There has always been some stigma attached to cosmetic surgery. Once considered a luxury for the rich and elite, many people from all walks of life now undergo some form of appearance-altering treatment, yet few like to talk about it. Celebrities are no exception.
Cosmetic procedures are on the rise- from facelifts and tummy tucks, to ever popular Botox jabs and cellulite busting laser treatments- so why are the majority of famous folk unwilling to shout about it loud and proud from the rooftops?
At The Cosmetic Surgery Guide, I hear from women every week who want legs like a member of The Saturdays (hey, don't we all) or a nose like Kate Middleton. We live in a celebrity-minded society where we're just as likely to walk into a plastic surgeon's office with a picture of a renowned rump as we are a hairdresser's with the latest pixie-crop hairdo, yet few famous faces come clean themselves about going under the knife.
At least once a week, gossip websites are awash with stars rumoured to have undergone 'this treatment or that treatment' to enhance their looks, and usually within the same day a press release is issued refuting all claims; despite how obvious and transparent some cosmetic results may be. It's a shame, because in today's vanity-lead world, where image is everything, young girls look up to these celebrities and want to emulate them. Is it not arguably the responsibility of public figures to make sure they're honest about their appearance? Do followers of pop stars and actors not deserve to know the looks they're 'so jeal of' (I was 16 once too you know) have come from the help of a gifted doctor, surgeon, nurse, or dentist?
Look at someone like former X Factor judge and singer Tulisa. She hasn't confirmed or denied reports that she's had lip fillers and muscle relaxing injections, yet has uploaded numerous pictures to her social media accounts displaying the results of her 'makeover'. No doubt the speculation about her suspiciously plump pout has got her the desired attention, but her honesty (either way) would benefit her legion of fans that hope to be just like her.
Maybe it's the misconception that all cosmetic surgery has to involve just that: surgery. There are so many treatments available in the UK today- take rhinoplasty using dermal fillers or body sculpting- that can offer the results of invasive surgery but without the pain or downtime, which have made cosmetic surgery much more inviting to the masses. It's not without risk of course, but cosmetic surgery can rebuild a person's self esteem, or body image, and improve their quality of life. So if a celebrity opts to have excess fat lasered from their body in a bid to slip confidently into that spandex cat suit, why keep it a dirty secret?
So much awareness can be raised by celebrities who choose to buck the trend for keeping quiet. Look at Hollywood A-lister Angelina Jolie, who bravely revealed to the world she had undergone a preventative double mastectomy and subsequent breast reconstruction. Her honesty helped many women overcome their fear of surgery stigma, and seek information about a life-changing treatment they may have previously rejected. Every single plastic surgeon I have spoken to since her admission in the New York Times (May 2013) has openly praised the actress for bringing to light a topic feared by many, and the wonderful role cosmetic surgery can consequently play in someone's life.
Of course the experience isn't always positive. You only have to Google 'Alicia Duvall' to see the darker side of cosmetic surgery, but it's admirable that she, alongside other famous faces, (we all remember Leslie Ash's reaction to lip filler) have raised awareness of the importance of finding the best practitioner who will offer you unbiased advice, rather than seek to make a fast-buck from you.
It's only by discussing the topic honestly and frankly that we can stop the stigma attached to cosmetic surgery, and be aware of its positives and negatives. I think it's undeniable that celebrities have a part to play in opening the gates of communication and ensuring research and safety are at the top of the list for anyone considering cosmetic or aesthetic treatments.
If you're researching cosmetic surgery make sure you know your stuff. Visit www.thecosmeticsurgeryguide.org for honest advice and information about picking the right practitioner.