The real meaning of cosmetology

Amira Elhamy , Sunday 7 Oct 2018

Amira Elhamy talks to Egyptian cosmetic surgeon Shadi Ismail about cosmetology and today’s aesthetic procedures


Getting the perfect look has always been a dream for many people, whether male or female, and the dream of a fresh look, a beautiful skin and strong hair with good facial dimensions has kept just as many people busy doing research in cosmetology to help those in search of better versions of themselves.

Egyptian cosmetic surgeon Shadi Ismail, a specialist in plastic surgery and laser treatment and a member of the European Society of Cosmetic Dermatology, explained that today cosmetology meant much more than simply maintaining the beauty of the face and delaying the signs of aging.

It has been seeing major changes in recent years, and aesthetic procedures nowadays rarely run the risk of the fake look that was sometimes the result in the past.

They are more about maintaining your natural beauty and doing what the skin needs than extending the proportions of the face with Botox or fillers.

No one wants a fake look today, even as the rejuvenation of the skin is as desirable as ever. More and more people are keen to retain a healthy, youthful look for as long as possible with the help of cosmetic procedures.

“The fake look is a result of the wrong amount of fillers injected into the face. However, Mauricio de Maio, a Brazilian doctor, has come up with what he calls ‘MD codes,’ which are certain points in the face that can be injected to achieve a natural lifting, making the face look less saggy or tired,” Ismail said.

“Last year de Maio also invented what are called ‘dynamic codes,’ basically other points in the face related to muscle movement and the lines created from facial expressions. If special techniques are followed before injections, they can avoid any suggestion of artificiality. This is because they take into consideration the dimensions of the face, the fat distribution, the bone structure and the muscular distribution,” he added.

“Age is not a factor that we ask clients much about nowadays, as various age groups can undergo these procedures. Some procedures cannot be done for clients under 25, while others like PRP [platelet-rich plasma injections] are safe therapies for hair loss and skin care for different ages.”

“Even so, if a 20-year-old client asked me for fillers so she could get a certain look, I would say no. As a doctor, I don’t blindly follow the will of the client, and medicine cannot be about business. We put the benefit of the client first and foremost. Furthermore, the consent of the doctor is a must. I have seen cases come to me to ask for certain aesthetic procedures that they do not need at all. They are simply obsessed with their looks to an unhealthy degree,” Ismail said.

He added that low self-esteem can play a major role in becoming obsessed with aesthetic procedures. And while a client might ask for one thing, the doctor might see that he or she actually needs something else.

“Cosmetology nowadays is not just related to filling the lines of the face with fillers. In fact, correct procedures dictate that fillers should only be used in small quantities and should be distributed over various points in order to give a unique shape to the face and to soften the signs of ageing or severe expressions,” he said.

While there were many very good cosmetic doctors in Egypt, he added, some wrong practices were also present. “Patient selection is a must,” he said, meaning that the doctor needs to select the right aesthetic procedure for every single patient on an individual basis.

There is no one-size-fits-all remedy, and the doctor needs to educate the patient and manage his or her expectations, he said.

The patient must understand the effects of every procedure, and he or she must not expect miracles. For example, a client must understand that Botox can only fix lines that are present due to facial expressions, and it cannot fix all facial problems.

Results are also relative, and while many patients may be satisfied with the results of their treatment, others may not. A procedure may work for one client and not for another, for example.

Ismail added that it is important to make clear that the effect of any procedure is related to the health routines of the client. Cosmetic procedures do not allow a client to dispense with the need for a proper diet, plenty of sleep and good hydration, for example.

Procedures related to skin and hair can also take a long time as they are related to growth cycles.

“The best advice I would give to my clients is to follow a routine for skin care daily: use a good sunblock and a rich moisturiser, drink plenty of water, and never leave acne traces untreated. It is crucial to choose a doctor who is trustworthy and understands what is wanted,” Ismail said.

That said, he added that a “revolution has recently taken place in the field of cosmetology,” with the advent of laser machines, rejuvenation tools, face and body lifting technologies, hair removal techniques and combination therapy of different laser types for the best results.

As for fillers, these have been developed such that they are more easily absorbed and have a more prolonged effect. There are also new procedures in growth factors, PRP platelet-rich plasma, and other treatments.

“Each procedure has a different effect closely tied to the age of the client and his or her lifestyle. After the age of 30 we start to lose some of our collagen in the skin, and by the age of 50 we have lost some 20 per cent. This means that age is a key factor that determines which aesthetic procedures to apply for each client,” Ismail said.

“Thread lifts help in the repositioning of fats in the face, and they do not lift the skin as some people think. The threads help to restore the strength of the ligaments, so that the ligaments lift the fats,” he added.

“There are also various types of threads; some of them are used for rejuvenation at a young age, and others are used to stimulate the collagen and the elasticity of the face.”

Ismail said that while any procedure could have side-effects, a good doctor would always use caution in practising aesthetic procedures.

“The patient has the right to know the types of fillers that are being injected and their medical composition. A well-known side-effect can be dark spots that follow injection procedures; however, the right practice and the type of the shot itself can also lessen or eradicate dark spots,” he said.

Finally, many clients today are more aware of the aesthetic procedures that are available in Egypt.

Clients from the Gulf often visit Egypt to enjoy the expertise of its doctors and its good prices. “In fact, medical tourism in Egypt should be promoted and developed,” Ismail concluded.

* The writer is a freelance journalist.

* A version of this article appears in print in the 4 October, 2018 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly under the headline: The real meaning of cosmetology

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