Beauty Aesthetics, Health and Well-being

Principal Investigator: Dr Jo Gilmartin

The contemporary beauty culture, technologically and cosmetically armed, seems bent on defying aging.

Similarly, the continuing historical power and pervasiveness of certain cultural images, media influence and ideology leave teenagers, women and men feeling vulnerable.

Consequently, heightened body dissatisfaction appears to be a growing trend, triggering unhealthy eating, eating disorders and unhealthy exercise habits.

Discourses on moderate to high levels of dissatisfaction make their appeal strongly in healthcare, held in an ‘ikon’ of depression and poor sense of well-being.

Service users are frequently exposed to treatments that disrupt or change their appearance. For example, facial asymmetry following the removal of a facial tumour or loss of identity following some surgical procedures. This often represents a profound disruption to a person’s self-concept.

Indeed, contemporary aesthetic surgery is a powerful option for patients with self-enhancement aspirations.

The process of informed consent places an ethical obligation on health professionals to fully inform their patients about the range of possible treatments and associated risks and benefits.

The accessibility of risk information globally might be restricted due to lack of scientific evidence, government regulations, financial, geographical, logistic or other restrictions.

This research explores the costs and risks versus potential benefits of cosmetic surgery from a global perspective.