WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE BEAUTIFUL? RECOGNISING THE BEAUTY IN OURSELVES AND OTHERS SO WE ALL CAN SHINE. But this has not been the case.
Perception of beauty is changing fast, trying to keep pace with the world and especially here in the UK, with the black and minority population having doubled over the last decade. The mixed race population is now one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the country. More and more beauty brands, advertising campaigns, magazine editorials and social media platforms are now celebrating the amazing and vast diversity that this country has.
The United Nations recently celebrated World Day for Cultural Diversity along with the LQBTQ celebrations and we now have a sense of what it takes to actually truly embrace diversity in all its shapes, forms, sizes and colours. But there is still much work to be done to cater to the ethnically diverse population that we have here in the UK and this is now far more relevant to the cosmetic surgical/non surgical aesthetic industries which rake in billions of pounds of revenue each year. Let’s try and understand the market before we get into addressing what is needed for the future.
According to the Global Medical Aesthetics Industry report, the entire industry is worth 53.3$ billion for both the service and the product revenue sectors. By 2022 the market will hit $73.6 billion and non-invasive (injectables) procedures will have grown at a CAGR of 4.5%. Non surgical treatments and procedures are broadly classified into 3 major categories- injectable products, active cosmetics and energy based devices. Injectables = Botox, dermal fillers etc have the largest market share. Energy based devices= Lasers, radio frequency and IPL (Intense pulsed light) Active cosmetics= skin care, eye care, skin lightening and scar care products.
In all this where does the increasingly diverse consumer come in? What are their main concerns and objectives? And are cosmetic clinics, surgeons, dermatologists etc geared up to understand their needs? Allergan, the billion dollar pharma giant, released an Aesthetics Report that had 14,000 people across 18 countries and the mutual goal that was found was to look ‘natural’ and ‘healthy’. Whilst the majority were concerned with improving the quality of their skin, they also agreed that how they look is directly linked to how successful they are perceived in life. Factors like affordability (disposable income), not looking as good as they could and being concerned by how they appeared in pictures - thanks to the massive proliferation of social media platforms like Instagram primarily - it seems there are more people who would rather filter their faces before posting online pictures. Why?
The questions now being asked is- are companies that are responsible for the non surgical/surgical aesthetic industry putting the right message out there; that diversity is really being looked into or is it merely a marketing ploy catering to only a specific audience? Diversity is beyond just the ethnicity, skin colour or even just the social uptake. It’s also to do with the fact that as human beings - everyone has different facial structures, body types, body size etc and it keeps on changing with age and lifestyle factors. Who is to say that there exists a beauty ideal, propagated by the media? What is the difference between an ‘ideal self’ and the ‘real self’? This gap seems to be getting wider even as the world talks more and more of embracing one’s beautiful diverse self.
The aesthetics and beauty industry for far too long has been putting out fleeting trends but now there are brands like Obagi Medical and Rihanna’s Fenty make up range launched in 2017 that are leading the change. Including women and men of all age ranges, sizes, races and religions, even disabilities, is an exciting shift for the industry and the ones who work within it. Cosmetic surgeons, skin doctors, skin therapists, dermatologists etc are awakening to this very real shift for it is up to them to make brand ambassadors of diverse people. In an online survey of 1000 women aged 18-30 commissioned by the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme and conducted by Deltapoll, 83% would gladly change a part of their body if money and the associated risks were not a concern. Surely this is not celebrating diversity or even including it?
Why are women and men increasingly being programmed to think that their current body types, shapes etc is not good enough? In all this there are many that have taken advantage, for instance some beauticians who do not have the expertise, medical training or even the ethically instilled values and only out to make a quick buck out of someone’s insecurities. There have been more and more cases of damage done due to this and patient safety is often overlooked in the face of impending complications. A deleterious effect is plaguing our societies and it’s time to take action.
The Department of Health has issued a notice stating: "Anyone considering a cosmetic procedure should take the time to find a reputable, safe, and qualified practitioner, and make sure they understand the impact of any treatment on their physical and mental health.”
True diversity and inclusivity can only happen when there is responsibility in both the industry and amongst the people seeking these treatments. We all as an industry must stand up and encourage people to embrace who they are first and then potentially seek out treatment to enhance their features and look their best, working with a qualified and ethical practitioner.
BHAsWe at MK Aesthetics are constantly striving to improve the safety of cosmetic procedures, through better training and also educating our clients and patients who walk into our clinic. It is our moral code that we ensure people make informed decisions about their physical alterations.
BE CONSCIOUS BE FEARLESS BE BEAUTIFUL Beauty lies in cultural diversity, celebration of different expressions and values, and for us this is being Diverse!
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Author: Dr Amit Goyal, Aesthetic Skin Doctor at MK Aesthetics is also a well established GP Partner at a prestigious surgery in Milton Keynes with an interest in Dermatology and is the lead GP for Dermatology in Milton Keynes. He is also part of the Dermatology team at Bedford Hospital.
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Tel: 01908 766276