The Pros, Cons, and Psychology Behind Cosmetic Surgery

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Cosmetic surgery presents many opportunities for those with low self-esteem, giving people a new way to view themselves and feel good about their bodies. For many patients, the desire for cosmetic surgery often stems from non-acceptance of themselves and the societal condition to appear beautiful. The aspect of beauty can cause emotional distress and intense amounts of self-loathing in both women and men, as these feelings are often experienced all over the world. Cosmetic surgery can provide many advantages and disadvantages when resolving this complex issue, hence why we’re here to explore the psychology behind beauty and what cosmetic surgery can provide for mental health.

Why Do People Consider Cosmetic Surgery For Mental Health?

Images of beauty bombard us on a daily basis, as magazines and advertisements often immaculate images of beauty and perfection that feed on insecurity. Pictures of slim, attractive women and muscular, masculine men can trigger insecurities and self-doubt in people, and the pressure to appear attractive or beautiful, feelings of self-loathing often permeate throughout the psyche and cause a cycle of mental and emotional distress.

To combat these issues, the cosmetic surgery industry has been booming over the last few decades and will likely continue to do so. Cosmetic surgery in these cases helps to work out perceived flaws and changes throughout the body, particularly in areas such as the face, breasts, legs, and buttocks, to help remove these feelings of insecurity. With this in mind, cosmetic surgery does provide some unique benefits to those looking to improve their appearance, including:

  • Benefiting a Person on an Exterior Level: Whether opting in for breast enlargement or a butt lift, cosmetic surgery can help improve appearance on an exterior level.
  • Helps Align Inner and Outer Identities: For those identifying other than their assigned gender, cosmetic surgery can help mesh together with the inner and outer worlds of a person’s psychological well-being.
  • Provides a Sense of Acceptance From Others: It can also help provide self-acceptance and remove feelings of inferiority from others.

However, depending on the person’s mental health, cosmetic surgery can also bring about disadvantages. For patients with low self-esteem, cosmetic surgery won’t be able to resolve these issues immediately. In fact, for inner change to happen, it can take time for this new version of themselves to take shape. Unrealistic expectations of cosmetic surgery can cause problems for the patient, so it’s important that those considering cosmetic surgery have clear concepts of the goals they want to achieve and the results they’ll expect from surgery. Other issues that can arise from cosmetic surgery include:

  • Surgery Complications: All surgeries come with complications and risks, and it’s important to speak with your surgeon about these risks before continuing.
  • Social Stigmas Surrounding Cosmetic Surgery: Due to social stigmas surrounding cosmetic surgery, the idea of “fakeness” can permeate and hurt the patient psychologically.
  • Solely Handles Aesthetics and Not Mental Health: Cosmetic surgery only deals with aesthetic outer appearances and doesn’t always work to improve mental health.

Because of these risks, it’s important to speak with your cosmetic surgeon about your expectations for cosmetic surgery, what the outcomes and risks are with surgery, and other factors related to your health. It’s important to care for your mental health when considering cosmetic surgery, as cosmetic surgery works best as an individual’s choice for the right reasons.

Cosmetic surgery presents many opportunities for those with low self-esteem, giving people a new way to view themselves and feel good about their bodies. For many patients, the desire for cosmetic surgery often stems from non-acceptance of themselves and the societal condition to appear beautiful. The aspect of beauty can cause emotional distress and intense amounts of self-loathing in both women and men, as these feelings are often experienced all over the world. Cosmetic surgery can provide many advantages and disadvantages when resolving this complex issue, hence why we’re here to explore the psychology behind beauty and what cosmetic surgery can provide for mental health.

Why Do People Consider Cosmetic Surgery For Mental Health?

Images of beauty bombard us on a daily basis, as magazines and advertisements often immaculate images of beauty and perfection that feed on insecurity. Pictures of slim, attractive women and muscular, masculine men can trigger insecurities and self-doubt in people, and the pressure to appear attractive or beautiful, feelings of self-loathing often permeate throughout the psyche and cause a cycle of mental and emotional distress.

To combat these issues, the cosmetic surgery industry has been booming over the last few decades and will likely continue to do so. Cosmetic surgery in these cases helps to work out perceived flaws and changes throughout the body, particularly in areas such as the face, breasts, legs, and buttocks, to help remove these feelings of insecurity. With this in mind, cosmetic surgery does provide some unique benefits to those looking to improve their appearance, including:

  • Benefiting a Person on an Exterior Level: Whether opting in for breast enlargement or a butt lift, cosmetic surgery can help improve appearance on an exterior level.
  • Helps Align Inner and Outer Identities: For those identifying other than their assigned gender, cosmetic surgery can help mesh together with the inner and outer worlds of a person’s psychological well-being.
  • Provides a Sense of Acceptance From Others: It can also help provide self-acceptance and remove feelings of inferiority from others.

However, depending on the person’s mental health, cosmetic surgery can also bring about disadvantages. For patients with low self-esteem, cosmetic surgery won’t be able to resolve these issues immediately. In fact, for inner change to happen, it can take time for this new version of themselves to take shape. Unrealistic expectations of cosmetic surgery can cause problems for the patient, so it’s important that those considering cosmetic surgery have clear concepts of the goals they want to achieve and the results they’ll expect from surgery. Other issues that can arise from cosmetic surgery include:

  • Surgery Complications: All surgeries come with complications and risks, and it’s important to speak with your surgeon about these risks before continuing.
  • Social Stigmas Surrounding Cosmetic Surgery: Due to social stigmas surrounding cosmetic surgery, the idea of “fakeness” can permeate and hurt the patient psychologically.
  • Solely Handles Aesthetics and Not Mental Health: Cosmetic surgery only deals with aesthetic outer appearances and doesn’t always work to improve mental health.

Because of these risks, it’s important to speak with your cosmetic surgeon about your expectations for cosmetic surgery, what the outcomes and risks are with surgery, and other factors related to your health. It’s important to care for your mental health when considering cosmetic surgery, as cosmetic surgery works best as an individual’s choice for the right reasons.

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Paula Moynahan, MD

Dr. Paula Moynahan, MD is a Cosmetic, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Specialist in Middlebury, CT and NYC and has over 53 years of experience in the medical field. She graduated from Medical College Of Pennsylvania medical school in 1968. To optimize her patients’ results, Dr. Moynahan developed a unique proprietary skin treatment line in 1984, updated continuously with every scientific advancement in skincare. Be sure to call ahead with Dr. Moynahan to book an appointment.

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