Beauty standards often demand youthful looks, which is why there has been an upsurge in aesthetic-focused treatments, particularly in the non-surgical cosmetics industry. Facial enhancing procedures like Botox Kent account for an estimated 900,000 facial injections in Britain’s beauty industry each year.
The nature of physical appearance makes it so that attempts to look good are deemed superficial, yet it is hard to escape the all-pervading influence that good looks have on our lives. Far from being rational, society uses physical attractiveness as a means to extract strong cues about a person’s character or capabilities. Judgements – positive or negative – are made in a split second about whether a person is friendly, honest, intelligent, or compassionate – all just by looking at their face.
Whether you like to call it face-ism or the physical attractiveness bias, this tendency to make judgements based on looks can influence how well a person’s life turns out. Looks that are perceived to be aesthetically pleasing earn a person a more favourable verdict. Good looks are held on par with success and leadership with those who are blessed with it benefiting from opportunities to make more money. The odds are in favour of these individuals whether they find themselves in the classroom, courtroom, playground, workplace or even out on the street (a good-looking person is more likely to escape a traffic fine than a person with less pleasing looks).
Factors that fuel the desire to look good
The non-surgical cosmetics industry abound with easily accessible and affordable treatments dedicated to improving the way we look, from wrinkle-reducing to lip-plumping injectables.
This craze to recapture youth has been spurred on by a number of factors.
The first is the social media factor. Seeing images of others and sharing images of oneself on social media has caused us to be much more conscious about how we look. We scrutinise, tweak and retweak images before posting them online. We admire the attractive selfies of others and become more critical of our own natural imperfections.
The adopting of shifts in beauty standards is another concern. The more others look to iron out frown lines, pluck eyebrows or colour out the greys, the more it becomes a norm. It becomes normal to fit in with what everyone else is doing, and eyebrows are raised at the non-conformers.
The pressure to be perfect may be illogical when approached with a rational mind, but there are many who suffer from body dysmorphia. Obsession of any kind is not healthy, and one runs the risk of changing one’s own appearance to look like that of another. The constant criticism when one looks in the mirror can cause an undue amount of stress and anxiety.
For whatever reason that necessitates a non-surgical cosmetic procedure, it is critical that the aesthetics practitioner is chosen with great care. The non-surgical cosmetic industry has come under the spotlight, particularly in the UK, as concerns were raised about the industry being unregulated to the extent of being compared to the Wild West. Botched procedures and unscrupulous practices have prompted the passing of a law – the Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Act – that makes it illegal in the UK to administer products like facial injectables to those under the age of 18.