I want you to think about your mom, mother figure, or a female you looked up to when you were a child. Do you remember how she looked at herself in the mirror? How she viewed herself? Talked about herself? Was it positive or negative? This experience alone may be a huge determining factor regarding how you view beauty and body image.
Throughout history, every time period has had a fashion or a person that that general public has looked up to as the ideal of beauty.
When I first became conscious of this, it was the early 90’s. This meant slim was in, and I would do anything to be like the actresses, pop stars, and supermodels I watched on TV, or saw in my mom’s celebrity magazines. I struggled with disordered eating and was diagnosed with Body Dysmorphic Disorder when I was 16. According to the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation, it is “characterized by a preoccupation with one or more perceived defects or flaws in appearance which are unnoticeable to others.” In short, it is the inability to see yourself as you really are. Girls as young as 12 are beginning to suffer from this.
It’s no secret that social media, and having constant access to images has made this an epidemic. Men and women struggle to accept themselves as God made them. We seem to always be looking for ways to improve our looks, even if it means using harmful substances, treatments, and surgeries.
In the 2020 Plastic Surgery Statistics Report compiled but the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 4.4 million Botulinum Toxin Type A (Botox) injections and 3.4 million soft tissue fillers (such as lip and cheek fillers) were administered, and 234, 374 facelifts and 193,073 breast augmentations were performed. (One thing to note, is that not all of these statistics are cosmetic related. Botulinum Toxin is also prescribed by physicians for migraines and chronic sweating disorders, and some breast cancer survivors opt to receive breast augmentations after a mastectomy). These statistics bring to light that beauty has become a part of the mental health conversation, and beauty industry marketing plays a big role in that.
As an esthetician, I see this everyday. People want to look younger and get rid of wrinkles and they don’t want to look old.
These are very common things I hear when asking clients about their skin health goals. Our culture praises youth and wrinkle free skin, and it almost seems to shame women for growing into their wise years. The word “anti-aging” can be seen on many product labels and skincare advertising. Marketing likes to point out flaws and look like they have the answer to all your troubles. In turn, it almost becomes an obsession for consumers to find faster ways to look like they did in their 20’s. They are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for expensive treatments and products that give a false sense of hope, don’t always work, and are detrimental to skin health and their mental state. This damaging marketing and acceptance of changing one’s appearance has made the world forget what women naturally look like.
The negative seems to rule conventional beauty industry marketing, but there is a shift happening in the skincare industry through the rise of holistic and integrative esthetics practices.
The men and women that proudly call themselves holistic estheticians, integrative estheticians and Corneotherapists are making it their mission to change the conversation around beauty, body image, and skin health. They invest time and money into continuing education centered around healthy products, gentle modalities, and nutrition. These skin health pioneers think differently than the conventional esthetics industry. The conversation is no longer about what we can take away, but how we can nourish and feed our skin and our bodies. We are now educating clients about how how the skin and body systems relate to each other, teaching about healthy ingredients and products, helping sift through beauty and wellness marketing, and most importantly, showing our clients how to love and accept themselves just as they are.
A paraphrased quote from Saint Teresa of Calcutta’s 1984 Nobel Prize acceptance speech says, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” Jesus said in John 13:34, “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” My clients are and extension of my family, and my work is how I show them love and care. That love and care is expressed in letting them know that there is nothing to “fix,” and they are beautiful because they are made in the image of God, and He doesn’t make mistakes. We are called to be in the world, not of it. In Matthew 16:15 Jesus said to the disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Instead of consulting the culture and beauty and what it means to be feminine, we should always remember to first ask God, “Who do you say that I am?”
About the Author
Lindsey is a Catholic Convert living in North Idaho. She is a holistic esthetician and herbalist who loves teaching others how to care for their skin health in non-invasive healthy ways. She has been in the beauty and wellness industry for 17 years, with experience as a makeup artist, manicurist, esthetician, and esthetics educator.