Many individuals view procedures like Botox injections or laser skin rejuvenation as luxuries reserved for the wealthy, despite them being more commonplace now than ever before. In Brazil, it appears as though the treatments are viewed as somewhat of a necessity, because clinics in the South American country are offering procedures at a significant discount or free of charge for low-income individuals.
The Washington Post spoke to some healthcare providers who are offering their services as a sort of charity to men and women seeking firmer necklines or wrinkle-free faces.
"What’s a wrinkle? Something minor, right? Something with precious little importance," said Nelson Rosas, a cosmetic surgeon at the Brazilian Society of Aesthetic Medicine's Rio clinic, quoted by the news source. "But when we treat the wrinkle, that unimportant little thing, we’re actually treating something very important: The patient’s self esteem."
Proponents of offering free or cheap cosmetic procedures to low-income individuals say that correcting a physical flaw may act as a sort of therapy, curing people of their insecurities. This notion was pioneered by plastic surgeon Ivo Pitanguy, according to the WaPo. Now 85 years old, Pitanguy still operates on all people – from the rich and famous to the less fortunate.
It's true that individuals need to be aware of the risks involved in cosmetic procedures – especially invasive operations like a breast augmentation. However, wanting a slight boost of self-esteem may be a legitimate reason for going under the scalpel, needle or laser, whatever the case may be.
An article that was published in Psych Central states that cosmetic enhancement can make a significant improvement in a person's self-esteem and sexual confidence. The news source cited a Barry University study which revealed that breast augmentation may result in an improved perception of self and sexual function in women.
However, people with significant self-esteem problems may not be ideal candidates for cosmetic procedures, as plastic surgery cannot fix deep-seated psychological issues.
"There may be patients who will never be satisfied with their bodies no matter how much surgery they receive or feel that their life will completely change after plastic surgery," said Cynthia Figueroa-Haas, a clinical assistant professor at the University of Florida College of Nursing, quoted by Psych Central.