There is also necrosis, a condition where the skin cells begin to die. Though a skilled anaesthesiologist can lessen these risks drastically, there is a minute possibility of things going wrong. Connie Biglow, an average woman from Seattle underwent her first surgery for a double mastectomy. She had no choice but to remove her breasts due to breast cancer. She then had implants which led to a further sixteen surgeries. She said “Each time was different. Sometimes it was the left side. Sometimes it was the right side. But I would never heal correctly. It would just look very ugly, very raw.” Doctors then removed the implants which left very large craters in her chest. She could not live with that and scheduled for another surgery to make new breasts from her abdominal tissue. Though it was supposed to look natural, it was not that way for Connie. She was left with heavy fibrous scarring that encircled her breast like the stitching in a football. Yet again, her body rejected the stitches and healed with unsightly overgrown scars. The signs of surgery are still evident too. Thick, dark, purplish scars run across her entire abdomen from the surgery.
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Doctor Phil Haeck from Seattle states that surgeons should talk about the fact that there is a three to four percent chance that things might go wrong like in Connie’s case. People should realise that not every makeover has a happy ending. However, it is helpful to understand that death rates in plastic surgery are relatively low compared to death rates in surgery overall. This is due in large part to the fact that plastic surgery is elective and most surgeons will refuse to operate on a patient they feel is a poor (high-risk) candidate. Nevertheless, the worst-case scenario does happen.
From tummy tucks to facelifts to breast augmentation, millions of people are undergoing cosmetic surgery to maintain their youthful appearances. Twenty eight year old Jenny had undergone twenty six surgeries when she first appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show. During the show, Jenny realized what everyone watching saw so clearly: She needed to get help for body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), a psychiatric problem that causes people to be preoccupied with imagined or very slight physical defects. Dr. Katharine Phillips is the world’s leading expert on body dysmorphic disorder. “BDD is a serious psychiatric illness,” Dr. Phillips says. “It’s not vanity. And it can be absolutely tormenting.” Dr. Phillips says that BDD is one of the most misunderstood psychiatric illnesses to people who do not suffer from it. A major concern of Jenny’s is her nose. Jenny already has trouble breathing through her nose because of previous surgeries. What Jenny didn’t expect was for her doctor to tell her that she would no longer be able to receive plastic surgery on her nose since there would be too great of a risk of her nose collapsing. Jenny broke down crying at the news. Now, she is trying to face the music.
Rhytidectomy, or more commonly known as facelifts is a type of cosmetic surgery done to remove wrinkles and various other signs of aging on your face. Through this surgery, excess skin is removed, making the muscles tighten. An incision is made near the hairline and skin is pulled back. This gives an aging patient a smoother, firmer appearance than her natural beauty. This procedure can be done on either the face, neck or both. Sharon Osbourne who is no stranger to facelifts said “If anybody says their facelift doesn’t hurt, they’re lying. It was like I’d spent the night with an axe murderer.” Rhytidectomy has become the third most desired facial plastic surgery. Women should realise that aging of the face is inevitable because aging is a part of natural beauty.
From Michael Jackson to Angelina Jolie, they both have had rhinoplasty. Rhinoplasty or nose job is a type of cosmetic surgery done to improve the appearance of the nose. A typical rhinoplasty surgical procedure takes one to two hours. The skin of the nose is extracted from the bone and cartilage that supports it. The framework of the bone and cartilage is then sculpted to a shape that the patient wants. Those who endure the pains of rhinoplasty generally have a small, low-bridged nose and are displeased with it. After the surgery, they are expected to have a more prominent looking one with a higher nose bridge. Besides that, another type of cosmetic surgery is thighplasty. Thighplasty is a thigh and buttock lift. Surgeons remove excess skin from the thigh, hip and buttock. People that are relatively fit and have stubborn fat or excess skin in the buttock area are ideal to have this surgery. Tiny incisions are made along the outer thigh and groin to the buttock crease. Most patients are rather happy with the outcome of thighplasty as it not only helps to improve the body contour, but also helps them to lose weight slightly. Another alternative to thighplasty is liposuction. However, liposuction will less likely improve the look and appearance of saggy skin.
Not all people are discontented with their natural beauty. Some, like Jenny, undergo cosmetic surgery because they face BDD whereas some want to feel more confident and better about themselves. They want to have a better life where other people would admire them for their looks instead of talking about their ugliness. Hence, this helps the psychological aspect of the patient. These results may help the person live a happier life as worries about not being accepted by the society because of appearance may be eliminated. However, for some other women, plastic surgery seems to be like just another escapade to achieve instant gratification. Women should realise that they do not need plastic surgery to validate them as beautiful women. Though the aging process gives them wrinkly and saggy skin, they should know that this is a part of life, something that God has purposed for them in the first place. If you are considering cosmetic surgery and are willing to spend money on it just because you are not happy with your body or you want to slow down the process of aging, did you ever stop to think about the millions of children out there who actually need reconstructive surgery but cannot afford it? What about those whose bodies are burnt and are scarred for life and kids who are born with cleft lips? Cosmetic surgery should not be more important than valuing natural beauty. Quit on quick fixes and embrace natural beauty and natural signs of aging instead of having a perfect body with a burnt pocket.