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Look Back to Move Forward

By: Steven H. Dayan, MD, FACS
Posted: May 3, 2010, from the May 2010 issue of
Physicians with hands in center

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Botox spread cosmetic medicine to the masses. For the first time, working class individuals seeking cosmetic improvements entered into the market. Consequently, the demand has skyrocketed more than 3,600% in the past 10 years. To the scientist, the predictability, accuracy and safety made it an easy drug for designing trials to measure objective outcomes from cosmetic medicine.

And studies are now proving what has been anecdotally believed and heard from patients for years: People who get cosmetic medical treatments project a better first impression.1 Furthermore, cosmetic medicine has been shown to correlate with an increase in a more positive mood,2 and in a double-blind, randomized, placebo controlled study, patients who received Botox showed an improved quality of life at two weeks and even up to three months after their treatment.3 Botox was allowing people to improve their self-esteem and have it noticed by others.

Leveling the field

As cosmetic medicine’s benefits are becoming further established, more of the population wants to take part in it. The widespread availability, increasing competition and proven benefits have driven the price of nonsurgical cosmetic medical treatments closer to that of a hair cut than a face lift. No longer is cosmetic medicine a treatment limited to an elite class. The majority of people—90%—undergoing cosmetic medical procedures are now middle-class households earning less than $90,000.4

Cosmetic medicine today is a field of study providing improvement in quality of life issues for many Americans. The effects of cosmetic medicine on society are just beginning to be realized, and though conventional wisdom likes to brand cosmetic physicians as purveyors of beauty, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Our research and scope of medicine is targeted toward making the majority of Americans feel better about themselves with safe and effective treatment options. Cosmetic medicine allows traumatized victims a path for returning to society and being productive. In addition, it gives all classes of individuals additional tools to obtain an improved quality of life and satisfy one of the most primal human instincts, wanting to look our best. And by staying true to this mission, we are most likely to achieve success.