What inspires you to consider having a little something done at a med spa? Maybe there’s more that goes into your choices than you think. When you’re confident your self-worth doesn’t depend on what you look like or what you decide to change, getting a few things done can be exciting. Here and now, in 2022, the term ‘tweaking’ no longer only refers to when you’re overly stressed out or acting wild. We’re now applying the word in its dictionary definition to undergoing slight modifications, more specifically, the minor altering of your face or body for aesthetic purposes. And in some cases, the stacking of these procedures. Welcome to the modern Tweakment Culture. What helps you to feel beautiful is your personal choice, and the way you choose to honor your beauty is as individual as you are. At least it should be. Plenty of outside influences also affect how you view yourself and what procedures you might want to undergo to “improve” your beauty. Do they play a role in your vision of yourself?

Is There Such a Thing As the ‘Perfect’ Look?

For many, there’s a perceived ideal appearance they’re working to obtain with surgical (or less invasive) tweaks. One reason for this is what we see all the time: celebrities make multiple aesthetic changes, most of them with the goal of bringing their looks closer to that ‘perfect model’ or ideal version of how they think a person’s facial features should look. This has resulted in a very similar appearance across the board. Have you noticed that many famous (and non-famous) people are starting to look the same? #instagramface What happened to individuality? Or just respecting others by not publicly stating your personal views that they should look any different? Does such a thing as one perfect look even exist? What humans generally perceive as the ultimate in beauty has typically been identified by the amount of balance that a face holds. Well-known celebrities are known to have symmetrical faces. The ancient Greek philosopher Plato regarded symmetry as a key aspect of beauty in his book, Philebus. In the early 1900s, Korean Sculptor Moon Shin referred to symmetry as a vital principle in esthetics. The father of Korean facialogy insisted that symmetrically balanced people are more attractive and healthier. And many animals prefer symmetry, equated with a robust immune system and healthy genes. Following trends is a lot less problematic when it comes to something easy to change, like hairstyles, makeup or clothing. Even piercings and tattoos that follow the latest fashionable ideals can often be reversed if you decide that your row of 10 mini earrings climbing your lobe went from “a good idea” to “a good idea at the time.” But what about your facial features or body shape?

Whose Opinion Matters?

Maybe you’ve seen opinions about how people should look from so-called experts on social media posts. For instance, a very popular TikToker is one Laguna Beach practitioner, Miranda Wilson, who often uses her TikTok channel to show which procedures she would perform to “improve” famous faces (without their inquiry or consent) and lately, she’s had a lot of pushback on some of her (now deleted) posts. People were horrified that she was not only promoting her services using celebrities who didn’t ask to be the subject of her posts but were even more upset by the overarching issue of an expert telling anyone they aren’t good enough from an aesthetic perspective. You don’t have to give in to anyone’s vision of what you ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ look like. Having a minor procedure (or more) is your choice and best serves you when the decisions are based on what you want to look like. If you need help deciding on your options, ask us here at Aesthetic Envy during a consultation to help you see the possibilities.

Can We Place All the Blame on Herd Mentality?

Maybe you’ve done an internet search on some of your favorite celebrities and seen their ‘before and afters’ from childhood or when they first started in their field. A recent popular trend on TikTok has celebs sharing what they looked like in their teens to the 90s song “Teenage Dirtbag” by the band Wheatus. Did you notice they didn’t just age, but some of them seemed to change their features, too? Is this fuelling our obsession with aesthetic transformations? Or is it simply making it seem more common and easier to participate in without the negative connotations of the past? While we already discussed that seeing pleasing faces on social media and other entertainment significantly affects trends and perceptions of beauty, we also know that some aren’t basing personal decisions on what others (even society as a whole) may think about their appearance. So there are other factors at play here, including the fact that transformations and makeovers have always been considered fun, whether it’s a child dressing up in their parent’s shoes or having the ‘before and after’ of your braces photo to show friends and family how you’ve come of age.

Why Is This a Big Deal Now?

The popularity of minor, aesthetic procedures has risen by leaps and bounds in the last few years. We can blame the pandemic a little for this too — being at home for an extended period had many looking at themselves on camera during virtual meetings. 2020 will also be known as the kickoff to the ‘Zoom boom’ for cosmetic procedures. Do you remember those Instagram Reels and memes joking about how many spend their time on Zoom meetings looking at themselves more than anyone else on the screen? Relatable. Maybe that’s why Zoom began releasing filters… But what about real life? According to the National Library of Medicine, a November 2020 study showed that increased video calling is associated with an 80% or more increased acceptance of aesthetic procedures. And in the past, aesthetically ‘enhancing’ one’s appearance often required major surgery, which involved a much bigger decision. Now, with nonsurgical nose jobs and facelifts achieved using Botox or dermal fillers, results are reversible or temporary with little to no downtime and the costs for patients are lower than surgery. Now, so many procedures can be done during a lunch break, and no one has to know it even happened. You can leave for work in the morning looking one way and go home starting to look another.

Are There Dangers Involved?

Since nonsurgical procedures are often seen as ‘easy’ fixes compared to surgery, many patients mistakenly assume that they can have their treatments done anywhere or by anyone, including their favorite nail lady. (Yes, this is a thing). When it comes to safety and better results, do your research to ensure you’re asking for FDA-approved treatments and products and working with a highly vetted practitioner (like here at Aesthetic Envy, of course). In addition to questions of physical safety, modern tweakment culture raises questions about our mental and emotional health. The popularity of nonsurgical procedures has a profound effect on the psychology of millions who are becoming obsessed with fine-tuning their appearance with minor medical adjustments. Younger and younger people are choosing to go through repeated minute changes in their appearance and for many, it’s leading to cases of the “samesies.” Twinning is cute when you have the same handbag as your bestie, but should everyone have the same cheeks, lips, chin and forehead? Avoid the fate of looking like everyone else, or worse, looking like you’re trying to look like anyone else. Skip bringing photos to your consultation if you’re expecting to look exactly like your fave celeb or your friends. Work with your practitioner to choose procedures that make sense for you and be sure to get a clear breakdown of your reasonably expected results.

What Role Do Trends Play?

Trends constantly change, so making significant and permanent changes related to passing fads isn’t highly recommended. (Anyone with a barbed wire tattoo across their lower back or super thin eyebrows that just won’t grow back in understands exactly how this feels.) Ask yourself about your motivations before you meet with a practitioner to discuss the latest options available, and consider whether your choices might be affected by passing trends. Your practitioner can help you discover the treatments that will personally enhance your own beauty, giving the most flattering and natural result.

How Does Tweakment Culture Affect Mental Health?

Tweakments are both readily available and so visible that it’s contributing to raised anxiety and leading to more cases of body dysmorphia (where a person sees things to change that aren’t visible to others). Studies have shown that comparing yourself to perceived perfection in others often leads to psychological issues such as depression, reduced self-esteem and eating disorders. Because humans can be negative thinkers about themselves, a race can begin where you fixate on parts of you that you see as ‘wrong’ rather than reflect positive thoughts about your outer and inner beauty. A possible danger involved is that as soon as one imperfection is ‘fixed,’ you might keep moving on to fix something else, in a never-ending cycle of low self-esteem, anxiety and depression. Ask yourself if your reasons for a little aesthetic tweak are related to the desire to look like a celebrity or influencer, and whether social trends are playing a part in your decisions. If time passes and the opposite look becomes popular, could you regret your decision now?

The Good News

Having a little something done for yourself can have a positive impact on your mindset. According to the American Psychological Association, the Center for Human Appearance at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine conducted a study which proved that a year after receiving cosmetic enhancements, 87 percent of patients reported positive emotions, including improvements in their overall body image and the feature they altered. They also experienced less negative body image emotions in social situations, leading to a higher self-esteem and boosted confidence. And when you feel better about yourself, you do better in relationships and at work… and are generally happier overall. So, go ahead and treat yo’self! If you’d like to find out what’s possible to enhance your unique beauty, make a consultation with a practitioner you trust to walk you through your options and guide you to making the right choices to look and feel your very best. Whatever you decide, tweakment culture isn’t going anywhere for now, but hopefully, the negativity surrounding how we all view one another and the pressures to look like everyone else will. Aesthetic Envy is here to help you celebrate your beauty, your way. Call us at (916) 333-4906.

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