Many people have cosmetic procedures because they believe that it will make them happier. Some would say that this is ridiculous and that cosmetic surgery is not ‘medicine’. They would claim that plastic surgery is merely a vanity tool and a luxury. The US. Government is even now considering taxing what they call ‘elective cosmetic surgeries and procedures’. Dr. Eva Ritvo, would strongly argue that cosmetic surgery is actually an anti-depressant.
Dr. Ritvo, a board certified psychiatrist, co-authored a book with Dr. Debra Luffman, a board certified dermatologist. The title of the book is ‘The Beauty Prescription’ and it describes this idea that looking good can indeed be an anti-depressant. It explains a concept called the ‘feedback loop in the environment’, also called the Beauty-Brain Loop. It shows a cycle that includes inner beauty (mental state), health, outer beauty, and environment. This loop creates a scenario where, every choice a person makes affects all aspects of beauty from a person’s skin to their emotions and relationships. In a nutshell this means that if you like the way you look outwardly it will be easier for you to like the way you look on the inside.
In more detail the authors write, “in our modern world, research shows that beautiful people earn more money, get a better break in the legal system, get more help from strangers, advance further in their careers and are generally happier.” Getting better rewards from life causes prettier people’s brains to be fueled with positive feelings and self esteem.
In the book Dr. Ritvo describes an experience that she had, after having Botox injections around her eyes. She came out of a sad movie and could not cry. She writes, “..when I couldn’t cry, I quickly stopped feeling sad….Sadness was nowhere to be found. It was as if the emotion came up, couldn’t be expressed, and so, went away.” In this instance the Botox injections actually allowed her to be happy during an experience that would have otherwise made her sad.
These ideas follow other research that suggest that Botox can indeed make people happy. This earlier research was conducted in 2006 and the results found that people who had Botox injected into their glabellar frown lines were less depressed than they had been before. Dr. Ritvo would very much like to see these ideas studied out more. She understands that knowing the emotional benefits of cosmetic surgery will help to paint the practice into a new light. She knows that looking good is beneficial to a person’s emotional state and she now wants others to accept this fact as well.