Since the end of the 20th Century there has been an increasing focus on the body as a vehicle for identity and self expression

Since the end of the 20th Century there has been an increasing focus on the body as a vehicle for identity and self expression. Obsession of a youthful appearance has become commonplace in modern society and has resulted in an upswing in cosmetic procedures trying to reverse the aging process. Beauty is the apparent new indicator of social worth.

However, the desire for beauty is not purely a late 20th Century phenomenon. Historically, people have often undergone extreme discomfort and risk to obey culturally set types of beauty including binding of the feet, ritual tattooing, and body scarification.

A recent survey confirmed that 51% of women aged 16-29 would consider cosmetic enhancement either now or in the future and to further this, by 2020, its believed that almost 1.5million of us in the UK will have had non-surgical treatment such as fillers or boto. Of course its easy to pin the increase of interest of cosmetic improvements on social media such as Instagram, but your feed might not be telling you the full story. Don’t get me wrong, scrolling through a well put together account could make us compare our looks, but experts point to a wider shift in cultural norms. Airbrushing apps like facetune, as well as the makeup trend contouring, hints at the idea of how these cosmetic tweaks could potentially enhance their faces. A woman surveyed, age 27, claims she isn’t turning to cosmetic treatments to try and enhance her self esteem, its just a look she prefers, like straightening her hair or waxing her eyebrows. Expects say that in the past, patients used to bring in images of celebreties as a reference; now more and more patients show airbrushed or retouched photos of themselves as a guide on how theyre aiming to look.