There’s something about California, especially LA, that inspires people to look their best — which is one reason why the plastic surgery market here is so popular. Everyone from actors and models to the neighbors you see walking down the street are on this quest to look beautiful and attain perfection. The problem is, though. that so many people’s minds and outlooks have been distorted by the image of physical beauty propagated by the media that they’ve come to view themselves differently, highlighting and focus on every tiny flaw that no one else even notices. This leads to body dysmorphia, which is a mental illness that results in one being overly obsessed with a particular feature of their body that drives them crazy and often propels their desire to correct it. This, in turn, leads to people going to the extreme by getting plastic surgery.
I know dozens of girls who have gotten nose jobs, breast implants and even a little liposuction — no one even bats an eye because that’s come to be an accepted part of daily life out here. I can relate to body dysmorphia in my own way — a long time ago I got a small scar on my body that I became obsessed with correcting, and I ended up consulting countless plastic surgeons about getting it corrected. I underwent a few laser treatments, microdermabrasion sessions, purchased various creams and ingredients that promised to make it better. Fortunately, I came to my senses after a few years and found that the scar got better with time. It will always be there, but it doesn’t control my life the way it previously did. I’m even more grateful, however, by the fact that I didn’t end up doing anything too extreme that would have resulted in me looking worse off than before.
While there are many beautiful people here in Los Angeles who actually have good work done, there are so many other horror stories about people who have poor work done and end up looking worse afterwards. There’s a show on E! called Botched that features two prominent plastic surgeons who work together to correct botched procedures on people, depicting everything from horrible breast implants to facelifts gone wrong. It’s actually a great show that has convinced me that I don’t need to get plastic surgery, making me absolutely appreciate what I have. It’s also taught me a few more practical things, however, including the fact that if you do intend to get cosmetic work done, you want to make sure that the person you go to is a certified plastic surgeon.
When it boils down to it, many people don’t know the difference between a plastic surgeon and a cosmetic surgeon. They’re not the same thing! According to Prevention.com, the difference between the two roles lies in one’s certification, training and credentials. Any regular MD doctor can enroll in one weekend course and call themselves a cosmetic surgeon, while a plastic surgeon earns his or her title through years of plastic surgery training upon completion of their MD. In addition, plastic surgeons must operate in accredited facilities while cosmetic surgeons don’t. So you could go to a board-certified doctor to get a facelift… but his main specialty is podiatry (feet). Are you sure that’s someone you want touching up your face?
When you’re planning to get work done, you want to do adequate research about your surgeon and make sure that they are board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or are a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. You also want someone who is highly recommended by others who have had a positive experience with them, and you also need to make sure that there are no disciplinary actions against them.
One more thing to keep in mind is that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Doctors who offer discounts or super-cheap procedures are trying to get more clients. A really good plastic surgery doesn’t need to get clients because there is already a waiting list out the door to see him. And beware of plastic surgery in other areas of the world like Mexico and Asia — a lot of the products they use like Botox aren’t even the real thing and can end up being extremely dangerous since you don’t know what is going into your body.
At the end of the day, you have to be realistic about what your expectations are. A good doctor will also be realistic and won’t promise you the moon because he knows about the risks and complications that come with getting any procedure. Armed with this knowledge, you are much less likely to get botched work done and you’ll never have to worry about looking like Jocelyn Wildenstein.
By: Kamala Kirk