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The Power of "Perfection"

Lynn Maestro August 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine

Let’s talk about perfection.

Some background: This month’s issue was in its final stages for print. In the print media world, if there are any changes to be made at this stage, they should only be minor copy or color changes. An enormous amount of energy and passion go into these pages, but I was adamant about making one particular change.

This month’s cover photo represents an aesthetic example of our magazine’s content. It evokes an emotion with bold visuals and provocative, compelling cover blurbs. When successful, it persuades you to open and read. Three weeks ago, on my second day here at Skin Inc., our cover evoked a very personal emotion in me. The original cover line (which has been changed) asked the question “Want the Perfect Body? Try Peels.”

This past December, my sweet 15-year-old daughter who sings with confidence and plays volleyball with fervor, disclosed to me that she was bulimic. For two years, she pursued her perception of “perfect” her way—almost losing her life in the process. For her and the millions of others tragically affected by the pursuit of perfection, I was compelled to make a change … and changed the blurb.

According to The Renfrew Center Foundation for Eating Disorders, as many as 24 million people of all ages and genders in the United States suffer from eating disorders. The need for perfection—whether it pertains to skin, body, hair, nails or teeth—will continue to be an obsession that is vital to the beauty industry’s success. However, you must ask yourself, how far should clients be pushed toward this goal? As business owners, estheticians and manufacturers, you are continually on a quest to offer the best tools (products, treatments and techniques) for “perfection power.” This pressure is tantamount to your clients’ wants.

By definition, perfect is unattainable. We all know this. I ask you with conviction to re-educate your clients, and get them to believe in better. Better is attainable. The image on the cover of our magazine this month is a healthy, fit body. That is attainable. And that is important, since, according to a recent article by Michael Levine in USA Today, 47% of middle school- and high school-aged girls want to lose weight because of pictures in magazines.

P.S. My daughter is quite proud, and is living with and managing her disease.