Aesthetic Medicine in the Age of Social Media
Beauty and sex appeal has historically been an important part of being a woman. Cleopatra was described as “a woman of surpassing beauty” and is portrayed by Hollywood as a glamorous seductress.
When I was a teenager I was a dancer and loved my Teen Vogue, Seventeen and Glamour Magazines.
In our neighbourhood, many mothers made extra income selling Mary Kay, Avon and Tupperware. Not many were financially independent.
That was pretty much the extent of what informed my perspective on beauty and fashion.
Fast forward 40 years, here we are.
Social Media Platforms: Telus, Tik Tok, Instagram, SnapChat, Facebook, Tinder, Bumble, and an ever-expanding list of social networks and influencers.
Much of this can lead to mindless scrolling on our smart phones, often feeding feelings of low self worth, eating disorders, anxiety and depression especially among teenage girls. Boys suffer too with pressure of success and constant exposure to pornography which leads to unrealistic expectations and challenging relationships.
Search engines have very sophisticated algorithms that allow companies to collect your data and feed you advertising based on recent searches. If you look up lipsticks then you will get ads from Sephora, Skinceuticals (Lorèal), Charlotte Tilbury and Bobbi Brown. If you look up sadness or anxiety then you get bombarded with Telehealth providers promoting prescription drugs.
Youth seeking cosmetic treatments are especially vulnerable and easily influenced by marketing propaganda. On social media, we are bombarded with beauty information, the “disease” of perimenopause, the importance of “preventative” botox treatments and filtered social media “influencers”.
The next target market for many big pharmaceutical companies is perimenopause, the LGBQT community, mental health and young teens.
Tik Tok influencers encourage people to diagnose their “conditions”: if you sense an increase in forgetfulness then you probably have ADHD, prompting you to self diagnose and consider a medication to solve your focus issues. Posts like that often get millions of views. The Social Dilemma https://www.thesocialdilemma.com is a good documentary on these important issues. Other interesting documentaries on the power of Pharma Marketing are Painkiller and Pain Hustlers on @netflix. The same strategies used for OxyContin are being used by all the drug companies selling new drugs especially mental health medications and cosmetic injectables.
What can be done?
Awareness is important. Self belief is important. Detoxing from Social Media apps is important. Human connection and real friendships are important. You may think you are connecting on a computer or a smart phone…this is deceiving as this is not real human connection and lacks the healing power of physical interaction.
Everyone wants a quick fix, but life rarely offers such remedies. Lifestyles that include a proper diet with whole unprocessed foods, restorative sleep, stress management techniques, exercise and human connection ultimately produce lasting positive outcomes. On the flip side, young people today are often drawn to using botox, fillers, and mental health medications including prescription drugs.
Being a professional in the Aesthetics industry, one is constantly confronted with people seeking quick solutions to whatever ails their body and mind. Against a growing flood of negative media influences, I try to guide clients into making smart choices toward healthful, sustainable results.
With love to all of you,
Dr. Anna MD