As we approach Halloween, we can’t help being swept up in traditions of ghosts, goblins, and zombies. In a few days the constant parade of grim reapers and spooky ninjas will come across our doorsteps. Seeing the kids enjoy the time is great. But somewhere along the way of being barraged with scary movies and evil laughter, I start asking myself – “hey, where’s the pretty in life?” Many of us have seen enough scary things in life – whether from divorce, monetary problems, or illness – we’ve all had our trials and tribulations. At some point you want relief from the bad. You ask “where’s the joy?” One of my greatest joys comes from being part of the creative and healing processes. Plastic surgery is one way of accomplishing both. It can heal us of our outer scars and blemishes, and help restore our sense of inner peace. Don’t get weighed down by life’s scary side. We all have our goblins that need “treating.” I’m here to help restore the “pretty” in life amidst the spooks and spells that life throws our way.
No, we don’t plan to shoot through the ozone layer to threaten the world, nor do we put our lasers on sharks or seabass, but we do occasionally break up the outer layers of your skin. Yes, that’s right – skin resurfacing. What is it, why does someone need it?
Meet Renee. By all accounts, Renee is an attractive individual, but like many women, Renee has had trouble with skin hyperpigmentation known as melasma. You see, Renee developed acne after childbirth, and because of this was placed on birth control in hopes of improving the acne. Unfortunately, the changes in her hormones, and a likely genetic predisposition, caused her skin to darken in areas. She tried over-the-counter skin lightening creams, IPL, prescription hydroquinone and retinol. Nothing seemed to work right. And then she married me. No wait – that’s not right. Then she saw her plastic surgeon, who recommended fractionated CO2 laser resurfacing.
For this week, we’ll take you through Renee’s experience, in a day-by-day pictorial of what she goes through during and after her laser treatment. Here’s how she started out:
And here’s her yesterday driving home from her treatment.
She tells us the numbing cream helped quite a bit during the treatment, as did the ibuprofen. She drove herself home, and today she is going to work. Tomorrow I’ll post a 24hour post-laser picture, and then we’ll go daily for a week, giving you all the play-by-play. How ever will she wind up?
To give you an example of the power of the fractionated CO2, here’s a few pictures of a lady some of you may know. She was treated for aging and sun-damaged skin, and as you can see, her results are fantastic:
A long, long time ago, in a place much more sunny and breezy than this, a beautiful woman was ready for marriage. Because of her beauty, her father was somewhat concerned about the number of potential suitors, and the potential trouble all the competition may cause. Because of this, the father made the suitors all promise to defend whatever marriage would result. Hesitantly they agreed. In order to win, one bachelor promised to sacrifice to the gods, but after he won, he quickly forgot his promise, and incurred the wrath of an angry god of beauty.
Meanwhile, a young lad from a far-off country was growing in wisdom. He spent his time raising cattle, but because of his wisdom, was chosen by the gods to settle a dispute. Three of the godesses couldn’t decide who was the most beautiful among them, so they turned to the young man for judgment. To spice up the battle, they each promised the young man something if she was chosen. One of them, the goddess of beauty, offered him the most beautiful woman in the world – the young girl, who by this time was already married…
To make a long story short, the young man wooed away the beautiful girl (either seductively or forcibly), and by so doing, set in motion an enormous army, that would eventually come and kill the young man and destroy his hometown.
Yes, this young woman had a “face that launched a thousand ships” – Helen of Troy.
There are many take-home messages from this tale, but my question for today is simple. If Helen was so beautiful, what did she look like? What does “beauty” look like? Over the ages, numerous artists have tackled this question, which gives us insight into what they thought was beautiful.
At the top of this post is a painting from FA Vincent, showing Zeuxis chosing models for a painting of Helen. He couldn’t find any one woman for the part, so instead he chose 5 women from the surrounding area, in order to make a composite picture of their features. We’ll be talking more about composites in the time to come.
For now, let’s just explore what ideas people have had about beauty over time. Back in the day, when Greeks were the ones creating the images, Helen may have looked like this:
In the 1600’s, as political tensions brewed between Spain, France, and the Holy See, Guido Reni composed this picture of Helen’s departure.
In the 1776, an American painter living in England (working for George III) painted a soft version of Helen, also with political undertones, as seen here:
Contrast these with Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s depiction done in 1863, as shown here:
To provide even further contrast, consider more recent versions. The first is from a recent movie:
But this next one may help you see even more that every society (and individuals within that society) tends to put their own interpretation on beauty:
As you can see, beauty means different things to different people. Its definition can change with time and place. So what do we make of that? How does someone try to be “beautiful?”
True beauty need not follow a fad or trend. Rather, more lasting beauty adheres to a sense of symmetry and proportion. A plastic surgeon with a keen eye for that proportion can 1) educate you about what options are best for you, and 2) help you realize that beauty within yourself. One of my life’s greatest joys comes from helping people achieve not just a new look, but an understanding of their personal beauty and worth. Care to join me on the journey?
We are more than just a combination of parts.
Not just heart plus brain plus skin.
Not breasts and womb.
Not arms plus legs plus belly plus back.
We are a whole, and can be whole if we’ll allow it to be so.
How many of us define ourselves by our compartments, or by the compartments we fill – job, spouse, parent?
Now, this may seem a weighty subject for a simple plastic surgeon running a blog talking about beauty. I can enhance certain parts, and that may change how others see you. But a bigger question is how you see yourself. Are you beautiful? Why do you think yes or no? What makes you so?
In reality I can change your proportions. I can nip or tuck here or there. But your real beauty is up to you. I’m just happy I’m allowed to be a part of the process.
Welcome to beauty, art, and medicine – a blog by Dr. Jared Nimtz of the Waldman Schantz Plastic Surgery Center!
Cue the intro music….
Every six weeks or so, I go to get my hair cut. Now, I’m not an expert on hair cutting or hairstyles. I do know what I like, and what I think looks nice, but how to achieve the look I want is more difficult. Many people approach plastic surgery in a similar way. Consider the mother who faces deflated breasts, who just wants “them to look perky again.” The older gentleman who wants to “comfortably fit into clothes.” A lady who wants to “look younger and more refreshed.” Even the younger woman who wants larger breasts may not fully appreciate the variety of choices available.
The internet has done much to advance the interest people have in plastic surgery. Whether information comes from people offering their surgical stories, or surgeons offering advice, or even celebrity bloggers offering plastic surgery watches, the reader is left wondering what they should trust, and how they should go about reaching their cosmetic goals.
In starting this blog, I hope to accomplish several things. I want it to introduce people to reliable information to plan their future consultations, but I also want to expand the readers’ understanding of what beauty is, and how to achieve it. To accomplish this I’ll be discussing art, science, and nature in ways you may not have previously considered.
This blog will by no means sidestep the standard consultation process that should precede any medical or surgical procedure. If you find something here that interests you, please make an appointment and come see me and the rest of the Waldman Schantz Plastic Surgery team. The location is new and elegant, and the quality of care is exceptional.