A few weeks ago I saw a thin middle aged woman shuffling painfully among the grocery store aisles, her face wrapped in compression bandages, her eyes swollen. She reminded me of a neighbor, MB, who had taken a month's vacation in order to stay out of sight. When I saw MB a week after surgery, her head was wrapped in a compression bandage to hold up her jaw and neck, and her face was raw and red from a chemical peel. MB's eyes were black and blue, and I could see the stitches along her eyelids. She was in agony, unable to sleep, and crying from frustration. Her doctor had failed to tell her the degree of pain she would experience. When she had gone in for her post-surgery check up he told her she was coming along fine and that she was healing on schedule. "If only I had known," she wailed, telling me she only wanted minor adjustments and that the procedure wasn't worth the agony she was going through.
In fact, a chemical peel (despite the smiling face of the woman depicted in the website I linked to) consists of burning off the topmost layers of skin. As we all know, BURNING is quite painful. One of my friends took over three months to recover when her surgeon, using a laser technique, burned more than just the top layers in certain areas. She was only in her late twenties, but she wanted to remove the evidence of her bad acne. For years after the procedure I could see the thin white line where her doctor had stopped the laser procedure. Yes, her skin is smoother as a result, but years later you can still see faint traces of acne scars. The improvement is slight if noticeable at all.
As for my neighbor, she now possesses a young stretched-out face that sits on top of the plump body of a middle aged grandmother. Who does she think she is fooling? When she smiles she bears a faint resemblance to a Chesire cat. These days, instead of looking her squarely in the eyes, I find myself studying her and wondering what the doctor had done to make her look slightly foreign.
Self mutilation in any form for any reason other than as a life saving procedure is a popular phenomenon that I have been unable to understand. Don't get me wrong. I am not opposed to plastic surgery. In fact, plastic surgery performs miracles for those who are truly in need of it: burn victims, children born with horrible deformities, accident victims, soldiers injured in war, and the like. It is gratifying to know how far along the medical profession has come in its ability to help these unfortunate people. Click on Operation Smile and Make Me Pretty to read how plastic surgery can positively transform lives, as it has for the person below.
But to choose to mutilate oneself in the quest for beauty when nothing is wrong with your face? I just don't get it. Take the individuals who opt for a nose job, such as Jennifer Gray and Benjamin Bratt - will they loathe their childrens' noses as much as they hated their own?
Will they encourage their children to get their faces fixed just as Mommy or Daddy did? Food for thought.
Ashley Simpson after nose and chin jobs looks like an entirely different person even though her looks were perfectly acceptable before.
And what about those who think they are fighting the aging process? Think again. Here are a few examples of people who have allowed a stranger to cut their faces yet who still look middle aged.
The once fabulous Faye Dunawaye.
Linda Evans, now unrecognizable and looking horrid at 64 even with back lighting.
In terms of aesthetics it is probably 'easier' to make someone with ordinary facial features look better, as in the example below.
It would take a Michaelangelo of Plastic Surgery to make a breathtakingly gorgeous person even more beautiful after cutting and stretching their face. Beauty is related to symmetry and pleasing proportion. These two concepts are key in determining whether a person's features are considered outstandingly beautiful or handsome as opposed to ordinary. A tenth of an inch here, a small lift there, a minuscule reduction here, and you can transform a cute face into a beautiful one or vice versa. From her before photo, I would say that Catherine Zeta-Jones's surgeon (and makeup artist) had superb skills.
But stretch the skin too far in one direction, cut out a bit too much here, or add too much 'bee sting' there and you've ruined what was once a unique and lovely face.
Jessica Lange, for example, has lost her ethereal beauty. In fact with her lifted brows she looks downright scary in this photo.
And Melanie Griffith looks like a caricature of herself. My take? Leave well enough alone and play with the card Mother Nature has dealt you.
Like Diane Keaton, who is fabulously wrinkled and still looks precisely as she always has - just older. Or Blythe Danner, who looks simply amazing.
(Yes I was heavy handed with the women this go round. Here is my take on the men.)