A New Age of Honesty
For as long as plastic surgery has existed, the average nip-and-tuck has been an almost unspoken cultural touchstone—that is, plastic surgery is popular among people of all ages, but is a largely secretive affair. Considering the scope of any aesthetic procedure, this shouldn’t be a surprise; a few hours in an operating room can modify the balance of your appearance, and sometimes not for the better. In fact, some of our most beloved celebrities have become surgical casualties; it’s no wonder that people would hesitate to spill the beans, especially if they end up looking pulled or unnatural.
Over the last few years, however, there has been a shift in the public’s perception of plastic surgery, mostly because new and improved techniques have become available. This is why it is not nearly as surprising to catch wind of extraordinary experiences from injectable patients like Chrissy Teigen, Cardi B, and Kaley Cuoco. It is also becoming normal to read glowing testimonies from full-on surgical candidates, like fashion mogul Marc Jacobs, who, in July 2021, not only underwent an Extended Deep-Plane Facelift but posted daily recovery updates on Instagram.
“COVID seems to have amplified the trend of people opening up about the things they’re doing to improve themselves,” says Dr. Andrew Jacono, Jacobs’ surgeon. “In fact, at my practice, I’ve met hundreds of people who are prepared to live their personal truth, whether that means leaving their day jobs or getting a surgery they’ve always wanted but haven’t had the time for. In my opinion, the most amazing aspect of this is that people are realizing they have a right to look the way they want regardless of outside perceptions. The shame factor that has plagued plastic surgery for so long is starting to fade away, and in such a short time—I think that people like Marc are making it easier for others to accept that aging isn’t to be feared.”
BOTOX, Fillers, and Facelifts Galore
Of course, there is no single ideal cosmetic experience; whereas some crave a more complete restructuring in rhinoplasty, a neck lift, or a facelift, others are content with injectable solutions that, while certainly not as dramatic, can treat all kinds of facial deficits. Perhaps the best-known of these is BOTOX, a protein solution that evens out wrinkles and blemishes.
“What’s great about Botox,” says Dr. Jacono, “is that the results are impressive enough to be noticeable and yet subtle enough to make you look as though you’ve simply gotten into a new skincare routine. What’s more, a typical session lasts no more than thirty or so minutes, and there is no recovery time, meaning you can come in during your lunch break and return to work right after. This makes it easier to treat Botox as a tool rather than as an involved aesthetic procedure.”
This attitude—that Botox and associated dermal fillers like Restylane, Belotero, and Juvéderm are part of a broader skin care kit—has permeated recent self-care conversations. Because so many people use creams and serums and are often dissatisfied with their limits, it is becoming less extreme to use Botox and fillers in regular beauty routines. And now that even dentists are offering Botox, it is becoming increasingly difficult to stigmatize such cosmetic solutions.
Surgery might seem like a comparatively giant step, but Botox and fillers can only do so much; over time, they tend to offer diminishing returns, and some people can even experience “filler fatigue,” or unsightly distortion of the face that comes with prolonged injectable use. In cases like these, something as dramatic as a facelift is the only way to look one’s best.
“There is a common misconception that a facelift will completely change the way you look,” explains Dr. Jacono. “But today, that’s simply untrue. There are so many new and innovative techniques that can make you look younger without altering the fundamental nature of your face. My technique, the Extended Deep Plane Facelift, is at the cutting edge of facelifting and doesn’t pull the skin excessively taut as traditional facelifts do; it actually lifts the face’s underlying musculature to a more desirable position.”
The Goal? Forget That You Were Ever Worried
The goal of any good cosmetic procedure is clear: to help you forget that you were self-conscious in the first place. The good news is that, with so many cultural and technical shifts, this goal is becoming more feasible—so you might as well take the leap if you want a tweak!