In a recent Guardian article Linda Geddes highlighted a booming and ever-growing market for non-surgical cosmetic treatments, while also questioning what we really know about the long-term effects – something that doesn’t seem to discourage “the desire for plump, youthful-looking skin or the perfect Instagram face …” When you consider that in 2021 the non-invasive aesthetic treatment market was valued at 53.8 billion and expected to expand at an annual growth rate of 15.2 percent, this is clearly big business.
So why is it that there is still a certain amount of judgement and stigma surrounding treatments and tweakments?
I wonder if perhaps we simply aren’t talking about it enough. Transparency and an honest, non-judgemental narrative would go a long way towards making the choice for these procedures as standard as going to the hairdressers or having cosmetic dental work. If some women choose to temporarily hold back the visible passage of time – their face, their bodies, their choice – then why shouldn’t they? More to the point, why is there still a nagging sense that it should be kept hidden?
Speaking to Lucia Ferrari in an interview for The Telegraph recently, Sarah Jessica Parker spoke openly about a procedure she has tried – an ultrasound skin-tightening treatment (Sofwave) – and Botox, which she hasn’t and says is a definite no for her. “I can’t speak for other people, and I’m not opposed to anyone doing anything. It’s just not something I choose to do. Also, I’m an actor – I have to move my eyebrows.”
So obviously it’s also about personal choice, but what I find frustrating is the fact that women are still so profoundly judged – famous or not – on the way we look, particularly as we age. If we choose to use creams and serums to cover the signs of ageing, it’s seen as a betrayal of our natural biological process. If we have procedures that enhance and lift, we’re accused of trying to look years younger than we actually are. The irony is astonishing, and what’s rarely considered is that it’s exactly this societal judgement surrounding the image of an ageing woman that creates a platform for these procedures in the first place.
For me though, it is also about women being kinder to women – not judging if someone chooses to age in a way that is not our own – and particularly since we know that our age does not, and should not, define us. Talking about Botox, Sarah Jessica Parker went on to say: “This is just how I feel for me, and absolutely doesn’t mean the same applies for someone else. We are all different and I love that about women. People must choose to do what they want, and find a way that makes them feel better when they walk out of the door.” One of the principles on which Studio10 was founded is that there is no right or wrong way to age, and how we tackle the aesthetic issues surrounding this is a matter of personal choice. If a woman chooses injectables and fillers, or to cover the signs of ageing with the most expensive creams she can lay her hands on, then this is entirely her choice. There is no need for it to be hidden, it is not open for criticism and it is not to be judged. Instead it should be openly talked about as an independent decision that has made her feel good – and beautiful – when she walks out of the door.