Tag Archives: cosmetic surgery

Before You Judge Plastic Surgery, Read This

Curious girl

Have you ever jumped to criticism after seeing someone with plastic surgery or hearing of a friend or relative’s decision to alter their appearance? Or if you have had cosmetic surgery, have you ever faced judgment from others for your decision?

Truth be told, plastic surgery is a controversial subject, and such responses are typical. In a compelling article from the September/October issue of Spirituality & Health magazine, one poignant story stands out:

“I was at a pub one night where I liked to sing karaoke with my friends, about six weeks after having breast implants,” says Michelle, 55, of Nevada. “There was a group of very competitive ‘mean girls’ who would come in. When I got up to sing, one of them said, ‘Whoa! How do you spell plastic surgery?’”

Women, is this really how we want to be treating one another? Does one person’s decisions need to perfectly align with our own beliefs in order for us to treat them with respect? Before we condemn the perceived vanity that goes into a decision to receive plastic surgery, let’s try on the hat of compassion and take a look at some of the real reasons people – women in particular – opt for that course of action.

Nearly 40% of the U.S. population is 45 years old and above, and 14.2% of American women are 65 years and over. Many of the cosmetic concerns women face in later years – wrinkles, sun spots, greying or thinning hair, loss of pigmentation – can be attributed to age, which, after all, is one of the most natural processes human beings go through. There is nothing inherently shameful about aging, and if anything it should be a source of pride. As Oprah Winfrey wrote recently in an article for Huffington Post:

I’m well aware that trying to stay fresh and current can be a challenge, especially if you live a lot of your life in public view. Of course I want to look my best. I want to feel strong and vibrant. But I know for sure that the pathway to your best life isn’t the route of denial. It’s owning every moment. Staking a claim in right now. And, with gratitude, embracing the age you are.

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, by far the largest age group for both surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures is 35-50 years of age, with the 51-64 age group following as second largest for nonsurgical procedures. Nonsurgical includes Botox injections, chemical peels, microdermabrasion and the like.

That means a sizable amount of women past their 40’s are looking in the mirror, feeling uncomfortable with how they look, and undergoing cosmetic alterations to their appearance. But even nonsurgical procedures are not devoid of risk. Such procedures can cause burns, scarring, darkening or lightening of the skin, and other unwanted side effects.

That’s not to say these procedures shouldn’t exist, but it’s important to fully understand what you’re getting into and ask yourself a few questions before choosing that path. For one, does your interest in cosmetic surgery arise out of deep introspection and soul-searching, or is it born of fear, shame, or insecurity? If the latter, explore some other options for increasing happiness and self-esteem, first.

As Jane Ganahl writes in Spirituality & Health:

Cultivate inner happiness by giving of yourself. Volunteer at a senior center, organize a book club, audition for community theater. Doing for others keeps you from obsessing about those crow’s-feet.

Buck the cultural impediments to visibility. Walk tall, refuse to take a table by the kitchen, make your opinions known. Change the way you look at yourself, and the world will change too.

What are your thoughts and experiences with cosmetic surgery? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Screen Shot 2013-09-04 at 12.18.59 PMSpirituality & Health is a magazine for people who want to explore the spiritual journey and wake up to our capacity for self-healing, vitality, and resiliency. Read the entire article on plastic surgery in the September/October edition of Spirituality & Health, on newsstands now! Get your first issue FREE here.

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Is Plastic Surgery Making Women All Look the Same?


Does anyone watch beauty pageants anymore? In a way the tradition seems stale and outdated. But with shows like “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” and “Pageant Place” the culture of beauty contests is surprisingly alive and well. Obsession with physical beauty is nothing new in human cultures, and even body modification for aesthetic purposes has been around since ancient times. But we live in a world now where millions of people have undergone plastic surgery, and shame, body-hate, and dysmorphia run so deep we hardly know what we really look like anymore.

There has been recent buzz over South Korea’s national beauty pageant after a Reddit user posted an image (above) of the contestants and argued that, “Korea’s plastic surgery mayhem is finally converging on the same face.” According to a report from The Economist, South Korea has the highest per capita rate of plastic surgery, primarily for non-invasive skin and hair procedures.


The United States still takes the cake, though, for more cosmetic surgeries overall, and the “same face” syndrome could definitely be applied to Americans, as well.

Even given all of that, and the many issues surrounding plastic surgery and beauty pageants, take a look at the women in the image above. Do these girls all look the same to you? Is it fair to even judge them in this way, when obviously there are 18 unique lives, experiences, minds, and hearts behind the faces? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!


Photo credit: Reddit

Graph credit: The Economist

Plastic Surgeons vs. Cosmetic Surgeons: What You Need to Know

 It wasn’t until recently that I stumbled on the fact that there is a difference between cosmetic surgeons and plastic surgeons.  Did you know that there was one?  Not only is there a difference, but there is a huge difference and the cosmetic surgeons don’t want you to know this. 

 Plastic surgeons are surgeons who have specialized training in plastic surgery.  Not just a little training but a lot.  In order to be a plastic surgeon you need:  a degree from an accredited college in a premed major, 4 years at an accredited medical school, 4 to 5 years of residency training with the first 2 being in general surgery and the remaining 2 to 3 years being in plastic surgery.  To become board certified you also need to pass a written and an oral exam to assure your knowledge and competence. 

 Cosmetic surgeons are any M.D. who wants to call him/herself that.  It used to be that in order to get a certificate all you had to do was pay $200 and voila, you were a cosmetic surgeon.  That meant a dermatologist, a radiologist (the doctor who reads x-rays), even a psychiatrist could call themselves cosmetic surgeons and perform surgery on you!  Now in order to be a certified cosmetic surgeon you need:  an M.D. license (in any field) plus 450 hours of practice, or Continuing Medical Education units.  You also have to take a written and an oral exam.  450 hours of practice!!!!!!!

 The problem here is not only are cosmetic surgeons potentially untrained to do surgery but the board of cosmetic surgery is not a recognized board.  In other words, according to the American Medical Specialties Board being certified in cosmetic surgery is meaningless.  The AMSB is the board who oversees all board certifications in all the medical specialties.  This should concern you!

 Dr. Lawrence Koplin, renowned plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, is a double board certified surgeon, and plastic surgeon.  He told me that in the last few years, due to the recession, doctors are having trouble making a living.  This has caused a "free for all" with dermatologists,  gynecologists and even general practice doctors calling themselves "cosmetic surgeons" and performing everything from breast augmentation, liposuction to facelifts.  Dr. Di Saia, who is a board certified plastic surgeon, came across an ENT who was doing penile enlargement surgery.  ENT’s (ear, nose and throat docs) are trained to do surgery from the neck up, like sinus surgery, deviated septum surgery, etc…but completely untrained from the neck down.  An ENT can become a "cosmetic surgeon" and voila, can convince you that they are qualified to operate on any part of your body.

Dr. Koplin told me he sees people all the time who come in mangled after being operated on by a "cosmetic surgeon".  Don’t let this happen to you.  If you are considering plastic surgery, seek out a highly qualified, board certified PLASTIC surgeon.  Be well! 


The Secret to Beauty and Healthy Skin Starts Within


Skin is the largest organ in – or on – the human body. That means there’s a lot of it to enjoy, but also a lot of it that can be harmed and impacted by life. Such common conditions as wrinkles, fine lines, sun spots and moles are usually nothing more than symptoms of age, but there are other ways your skin can suffer over time, too. Sun, for instance, is a big one. As are toxins, makeup, and lack of cleanliness.

With such a premium placed on “beauty” in our culture – which, by the way, is so relative and often arbitrary – many people feel dissatisfied with the skin they inhabit. Too rough, too curvy, too hairy, too many freckles, too many wrinkles. If we spent as much time practicing self love as we do worrying about our skin and our bodies, we’d undoubtedly have a very happy society on our hands. The sad irony of this, though, is that many of the things that plague us about our appearances are within our control to mitigate.

Our weight, for instance. If we could learn to love wholesome food, enjoy moving around in physical activity, and end troubled cycles of dieting, binging, and fasting, we might also learn to love the bodies that serve us so well.

Our skin, too. If you love the sun, wear makeup, exercise, travel the world – more power to you. But follow the simple advice of skin care expert Alison Thurston, of Sports Club/LA, who soberly advises, “Going to bed without cleaning your face is the same as not brushing your teeth. The best thing for your skin is to clean it, even if it’s just a hot terry cloth towel at the end of the day.”

Wear sunscreen, wash your face, and give your skin the time and space it needs to recover from the wear and tear of daily life. Pretty simple, eh? “Skin is an organ, it needs to breathe.”

Now, how do we possibly handle aging? Is that the one chink in this self-positive wellness scheme? Obviously there is no way to “escape” aging, and there shouldn’t need to be. Growing older is a rite of passage, a natural development of maturation and wisdom-gathering. The lines on the face of a 90-year-old tell the story of thousands of tears shed, smiles cracked, kisses given and received, and thoughts contemplated.

As Alison reflects, “Aging is inevitable and how a person’s skin ages, i.e. wrinkles, is based a lot on their genetics.” That said, healthy skin care practices over a lifetime can at least protect your from skin cancer and sun spots, which “should be a very real concern for anyone at any age.”

One thing to do as you get older, in particular, is to let go of appearance-based fears by looking closely at yourself in the mirror. Really take a good look. “A healthy lifestyle should always include a little daily close attention to your skin,” Alison suggests. “A great way to pay attention to your skin is to clean it and examine it on a regular basis.” This can be especially difficult to do when we feel any amount of shame regarding our appearance, but the practice is both essential for our physical health and potentially tranformative for our emotional health.

Ultimately, our happiness and sense of self are often wrapped up in our appearances, for better or for worse. If it is beauty or a perceived lack of it that troubles you, then find the courage to take a good look at yourself today and notice all the beautiful things looking back at you in the reflection. If it is health and wellness you are concerned about, then take action! Wash your face, let your skin breathe and recover, and set the intent for healthy living NOW. The power is in your hands.

Try the mirror exercise Alison suggests and tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

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SPortsClubLA2012Sports Club/LA has been recognized as an urban lifestyle brand that serves as the ultimate health and wellness destination. Visit a Sports Club/LA location in Boston, Chestnut Hill, Miami, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and New York Upper East Side as well as their sister club, Reebok Sports Club/NY. For more information visit www.SportsClubLA.com.

Pondering Plastic Surgery


Lately, out of my insecurities, I have been toying with the idea of doing plastic surgery for my nose.  Yet, at the same time, I am aware that  I want to develop my spiritual life (I have been practicing yoga for 11 years and I’ve been teaching it for the past three years) in more depth.  I am starting to meditate again.  However, being so self-conscious physically (especially as I age) and being drawn to the spiritual life are creating a lot of chaos in my mind as I don’t know what the drive for either is, although obviously the drive to meditate seems to make more sense to me.  Can you let me know what the yoga/Ayurveda/ and your perspective is about the subject of changing one’s physical appearance?
Thank you so much for your help.
I don’t know if there is an official Ayurvedic position on plastic surgery, but the basic idea of Yoga philosophy and Ayurveda is to restore balance and wholeness physically, mentally and spiritually.  A treatment such as plastic surgery would only be considered if it were essential for the overall well being of the patient. Certainly in cases of disfigurement, reconstructive plastic surgery would make sense. In fact, in ancient India   rhinoplasty has been practiced for over two thousand years for severed noses.
In your case since you state that your motivation arises from insecurity and concerns over the effects of aging, you will probably gain more lasting benefits by addressing your underlying insecurities, fears and beliefs than you would from plastic surgery.  Making an effort to draw your self-value and worth through your essence rather than your outer appearance will have a profound influence on all aspects of your well being.


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