Why appearance is not just skin deep

Posted on the 22 July 2015 at 09:51

There is a common misconception that people who choose to have cosmetic surgery are superficially concerned with their appearance but how we view our looks on the outside can have a drastic effect on how we feel on the inside and impact upon our health mentally, psychologically and sometimes even physically.


Poor Body Image and Substance Abuse

Poor body image is about far more than just wishing you were slimmer or you had a less prominent nose. Perception of weight and appearance can have a dramatic effect on behaviour – a negative perception can increase the likelihood of harmful activities like smoking, excessive drinking or drug use.

A study of adolescents attitude to their appearance and their risk taking activities found that males who disliked the way they looked consumed greater amounts of alcohol and males who thought they were too thin were more likely to smoke cigarettes and to have more cigarettes than other young people. They also had a more liberal attitude towards drug taking and were more likely to have tried drugs themselves, compared with those who were confident about their appearance.

The issue similarly affected females but their biggest worry was their weight. Girls who thought they were too fat smoked more cigarettes and at greater frequency than those happy with their weight.

Ironically, smoking, alcohol consumption and drug use can lead to aged skin, stained teeth, excessive weight loss (or gain) and fat accumulation – all of which can damage our looks and figure, make us seem older than we really are and put us at risk of life threatening illnesses like cancer and diabetes. Drug use also increases the likelihood of becoming the victim of violence or becoming involved in the criminal justice system.


Poor Body Image and the Impact on Intimate Relationships

Problems related to how we perceive our own appearance do not affect only adolescents. People with poor body image can take the problem with them throughout their lives. A low level of body satisfaction was associated with introverted behaviour in sexual relationships, sexual anxiety and sexual problems.

Women who were satisfied with their appearance had higher self-esteem, more sexual assertiveness and fewer sexual health problems, even if they were overweight. The secret to their success in the bedroom was all about their confidence in themselves and in feeling beautiful.


Poor Body Image and Motherhood

Women struggling with self-image issues can find pregnancy challenging and many new mothers dislike their post-pregnancy figure and find it hard to lose the weight they put on.  Lots of new mothers still weigh more 9 months after the birth and some never regain their pre-pregnancy body. Mothers who are dissatisfied with their body have worse mental health, putting them at risk of post-natal depression. They are more likely to over-eat to self-sooth or to under-eat.

Physical health problems can occur if the woman is unable to get her fitness levels back, such as chronic back pain, a larger than average abdomen, a weak bladder and loss of sensitivity during sex.


Poor Body Image is a Life-Long Issue

Poor body image doesn’t just affect the young but it can persist for the duration of a person’s life and even into the elderly years, according to the Body Image journal.

If you’re struggling with low self-esteem due to an aspect of your physical appearance and dieting, exercise and other healthy lifestyle choices haven’t made a difference, you don’t simply have to put up with it. Cosmetic surgeries and cosmetic beauty enhancements can help you regain your confidence and live the life you want to live.


Cosmetic Surgery Improves Self-Esteem

Health professionals and scientists have looked in depth at whether cosmetic enhancements improve self-regard and mental health. The majority of research agrees that it improves self-worth, self-esteem and quality of life by increasing confidence and diminishing shyness and feelings of distress.

However, there are genuine psychological concerns for a recognised condition called BDD - or Body Dysmorphic Disorder. This can affect both men and women and according to the BDD foundation affects approximately 2% of the population. Sufferers can have low self-esteem and a dislike of one or various aspects of their appearance which can then become a fixation. This means that cosmetic surgery or other beauty treatments are not a solution for them or indeed for the practitioner who is attempting to help them to resolve the dissatisfaction that they describe with their physical appearance. This is because the condition of BDD means that they are unlikely to ever be happy with the results, they may persist with requests for further modifications of the same ‘problem’ or move on to fixate on another perceive dissatisfaction. Specific therapies aimed at mental health problems such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) can help BDD sufferers to deal with their compulsive fixation on a perceived bodily problem. If someone is mentioning body issues and self-esteem when in consultation for a cosmetic procedure then they may be offered a psychological evaluation prior to going ahead with cosmetic surgery, in order to rule out deeper problems.


Help from The Consulting Room™

If you are considering having a cosmetic procedure to improve one of your features, bring out your natural beauty or improve your self-confidence, The Consulting Room™ is an advice source you can trust. They can provide impartial information on surgical and non-surgical cosmetic treatments whether you’re interested in dermal filler injections, breast implants or something else, including advice on the specific procedure, recovery and possible side-effects.

They can also give financial advice on the cost of your chosen procedure and they can help you find a clinic in the UK or Ireland with an outstanding reputation.

For assistance doing your ‘homework’ on the right provider for you, you can rely on The Consulting Room™.

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