Is Anti-Aging Technology a Cause for Societal Concern?
Is Anti-Aging Technology a Cause for Societal Concern?
The programs aired concerning any form of cosmetic surgery depict the satisfaction that one receives after going through the procedures. The various celebrities who are known to be constant clients of the cosmetic surgeons make the common people want these facial and body alterations all the more. With the cosmetic products that promise the most youthful and beautiful looks that one has ever come across, the people are good to go. However, it is significant to understand the main effects of these cosmetic procedures to the general society. Do they have any effects at all? With the increase of cosmetic surgeries among the celebrities in the mid 20th century to the present period, the people have continued to embrace cosmetic surgery as a way of keeping off the effects of old age (Bailey, 2005). Anti-aging technology is a cause of societal concern as it alters how nature takes its cause thus bringing both physical and emotional negative effects.
In many instances, cosmetic surgeries have been associated with women. Despite this perception, more men are embracing this technology in order to improve their looks or to keep the aging effects at bay. The person well known for undergoing this procedure is the late pop star singer Michael Jackson. Although there are some procedures that have been of positive impact to the people undertaking them, there are many more that have been of severe negative impact to the people.
The anti-aging technology comes in diverse forms. There is the use of drugs, surgical procedures, cosmetic products, just to mention but a few. Focusing on the cosmetic surgery, there are different forms of this procedure. They include botox, facelift, facial injections, stomach liposuctions, breast implants, rhinoplasty, and skin rejuvenation, amongst others. Unfortunately, most of the media stations do not bring the side effects of these surgeries thus creating a misrepresentation of the whole procedure to the society.
Sansone and Sansone (2007) found out that the number of cosmetic procedures went up by 34% between the year 2005 and 2006 in the United States. Mostly, these cosmetic procedures were non-surgical. They involved microdermabrasion treatments, dermal fillers, botox injections, chemical peels, hyaluronic injections and fat injections. Additionally, the procedure that was most performed was blepharoplasty (eyelid modification). Rhinoplasty (nose modification or nose job) and rhytidectomy (face modification or facelift) followed the list. With such a high increase of these procedures, the emotional and psychological effects of the people taking these procedures were analyzed.
Dittmann (2005) found out that the people who had unrealistic expectations were disappointed by the end results of plastic procedures. It is more so because most anti-aging cosmetic procedures last for approximately ten years before nature starts taking its toll once more. Although the families of those undergoing these procedures are supportive of these individuals, it may take a different turn if the results are not as expected. There are those wo will still remain supportive regardless of the results while there are those who will be disappointed with the change of the outcome. In other cases, the individuals are filled with so much regret that they turn to more cosmetic surgeries or suicidal thoughts.
The general public is the most critical when it comes to these anti-aging procedures. The public is more concerned with the celebrities than ordinary people who undergo these procedures. If the procedure turns out to be successful to the celebrities as in the case of Marie Osmond, her fans will tend to look for ways of getting the procedures done. The celebrities’ use of these procedures and the temporary positive outcome attracts more people into using them. Interestingly, when the same public spots negative results of the same procedure, it is quick to make fun of the individuals and give them nick names.
Quality of Life and Suicide
Litner et al (2008) researched and concluded that through the plastic surgery procedure, the quality of life was enhanced in the population of the patients they were researching on. This population included 93 patients of which 82 were females and 11 males. For this research, 51% of the patients were undergoing surgery for the aging face and 49% were undergoing rhinoplasty. Litner et al found out that the needs of the patient for undergoing the plastic surgery had been met.
On another contradictory statistic, Sansone and Sansone (2007) stated that an increased threat of suicide among the females who had gone through cosmetic breast argumentation had been noted in from the year 2000 to 2007. A research was carried out by Brinton and other researchers over 13,000 women. These women had undergone cosmetic breast augmentation. This observation was done fourteen years after the procedure. It was observed that the SMR (standardized mortality rate) was 1.54. This was 95% confidence interval. In this case, the SMR is the ratio of the mortality rate being observed to the anticipated mortality rate in the rest of the population. Another observation was done five years later, and the SMR was 1.63. Another study carried out on 3,500 Swedish females by Koot, and other researchers showed an SMR of 2.9 (Sansone & Sansone, 2007). This confirmed the increased risk of suicide in women who had gone through cosmetic breast augmentation.
From a glance, it seems as if the latter two researches seem to be in conflict with the quality of life research. However, this is not so when the three researches are looked at more critically. In the quality of life research, the results seem to be immediate while the latter researches give long term results. In other words, the patients may feel fulfilled after the procedure since they have achieved what they want but then feel unfulfilled later in life after realizing that a plastic surgery only corrects one weakness but leaves the other weaknesses uncorrected, thus the suicidal thoughts.
According to Bailey (2005), BDD (body dysmorphic disorder) is selected as an Axis I disorder, which is featured by the powerful preoccupation of an individual having an imagined appearance defect. This particular individual worsens when the defect is present. Due to such preoccupation, the individual engage in activities that will “eliminate” their defects thus becoming addicts of cosmetic surgery.
As earlier stated, the reality television shows and the other media coverage only concentrate on the positive outcome of cosmetic surgery. After all, that is what most are being paid to do. However, there a negative side of the whole cosmetic procedure that is depicted to the public. In a procedure like breast augmentation or breast implants or breast enlargement as it is commonly known, risks are involved during and after the process.
Breast augmentation, which done to increase the fullness of breast incase of child birth or the aging process, may take place using two types of implants. There are the saline implants and the silicone implants (Bailey, 2005). The saline implants are sterile salt water filled in silicone shells while silicone implants are plastic gel filled in silicone shells. When most women are asked, the silicone implants make the enlarged breasts feel more natural as compared to the saline implants. Unfortunately, they have worse side effects if anything goes wrong. For example, they have fatal side effects if the gel spills or the implant bursts. Both types may also increase the chances of getting breast complications including breast cancer and other body complications.
Botox injections and lip injections are other forms of cosmetic surgeries that are constantly being done in order to improve the facial appearance. The tightening of the skin using the laser is another procedure that is popular among many women. All these procedures have immense negative effects on the people. All the laser is effective in skin rejuvenation, it is not a permanent process of eliminating the aging process. After approximately 10 years, the process may start taking toll once more. This means that the individual will probably go for another process. This constant need of keeping the skin young and the laser beam exposure and injections may lead to skin complications that are fatal (Bailey, 2005).
The cosmetic procedure involves adding, taking away or altering the natural body. Since this is acting against nature, certain permanent results may be achieved. Individuals have been forced to undergo one procedure in order to correct a procedure that has gone wrong, but receiving negative outcome altogether. Finally, an individual ends up looking entirely different (unrecognizable for those who knew him/her before) or worse still, unnatural.
Other physical negative effects of the procedures are scars, marks, continuous sensitivity and pain in the affected areas, increased chances of developing other complications, constant check up to make sure that the procedure has not developed any more side effects, just to mention but a few. Since these areas have been altered from their original form, they may develop other complications such as “overgrowing” in the long term. This is mostly in the case of those who have breast augmentation in order to prevent the breast from dropping or becoming as little as they were.
Procedures with Negative Outcomes
The entertainment industry is full of celebrities who have had cosmetic surgery in order to do away with the aging process but ended up looking worse than what they expected. One great example is Scott Thompson, who is commonly known as Carrot top. The comedian looks of 1997 are quite different from the looks in his 2007 photos. He looks unnatural and worse than he was before. The comedian underwent a brow lift, a face lift and a couple of body implants.
Donatella Versace is another case of cosmetic procedure failure. She has gone through a face life, botox, lip injections and cheek implants not to mention breast augmentation. Due to the numerous cosmetic procedures, she has tanned heavily. She also looks so unnatural that her breasts do not look as though they belong to her. Her twenty year old breasts do not match her aged body. Jocelyn Wildenstein is the worst of the cases. She is said to have spent more than $4 million on plastic surgery alone. She has had numerous face lifts, injections, chin augmentation, implants, amongst other procedures. Due to her outrageous looks, she is referred to as the “cat woman” as her face resembles that of a cat (Pope-Parker, 2008).
Males such as Michael Jackson, Bruce Jenner and Kenny Rodgers have gone through plastic surgeries that left them worse than they were before, though the cosmetic procedures were meant to change their looks completely, Michael Jackson’s rhinoplasty failure is one of the most famous negative effects of cosmetic surgery (Pope-Parker, 2008). His nose had to be reconstructed as it started falling off. Kenny Rodgers eyebrow lift did not result as expected. He stated that he regretted the procedure, and looked forward to feeling the warmth in his eyes. Bruce Jenner ended up looking older and different than he had anticipated.
Most of these celebrities have undergone numerous procedures with the hope of correcting previous failed procedures. This is the case of Wildenstein. In other cases, the individuals become addicts of plastic surgery thus striving to keep young every part of their body that can be kept young. The Italian socialite Michaela Romanini has successfully kept her face wrinkleless, but wrinkles can be spotted allover her neck. This has left her looking quite unnatural and different from how she used to look before the procedures started taking place.
Summary and Conclusion
The anti-aging technology should be a cause for societal concern. More and more people are taking up these procedures by looking at the short- term effects rather than focusing on the long-term effects. The main focus is on what the media is posing to the public rather than the real statistics being presented by the professionals. The criticism from the public when the procedure fails, the suicidal thoughts, the addiction and the additional procedures in order to correct the previous ones should be brought to the public’s attention.
In the end, it is only natural that the aging process will take place. Keeping it at bay for as long as one can only increases the number of health complications, both physical and psychological that are encountered during the old. It is unfortunate that people are starting to take up these procedures in as early as their teen years and their early twenties. As the media posts it, the earlier one starts to keep the old age at bay, the longer it will take to come (Bailey, 2005).
It is also significant for the public to e fully aware of the effects and the impact of these anti-aging procedures before they undertake them. They are more popular today than they were in the late twentieth century, and so are their effects. Aging will finally take place whether it is now or later.
Bailey, K. (2005). Cosmetic surgery. Detroit: Greenhaven Press.
Dittman, M. (2005). Plastic Surgery: Beauty or Beast? American Psychological Association, Vol. 36 (8): 30.
Litner, J.A., Rotenberg, B.W., Dennis, M. & Adamson, P.A (2008). Impact of Cosmetic Facial Surgery on Satisfaction With Appearance and Quality of Life. Archives of Facial plastic Surgery, Vol. 10(2): 79-83. doi.10.1001/archfaci.10.2.79.
Pope-Parker, T. (2008). Celebrity Plastic Surgery: What Not to Do. New York Times, April 25
Sansone, R.A. & Sansone L.A. (2007). Cosmetic Surgery and Psychological Issues. Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, December.