Human beings have been interested in beauty and the way they look since Paleolithic times. Of course the concept has changed over time, but there has always been a wish to look good and please others by one's appearance.
"We all have a need to feel good about the way we look and we want to stay young," says Raquel Moreno Pentinel, an expert in cosmetic medicine and specialist in anti-ageing techniques, who recently took part in a conference organised by SUR and the Unicaja Foundation. At the conference, she spoke about the important advances which have been achieved in cosmetic medicine and said that the combination of technologies now available offers a more global perspective and produces optimum results which are more natural-looking.
The greater effectiveness and safety of the treatments now used in cosmetic medicine have meant that after the therapies have been applied patients look more natural. "What the people who come to us want is that, instead of being asked what they have had done, they are just told they look good," said Dr Moreno Pentinel.
She also pointed out that cosmetic medicine has always been seen as something frivolous but in fact it is a serious aspect of medicine and one which fulfils people's wish to feel good about the way they look. "What is beauty?" she asked, before explaining that it is rather an abstract concept. "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It is a subjective perception which produces a pleasant sensation in us," she said.
This specialist in cosmetic medicine also explained that even children under the age of two understand the concept of beauty, and babies spend longer looking at the faces of good-looking people.
Dr Moreno Pentinel also said that health and youth are two terms which are closely linked to beauty, a nd that something which is pleasant to look at also has moral connotations. To explain the concept more clearly, she referred to children's stories in which the princesses are beautiful and the witches are ugly, and in films the heroes are good-looking and the villains are repulsive.
After taking a look at the history of beauty over time, she talked about the growth in cosmetic medicine, which has stopped being something for and has become available to all social classes, which has increased the demand for such services. In 2017, nearly half of all women in Spain had undergone some type of beauty therapy, as had 18.4 per cent of men.
The reason for this increase is associated with the key role that physical appearance plays in society and people's self-esteem, not forgetting that in social relationships "nice-looking people are more acceptable". She also pointed out that appearance has an influence in the workplace, to the extent that in some cases and some professions, people who look good receive a higher salary.
The doctor pointed out that nowadays, when people are living longer, they are not resigned to losing their looks as they age and are more inclined to turn to cosmetic medicine. Nor are they alone. Their concern is also shared by young people, who start worrying about their appearance at an increasingly early age. She also stressed that the future of cosmetic medicine is healthy, because the techniques are less invasive, safer and offer better and more natural results. "Knowing that we look good makes us feel more confident," she said.
She said it is wrong to give people false expectations, and that she would never apply a treatment if she didn't think it was the right ting to do. "Nobody should ever promise results beyond the ones they can achieve," she insisted.