Dubai, UAE: A senior UK-qualified dermatologist in Dubai says there is a degree of "exploitation" of residents by some sections of the cosmetic surgery industry.
According to Dr Ikramullah Al Nasir, medical director and specialist dermatologist at Dermacare Skin Centre, Dubai, some professionals take advantage of people’s desire to be beautiful. On occasions, he says, patients are made self-conscious of the "faults" in their appearance, prompting them to go under the knife.
"Many people border on an obsessive level of desire to look beautiful, though they don’t have any obvious shortcomings or faults in their natural looks," says Dr Al Nasir.
"Some service providers are over-promising and exploiting this desire… by pointing out "faults" in people."
Dr Al Nasir, who has been the regional coordinator of the European Society of Cosmetic and Aesthetic Dermatology (ESCAD) for Middle East and South East Asia, is concerned about the role semantics plays in the world of cosmetic surgery.
"There is nothing like a "cosmetic surgeon" licence," he says. "Driven largely by people’s affinity for some words and their positive connotations, many plastic surgeons have stopped describing themselves as plastic surgeons and self-endowed the title of a cosmetic surgeon. Perhaps, it sounds more exotic."
Even dermatologists, according to him, are using the title of "aesthetic dermatologist". "There is no category of aesthetic dermatologist in the DHA (Dubai Health Authority) licensing section," he says,
Women, he believes, are more susceptible to such subtleties of description.
"[They] are spending more on themselves and sometimes even forcing their husbands to spend to support them in achieving their desired degree of good looks because society tends to judge and respect people based on appearance and social status," says Dr Al Nasir. He highlights the fact that research has shown that more and more working women are undergoing cosmetic surgery procedures because they can afford it.
But women are not the only ones. In recent times, men, too, have shown an interest in undergoing cosmetic surgery, he says.
So, what can be done about the fact that some individuals are prodded to undergo procedures needlessly?
Two things can check this trend, says Dr Al Nasir.
"One is consumer awareness; people need to be informed on how they do not have to follow trends. Second, they should be encouraged to make a comprehensive and intelligent assessment of the promotional slogans of service providers."
Dr Al Nasir offers what he calls the "Triangle of Guidance" which people can turn to when making a life-changing decision to undergo cosmetic surgery.
The three prongs are: "Identification of the problem in the right way; picking the right qualified person; and opting for the right modality of treatment."
Together, they will ensure the right outcome for an individual, he says.
(Dr Nasir has 22 years of professional experience in Britain and the Middle East and has been an associate professor of dermatology and founding president of the Asian Skin Foundation. He is also president and CEO of Dermacare Group of Skinhealth Services, Dubai).
© Gulf NewsApr 2014