“I want to look natural” is one of the most common requests by our patients during consultation regardless of whether we are discussing surgery or injectable treatments. It is understandable why patients are concerned about this important, but rather vaguely defined, objective. We are all bombarded with the extreme appearances presented so commonly in television, movies, and the press.
What is natural? Let’s look at the use of makeup to illustrate the point. Calvin Klein said, “The best thing is to look natural, but it takes makeup to look natural.” The use of makeup traces back thousands of years. In fact, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery uses the bust of the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti as its trademark logo. It is thought to have been sculpted in the thirteenth century B.C. during Nefertiti’s lifetime. The statue clearly shows the use of makeup to highlight the facial features including brows, eyes, and lips. While appearing natural, the figure also demonstrates unnatural symmetry and has idealized dimensions. Here, beauty is represented in a combination of natural and unnatural components but, it all comes across to our eyes as attractive. Artfully applied makeup enhances appeal by emphasizing the attractive features and minimizing the less attractive features. Marsha Clubb, a member of the staff at Aesthetic Skin Care Center, LLC, located in our office, is a cosmetics expert who directs her skill toward enhancement of natural beauty daily.
Just as makeup can highlight features such as the eyes or lips to enhance their natural uniqueness and beauty, the subtle line between enhancement and excess is relatively easy to cross. The excess use of makeup can make us pay more attention to the makeup than the natural features it should be enhancing. In this scenario, the wearer can look odd and unnatural.
Injectable treatments have become one of the most commonly performed cosmetic procedures, but as with makeup, a balance must be found when using these products. Our nurse-injectors, Carey Sanders RN and Shirley Ramsey DNP, APRN, and I seek to find this delicate balance as we use neurotoxins (Botox®, Dysport®, and Xeomin®) and fillers such as Restylane®, Juvederm®, Sculptra® and others. A good illustration is treating horizontal wrinkles in the brow. While it is frequently possible to eliminate those lines completely, that does not always yield the best or most natural result. Retaining some motion in the brow usually appears more natural and permits expression. Also, in some folks, overtreatment of the brow can make it rest excessively low, leading to a droopy appearance.
It is more important to achieve a natural appearing result in some procedures than others. For example, the goal in a tummy tuck is always to make the abdominal and hip contour as flat and youthful as possible – even if this is not really natural. Here, the more dramatic the result is, the better. Whereas, for a facelift or rhinoplasty (nose re-shaping), a natural appearance after surgery is essential. In these delicate facial surgeries, the best result looks like no surgery has been done at all and the appearance is completely natural, yet youthful.
We humans embrace our uniqueness and individuality. In contrast, society im- poses norms which vary from culture to culture. Perhaps no operation embodies the balance between individualism versus population norms better than breast augmentation. Breast augmentation can range from a natural appearing enlargement which fits with the patient’s overall physique to an out-of-proportion size that would never exist in nature. Interestingly, both of those results can yield satisfied patients depending on their individual goal. It is extremely important for the patient and surgeon to have a clear objective set before surgery.
While the above are philosophical ramblings, they result from years of experience talking to patients and generating surgical and non-surgical results. If you are thinking about surgery or injections, your Board Certified Plastic Surgeon remains the best resource to achieve that optimal, natural balance.
Dr. David Kirn is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who is devoted to advanced techniques in Cosmetic Surgery of the Face, Breast, and Body. In private practice since 1998, he is located in a state of the art facility which includes a full service skin care center. The practice is focused on personalized patient care and attention to detail. Where possible, Dr. Kirn utilizes minimally invasive procedures. The goal is to deliver quality clinical results while minimizing patient recovery time. Examples of this include a no-drain tummy tuck, armpit incision breast augmentation with gel or saline implants, fat grafting, and a short scar facelift. In addition, Dr. Kirn and nurse-injectors Carey Sanders, RN and Shirley Ramsey DNP,APRN, offer a full spectrum of non-surgical treatments such as Botox®, Dysport®, Restylane®, Juvederm®, Voluma®, Radiesse®, Kybella® & laser.