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Mental Health Benefits of Aesthetic Treatments

David Fuller

Last Updated On: March 27, 2024

The pursuit of aesthetic improvements has become increasingly dominant in today’s society. Patients often seek beautifying treatments not solely to enhance their physical appearance but also with the hope of positively impacting their social lives and state of mind.

Below, we will explore the intersection of aesthetic treatments and mental well-being, shedding light on the profound mental health benefits of aesthetics that can appear from judiciously administered beauty procedures.

Variety of Aesthetic Treatments and Why People Do Them

Aesthetic treatments combine a broad spectrum of procedures, ranging from minimally invasive treatments like injectables and laser therapies to more extensive interventions like cosmetic surgery. These treatments can include the following:

  • Cosmetic surgery – facelifts, breast augmentation, and liposuction that involve surgical alteration of specific body areas.
  • Non-surgical treatments – injecting substances like dermal fillers and botulinum toxins to reduce wrinkles and restore facial volume.
  • The use of laser technology to address various skin concerns, like acne scars, pigmentation, and hair removal.
  • Non-invasive or minimally invasive procedures to reshape the body, for example, CoolSculpting.

Patients opt for these treatments for various reasons, often aiming to improve their physical appearance. But, understanding all the motivations behind these choices is crucial in defining the link between aesthetics and mental health. These reasons can include:

  • Many patients hope that aesthetic improvements will boost their self-esteem and self-confidence, leading to a different appearance more suited to their self-perception of attractiveness.
  • Beauty treatments can correct perceived flaws or imperfections that have bothered patients for years.
  • Anti-aging aesthetic procedures to combat the signs of aging and maintain a youthful appearance.
  • Some individuals seek aesthetic enhancements to improve their prospects in social and professional spheres, where physical appearance can play a significant role.
  • Aesthetic procedures are also a means to alleviate emotional distress associated with body dissatisfaction.

Understanding these motivations is crucial in tailoring treatments to meet individual patient needs and expectations. Moreover, it forms the basis for comprehending the psychological impact of aesthetic treatments.

The Psychological Impact of Aesthetic Concerns

Self-esteem and self-confidence are integral components of mental health. They influence how people perceive themselves and their abilities and play a pivotal role in determining the overall course of life. Appearance is a critical factor in shaping these aspects of the self. So, aesthetic concerns can significantly affect an individual’s psychological well-being, often leading to negative emotional states and a diminished quality of life.

Body image dissatisfaction refers to individuals’ negative perceptions of their bodies. This feeling can stem from various factors, including societal beauty standards, media portrayal of idealized bodies, and personal experiences.

When individuals are dissatisfied with their body image, it can manifest as:

  • Reduced self-esteem, where individuals feel less confident and competent in various aspects of their lives;
  • Negative self-perception, wherein individuals see themselves through a distorted lens, focusing solely on perceived flaws;
  • Depression and anxiety disorders contributing to emotional distress;
  • Withdrawal from social activities and relationships, pure social isolation, due to fearing judgment or rejection;
  • In some cases, self-dissatisfaction can be a precursor to eating disorders, for example, anorexia nervosa or bulimia.

The brain and skin are in constant contact, so when people experience stress and anxiety, the body assumes it is in danger and releases the hormone cortisol. It increases the blood sugar level and slows down functions that the body considers unimportant in emergencies.

The stress hormone increases the production of sweat and sebum, which clogs pores and causes acne, and also suppresses the immune system so that it cannot adequately fight inflammation and bacteria. This can lead to outbreaks of rashes, infections, irritation, and skin diseases. Cortisol also depletes the production of collagen and elastin, so skin cells are not renewed and restored properly, leading to the appearance of wrinkles.

So, we have a closed circle: psychological stressors can contribute to skin deterioration, and environmental stressors can trigger adverse emotional reactions through the skin.

Recognizing the significant impact of aesthetics on mental health is essential, and addressing these concerns through aesthetic treatments can positively influence psychological well-being. This realization underscores the importance of carefully considering the mental health aspects of cosmetic procedures when evaluating and treating patients.

Aesthetic Treatments as Tools for Mental Well-Being

While aesthetic treatments are primarily associated with physical enhancements, they also are powerful tools for promoting mental well-being. Improvements in self-esteem, self-confidence, and overall satisfaction with one’s appearance can lead to profound psychological benefits.

The positive impacts of aesthetics on the psychological state of a person can be identified as follows:

  • Successful aesthetic treatments can enhance an individual’s self-esteem by addressing specific concerns or imperfections. When people are satisfied with their reflection in the mirror, their self-esteem grows. It becomes easier to cope with everyday matters, communicate with people, and make decisions faster.
  • A more attractive appearance triggers a whole range of positive emotions that improve mood and reduce background feelings of anxiety and depression.
  • Any beauty procedure has a therapeutic effect on the nervous system, which helps maintain internal balance and control over emotions. In an aesthetic doctor’s office or the beauty clinic, people turn off all worries for a while and belong only to themselves. The brain perceives this as a complete rest, calms down, and directs attention to the care of the body. The acquired sense of inner calm makes it easier to deal with stressful situations and increases emotional stability.
  • When patients take care of their face and body and learn to relax, they can better cope with their tasks and affairs. They feel more cheerful and energetic, which allows them to work many times more efficiently and achieve the desired results. 
  • Following a beauty routine and post-care recommendations after an aesthetic treatment makes people more structured and disciplined. Also, applying cosmetics and mental health are tightly connected – such rituals help people fight anxiety and stabilize themselves even during stressful times.
  • Aesthetic treatments can give people the confidence to engage in social and professional activities, resulting in a more fulfilling and enjoyable life.
  • Successful aesthetic treatments help patients to establish close contact with their body, to love it completely, and to accept themselves. Almost every girl is dissatisfied with something about herself. Beauty procedures form the right message in the brain: “I love myself and take care of my body.”

Which Patients Benefit Most For Beauty and Mental Health?

Identifying patients who may benefit the most from aesthetic treatments in terms of mental health improvement requires careful consideration. The following factors may help guide the selection process:

  • People whose aesthetic concerns are closely linked to their mental health and emotional well-being, for example, individuals with severe body image dissatisfaction or those who have experienced prolonged emotional distress due to their appearance, may have the best mental health and aesthetics results.
  • Patients who have realistic expectations and understand that aesthetic treatments are not a panacea for all life’s problems are more likely to benefit psychologically from these procedures.
  • Individuals with a positive support system, including family and friends, are better equipped to navigate aesthetic treatments’ emotional and psychological aspects.

Conclusion

Aesthetic treatments can positively impact people’s self-esteem, confidence, and overall mental well-being. By recognizing the importance of aesthetic treatments for mental health and the benefits of incorporating this knowledge into your patient care approach, you can not just improve the people’s looks but also contribute to the holistic well-being of your patients and provide a valuable service that extends beyond physical enhancement.

FAQ

What is the impact of aesthetic medicine on mental health?

Aesthetics can play a valuable role in promoting a person’s mental well-being by enhancing mood, reducing stress, and providing positive distractions. However, the relationship between aesthetics and psychology is complex and can vary among different patients, so the effectiveness of beauty treatments in supporting mental health should be considered only as part of a holistic approach to mental well-being.

What are the psychological benefits of cosmetic treatments?

There are several ways in which aesthetic treatments can contribute to improved mental well-being:

  • Enhanced mood;
  • Stress reduction;
  • Improved self-esteem;
  • Therapeutic benefits.

What is the psychology behind aesthetics?

The psychology behind aesthetics explores the cognitive, emotional, and neurological processes involved in aesthetic treatments and how mental health and aesthetics are connected. It’s a multidisciplinary field that seeks to discover the mysteries of how beauty procedures influence people’s mental health and why.

References

McKeown DJ. Impact of Minimally Invasive Aesthetic Procedures on the Psychological and Social Dimensions of Health. Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open. 2021;9(4):e3578. Published 2021 Apr 28. doi:10.1097/GOX.0000000000003578.

Andra C, Suwalska A, Dumitrescu AM, et al. A Corrective Cosmetic Improves the Quality of Life and Skin Quality of Subjects with Facial Blemishes Caused by Skin Disorders. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2020;13:253-257. Published 2020 Mar 30. doi:10.2147/CCID.S240437.

Sanclemente G, Burgos C, Nova J, et al. The impact of skin diseases on quality of life: A multicenter study. Actas Dermosifiliogr. 2017;108(3):244-252. doi:10.1016/j.ad.2016.11.008.

Michon A, Hassan H. Is more better? Benefits of hyaluronic acid soft tissue filler on the Psychological- and Social-Related Quality of Life dimensions. Aesthetic Surgery Journal. 2022;4. doi:10.1093/asjof/ojac086.

McDonald CB, Hart S, Liew S, Heydenrych I. The Importance of Patient Mindset: Cosmetic Injectable Patient Experience Exploratory Study—Part 1. Aesthetic Surgery Journal. 2022;4. doi:10.1093/asjof/ojac043.

Hoffman L, Fabi S. Look Better, Feel Better, Live Better? The Impact of Minimally Invasive Aesthetic Procedures on Satisfaction with Appearance and Psychosocial Wellbeing. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2022;15(5):47-58.

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