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December 20, 2007

Beauty Excess: How Much Is Too Much?

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woman with dark lipstick white teeth and light shining on her face

Over-Whitening

Photo Credit: Michael Wirth

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"A lot of people come in these days wanting more, and you have to say, 'No, your lips are big enough — and, in fact, would you mind going out my back door?'" says Dr. Steven H. Dayan, a Chicago facial plastic surgeon. "I probably dissuade 40 or 50 percent of those who come in."

Dr. Patricia Wexler, a prominent Manhattan dermatologist, says that some women who land in her waiting room are victims of the rubber-mask effect. "Their skin has no texture whatsoever; it's been peeled and lasered so much that it's lineless and has no pores. They ask for filling to augment a nose that's been reduced four times; they ask to fill cheeks that are already too big."

Dr. Harold Lancer, a Beverly Hills dermatologist, explains the problem with today's antiaging gluttons thusly: "Too much laser work, and you appear a little marbleized. Too many chemical peels, and you look chronically inflamed. And then you have the overfilled look, like a puffer fish."

Yep, we're well acquainted with it (see Lara Flynn Boyle). "Most of these patients aren't aware that they look artificial," says Dr. Foad Nahai, president of the ASAPS. "The majority of cosmetically addicted people have forgotten what they used to look like," adds Lancer. "They're caught up in the method of excessive maintenance, plus they're surrounded by others who think the same way."

The pressures facing celebrities in today's youth-obsessed culture are enormous. While airbrushing technologies have made it possible for stars to show up at photo shoots 10 pounds overweight and still look perfectly toned on magazine covers, the looming specter of universal high-definition TV demands an almost unprecedented level of head-to-toe perfection. Porn star Jesse Jane has already cited this technology as the reason she had her breast implants rejiggered — but don't expect the same candor from mainstream stars!


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