First printed in Nov 2005 by Women’s Post

By Ann Kaplan

This is an era where there is no limit to how young you can look. The aging population can whittle off a few years and doors are forever opening for new procedures. There is hope after fifty, at least hope to maintain that youthful façade housing our fit (and wise) characters.

But what happens if procedures are taken it too far? Some of my stretched and pulled friends are mere shadows of themselves. I don’t think I would even recognize now if they were to return to their old (young) selves. Are people becoming too dependent on the wonder drugs – the injectable youth serum? The answer, after spending years (aging) in this industry, is “no.” Some people will always take anything too far, but the majorities are more conservative.

It has never ceased to amaze me that there are those will look at cosmetic enhancement and scoff at the thought of it; they believe that beauty comes from within and to tamper with nature is, well, wrong. I do agree on one thing, beauty is not skin deep, and the slightly augmented can attain to this. Beautiful is on the inside, it is seen in a balanced life where ones priorities are not superficial yet they care enough to take care of themselves and be the best they can be.

Protestors to any form of cosmetic enhancement appear to have a preconceived notion that those seeking some sort of enhancement, be it in goops and creams or a full facelift, are ladies of leisure – the ones who strut a stretched and pulled cheek, looking down on the rest, wanting to raise an eyebrow (but not able to). In fact, those that unjustly tear apart the cosmetic enhancement industry have one common denominator, naivety to what they perceive as an industry for only “beautiful people”.

The majority of surgical recipients are not those that are portrayed on reality TV shows, or the humorous caricatures we may envision, they are those who “just want to look normal.” They might have a problem that has stopped them from gaining confidence (sometimes it is self inflicted) and with cosmetic enhancement they can gain the confidence that enables a new, positive take on life. Conditions, such as people who have cleft lips or unsightly moles, skin discolorations like port-wine stains and scars from trauma, even chicken pox should not be considered a flaw, however, it is comforting to know that those that must live with scars can do something about it.

However, many people do not go beyond the viewpoint that beauty and enhancement is only for the physically obsessed, and miss seeing the happiness that even a “less privileged” person finds in a little enhancement.

I do not believe that cosmetic enhancement is not acceptable, nor do I believe it is always the answer. When a person makes an informed, intelligent decision(s), I believe they should have the right, the freedom to choose how they want to look to the world around them. However, just like everything else, have your eyes open (wide). It may be a little here and a little there, but it all adds up.

Ann Kaplan is the CEO of ifinance Canada

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