Dr. Omar Ibrahimi
Dr. Omar Ibrahimi צילום: Courtesy

Several substantial studies conclude that surgical cosmetic procedures improve both the physical appearance and quality of life of patients. The psychological well-being of patients impacts their self-esteem and confidence. However, scientists also set out to see how minimally invasive and non-invasive treatments affect psychological and social dimensions in health.

In one study on minimally invasive aesthetic procedures like injectables, the patients reported improvements in their psychological and social functioning. They also had less appearance-related distress. Therefore, the value of these treatments is undeniable for mental health.

Laser treatments have far fewer adverse reactions than other procedures and a faster recovery time. Typically, laser treatments are used for stretch marks, redness, dilated blood vessels, wrinkles, sunspots, scars, and other skin blemishes.

Dr. Omar Ibrahimi is the Medical Director of the Connecticut Skin Institute and discusses his perspective on the mental health impact of laser treatments based on research and his experience.

Role of Social Media

Dr. Ibrahimi stresses that people often blame the media (including social media), peer pressure, and celebrity culture for the increase in people’s desire to reverse the signs of aging, improve their features, or for their notion of the ideal body weight and shape.

It is natural for people to compare themselves with others and feel dissatisfied. One study on young women showed the influence of Instagram mostly affects those with a tendency for perfectionism. In another study, it was shown that issues with body satisfaction don’t affect women with higher body appreciation or a more positive body image.

He says: “It is important for a person to have an initial full consultation with a dermatologist before starting any treatment. As doctors, we are trained to understand when issues are real or driven by deeper issues in patients. And of course, we have the means to help patients with even minor skin problems and are not there to discourage them, only if these problems are perceived.”

Unfortunately, patients obsessed with their appearance are more vulnerable to exploitation by unscrupulous or untrained practitioners, who may expose them to unnecessary treatments.

Perceived and Real Flaws

For most of us, when we look at our face, it is natural to automatically look at one specific flaw, e.g., a brown spot or birthmark, perceiving it as a flaw. What we don’t realize is that when others look at us, they see the whole person instead of just focusing on that one area.

Concentrating on just one flaw can alter our self-esteem and confidence levels. Unfortunately, even that one small flaw can make even anyone feel self-conscious, even if it’s just a little, something known as appearance orientation.

Negative appearance valuation is a proven risk factor for social anxiety and eating disorders. According to this study, treating these fears reduces this type of stress, improves their self-esteem and wellbeing. With body appreciation, most of us can identify the parts of our body we hate, and also those we like, and take measures to either draw attention to the good parts or resort to aesthetic treatment.

Laser Treatments and Self-Perception

There are several reasons why people opt to have any type of aesthetic treatment. Perhaps the signs of aging are overwhelming, scarring on their face stands out too much, or others are making them feel self-conscious because of being asked why they look tired. These and many other reasons can lead to people feeling they cannot continue maintaining social interactions. This is called “impaired psychosocial function” by psychologists, and the desire to improve is certainly not something new.

Aesthetics offer several ways to avoid a vicious circle of negative feelings. People can improve their confidence and wellbeing with enhancements that offer them a refreshed look. It is best if these treatments are made without any influence from others, like peer pressure or media influences. People often choose not to speak about these treatments, even if they are non-invasive because they consider them an emotional and personal experience.

Conclusion

Dr. Omar Ibrahimi stresses that anyone seeking any aesthetic treatment is not vain, but seeking to boost their self-esteem. “As dermatologists, we see the positive results of their impact on our patients’ and their mental health.”

Laser treatments, whether for rejuvenation, removal of unsightly scarring, veins or marks, or wrinkles, have a remarkable effect on people's self-confidence. Choosing the right skin-care professionals who use advanced lasers is the most important way for patients to ensure they maximize the benefits of laser treatments.

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