When we think of “aesthetic procedures” or “cosmetic surgery,” we often think of celebrities like the Kardashian family. Because each and everyone in that family looks very — almost impossibly — beautiful, we can’t help but think that we, common folk, can’t achieve that level unless we invest in a long trip to a plastic surgeon’s office. And because of this common perception, many of us tend to believe that investing in Botox specials and other aesthetic procedures is simply for vanity. But that’s not true at all for most people.
What we don’t often realize is that investing in such aesthetic procedures, surgical or not, can actually lead to many benefits for our mental health. It can actually make us feel better about ourselves. It can help us improve our quality of life. And it can also equip us for better social interactions and long-term relationships. Here’s how aesthetic procedures can transform our mental health for the better and in the long run.
Anxiety and Depression
Back in 2003, a team of researchers from France conducted a study on the connection between anxiety, depression, and patients up for surgical aesthetic procedures. They proved that the most common root cause of people’s desire to improve their physical appearance through surgical means is anxiety. They also found that these patients are more depressed than the general population. To see and understand the long-term impact of these surgical aesthetic procedures on their mental health, the researchers checked back in on the patients nine months after the procedures.
The results of the study found that surgical aesthetic procedures made significant and, therefore, undeniable results on the patients’ mental health. They reduced their feelings of anxiety and/or depression. Some even lost those feelings altogether. Because of this study and many others that followed, it became clear in the medical community and the public that aesthetic procedures can help with people’s anxiety and depression.
In connection with anxiety and depression, social phobia is also a common reason why people would opt to reach out to plastic surgeons to improve their physical appearance. Many might disregard this social phobia and downgrade it to merely an embarrassment. They feel that people who have social phobia are just embarrassed about their faces and/or bodies. Therefore, they don’t need to get aesthetic procedures — especially surgical ones — to get over their embarrassment. But that’s not true at all for many people. If left unchecked, social phobia can lead to serious effects. People in self-imposed isolation can put their safety, welfare, and even health at risk.
So when they opt to get an aesthetic procedure to overcome their social phobia, then they should. As stated by the study on anxiety, depression, and aesthetic procedures, a trip to the plastic surgeon’s office has led to a positive impact on people’s confidence and social interactions.
Self-efficacy, Professional Success, and Quality of Life
Apart from social interactions and relationships, people’s issues with their faces and/or bodies can also affect their professional lives. Yes, in this day and age, more and more industries are becoming inclusive by not enforcing beauty standards. For example, it’s possible now to see plus-size models and models with skin conditions strutting runways on Fashion Week. Great examples are Ashley Graham, a plus-size model, and Winnie Harlow, a model with vitiligo, a condition that causes patches of light tone on her naturally dark skin.
But even if industries are more inclusive now, many would still choose to go to a doctor’s office for an aesthetic procedure. They simply needed to feel confident to do their jobs, especially so if their job entails facing customers and clients every single day. And by investing in aesthetic procedures, they feel an increase in self-efficacy. Then, as a result, they have become more likely to get ahead in their professional lives. And, in the long run, their quality of life improves.
When Ariel Winters, who is most famous for her work on the sitcom, Modern Family, underwent a breast reduction surgery in 2015, she did it out of self-love. At 15 years old, prior to the surgery, her breast cup was the size F. During this time, she was doing her best to cope with the physical pain — especially on her back, caused by her heavy breasts. She was also dealing with a lot of emotional pain caused by not being able to find clothes that would fit her and cyberbullying.
By getting the surgery, she was putting all of this pain behind her to take better care of her well-being.
Understanding the positive mental health effects of aesthetic procedures is the best way to understand why people choose to invest in them. By caring for their physical appearance, they are, ultimately, caring for their inner well-being.