In a generation dominated by the ceaseless reach of the internet and the unlimited resulting changes to how we communicate, the images and ideas we are subjected to have changed alongside them. Most notably, the way we view others, ourselves and our bodies has become a barometer of the health and wellbeing of our society. Looking good contributes to our wellbeing and consequently, our health. Of late, Beauty’s ideals have begun to lean in a positive direction, towards the natural, away from costly, ineffective remedies and more and more brands turn to ingredients less processed. Careers play a role too in body image, helping to transform the lives of people disillusioned by modern standards of beauty.
Warning Community Dermatology must protect families from the often high cost of interventions and from ineffective and harmful remedies. Too much focus and resources are placed upon appearance and too vast a portion of skin remedies include harmful assaults on the skin leading many to believe involvement in cosmetic dermatology trivialises our speciality. Yet quality of life is about more than quality of care, it includes results of studies which have clearly indicated how looking good and the absence of disfigurement contribute to health. We have all witnessed the marketing of a youthful and sexually robust society which has presented unrealistic ideals of beauty. Furthermore those with pigmented skin look to whitening and those with white skin like to be ‘tanned’ as indications of ‘good health’ and social mobility. The end point of the long term repercussions of such thinking is yet to be realised.
Action Beauty has been a motive and a force since time immemorial, but a positive body image can only be achieved through the right frame of mind and continued support from the skin care community. Marketing of self esteem has its advantages when it clearly makes people confident, happy and living with dignity within their means. In seeking to prove their capacity to benefit society and each other, skin carers must show excellence in aesthetic medicine. Yet there is a fine line between educating about managing defective skin function and coercion to do something about it to enhance the educators income.