People don't look the same anymore. And I am not referring to how people who live today don't look like people who lived in the 1500s. I am referring to how different people look now compared to 10 years ago. There is a disturbing trend of body mutilation that is seeping into our population and it is becoming accepted as normal and as the new standard of beauty. And we are no longer seeing such changes as unnatural or standards as unrealistic. And I am alarmed by it.
What made me write this post was a reality show I re-watched for the first time in 15 years. When I watched the show back in 2005 I thought the cast members were naturally beautiful. They had normal faces, normal noses, normal cheeks and jaws. They looked like how cute girls in their early 20s should look. When I rewatched the show this past weekend I was shocked with how they looked compared to how girls in their early 20s look in todays media. People just don't look the same anymore. They do not look natural anymore. They look plastic. Whats worse is that when I see the girls who starred on this show 15 years ago, they all went the same plastic route. Natural beauty gone. They also look 10-20 years older than their age.
I live in Southern California which is the vanity capital of the United States. I think it has this distinction because Hollywood culture has made most people who live here think they are being judged by their looks even though no one cares what others look like because they are too preoccupied with how they look.
Plastic surgery is commonplace in SoCal and it is harder to find someone who hasn't had work done than someone who has. 10 years ago and later, the common surgeries you would see were rhinoplasty (nosejobs), breast implants and butt implants. But rarely would you see a face engorged with filler. Now I see it everywhere.
It used to be a rare sighting to see a woman with a lot of filler in her face. Now I cannot leave my house without seeing filled faces everywhere. I really don't understand why my mail carrier felt the need to fill her cheekbones to the point of popping, or even how she could afford it. Excess filler is not only destructive, it is expensive. And it is becoming so commonplace that it is no longer shocking, it is part of our new culture.
The problem is also that I used to just see extreme plastic surgery and cosmetic work in Los Angeles, New York City, Miami and a few other metropolitan areas. Now I am seeing people with extreme work everywhere. And it is the same work. The nose bridge shaved so sharply that you could cut a diamond on it, the jaw sharpened and angled to a point, injected brows lifted and paralyzed and face filled to extreme proportions.
People now look different but they all look the same.
Before and After. The look seen in the after photo is common in those who have been manipulated by app-imposed beauty standards.
What is the reason for seeing extreme elective mutilation to the body for "cosmetic purposes"? Instagram. People are now bombarded with highly edited photographs and told that these are natural, real people. Yet the body types, skin and proportions are physically impossible for a human being to achieve. But when you are told over and over again that something is the truth, you begin to believe it. And when you see nothing but images of shaved-jawed, pointy nosed, fully filled faces you start to pick apart yourself for not looking like that. No one needs to look like that, and yet everyone nowadays wants to look like that. And what happens? We covet. We start to make changes to our body to look like what we see every day. Its human nature to do things to fit in even if what we are being told to do to fit in is completely unnatural.
Attack of the [Instagram] Clones
The morbid reality of new beauty standards
And now we have consequences. We no longer know what a face looks like anymore. We no longer know what skin looks like anymore. All thanks to an app. And we are destroying ourselves because of it.
What fillers were meant to do, and how we have strayed from that path
Hyaluronic acid fillers were originally intended to give some facial fullness to those who had lost volume due to extreme weight loss, drug use or illness. And for that purpose I believe that they are safe and effective to use. A little bit of filler now and again is not damaging or destructive, in my opinion. However, modern use of filler has veered off from the original intent of the product. Hyaluronic acid fillers are no longer for those with lost volume to achieve some of their lost self. Hyaluronic acid fillers are now used to achieve a "modern" look. An Instagram look. A fake look. That look is high, pronounced cheekbones, a shaped jaw and the denial of graceful aging.
The use of fillers has strayed and gone to an extreme. Their use to give the face unnatural proportions, to fill in wrinkles and lines and lift the face has the opposite effect of making the face look older and age faster. This is how.
1. Fillers distort the face
When you get a little filler to fill in a hollow area, such as by the eye area, it can revive the face. I like this use for filler and it does not cause aging or damage. That is because it is done minimally.
But this is how the slippery slope begins. Most people do not go into getting injections intending to look like Jigsaw from the Saw movie franchise. They start off wanting just a little boost to their appearance. And when they get that first syringe or two they love how they look. They get a dopamine rush, which is how all addictions begin.
A timeline of a famous face over 7 years of facial filler.
The problem here is not only the fact that this is the clear path to addiction, the filler has not dissolved. Filler takes months or years to dissolve and if you get more filler before its dissolved you are just engorging your face with more and more gel. This causes distortion.
A young woman ages herself through use of excessive fillers. Excessive use of fillers distorts natural face features, causing an aged appearance.
When the face becomes distorted this makes you look unnatural. And an unnatural look will make you look disproportioned. A hallmark of beauty is proportions. That doesn't mean perfection. It means symmetry. And injections, when taken too far, take away from that symmetry with every syringe. The result is an older appearance.
2. Fillers stretch the skin
What happens if you go too far with filler? You stretch your skin out. And the line between just right and too much is razor thin. When you stretch your skin out you have to keep stretching it more to get it taught, which creates an endless cycle of pulling and tugging and filling and forming to get skin to what it once was. The irony of it all is that once you go too far with filler, you are just chasing the look you had before you had the work done in the first place.
The defining characteristic of aged skin is not wrinkles or lines, but the loss of skin quality. A lot of older people have no wrinkles or lines due to filler, but they still look older. A woman in her 70s who gets a lot of filler and has no lines does not look 18, she looks 70 or older. And that is because her skin quality is poor due to stretching it out. A woman in her 70s can have wrinkles and lines and look beautiful, even youthful for a mature woman if she avoided excess filler and used proper skin can and sun protection.
A little bit of filler won't stretch the skin to the point of aging. And if you want to get a little bit of filler, such as to fix eye hollows, I believe this is ok. However, it is only ok to do so if you get just as much as you need for modest fullness and you let them completely dissolve before getting more filler.
3. Fillers migrate and cause sagging
Because fillers are introduced to the body, they are not natural and therefore there is no natural place to keep them. A little bit of filler can stay in place, but when that scale tips, which happens easily, the filler has to go somewhere. And gravity takes its toll. When you put in more filler than your body can hold in one place, the filler has to go somewhere and it goes south, causing sagging. The body cannot hold onto the very weight of the injected mass so the filler sinks down, causing the skin to sag.
Before and after filler. A young woman who is 25 looks much older due to excessive use of filler.
From what I have seen, a little filler once in a while and in the right spots can be a good thing. But it is easy to take injections too far. And the problem is that we no longer know where "too far" is. We are shown images of "people" that any other generation in history would deem as absurd, vulgar caricatures of the human form, and told this is natural and a goal to strive to.
And once you go too far, you can never go back to how you once looked.