More African Americans, Indians and Armenians Getting Plastic Surgery

Daniel Gonzales

by Daniel Gonzales | March 9, 2012 @ 09:00AM

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It’s no secret that cosmetic surgery is predominantly performed on Caucasians, with 70 percent of the plastic surgery business coming from this demographic. However, according to a recent article on ABC News, as cosmetic surgery grows more in popularity, surgeons are seeing an influx of African-Americans and Indian-Americans. Per ArmeniaNow.com, Armenians are also looking to improve their appearance through surgical means.

Historically, many of these cultures have been hesitant on pursuing plastic surgery and instead have promoted “inner beauty” within their communities. In fact, this is a unifying factor for all three ethnic groups highlighted in this article.

For African-American women, there's a pressure from the community that they don't need to have beauty enhancements. But aside from the social stigma, there may be a scientific reason why so few black individuals seek cosmetic procedures. For instance, many African-Americans are less vulnerable to experiencing aging skin.

"Darker skin has natural protective factors against sun. So we don't see the same wrinkling, because sun exposure typically will cause weathering or cracking or folding of the skin,” says Chicago plastic surgeon Dr. Julius Few, as quoted in the ABC News report. “A lot of people think oil in the skin is bad. The reality is oil in your skin is good. It's kind of like folding a piece of paper. The more you fold the piece of paper, the more you're likely to get a wrinkle in it. Well, if the skin is a bit oilier, has better moisture to it, it will tend not to get a heavy crease in it.” That said, it is still reported that African-Americans are opting for Botox injections. As for body reshaping procedures, the butt lift procedure continues to be a popular choice amongst African-American women who choose to enhance their appearance through cosmetic surgery. 

As for Indian-Americans, a culture that has always been known to promote inner beauty, the interest in cosmetic surgery has increased. According to Drs. Sejal M. Patel and ASPS member surgeon Rollin K. Daniel, who were quoted in a press release regarding the March issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, this is due in part to “Bollywood” film stars. Many Indian-Americans have rhinoplasty performed to remove the bump on the nose in profile, decrease the size of the nose, or adjust the dip of the nose that many feel has a “drooping” appearance.

All surgeries have an element of risk involved, but rhinoplasty can pose distinct problems specific to the Indian-American community. According to a report in the March issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, "Indian-American rhinoplasty patients present a challenging range of nasal deformities requiring careful surgery planning," write the researchers. Their findings point out important surgical, cultural, and aesthetic considerations affecting rhinoplasty in Indian-Americans.

In Armenia, the number of plastic surgery patients has increased from 3,500 to 4,500 since 2009, per the ArmeniaNow.com article. The majority of cosmetic surgery patients are women, but the number of male patients has also gradually increased. Armenian women are commonly undergoing nose and ear surgeries, also opting for liposuction, breast augmentation, and facial rejuvenations. Men, on the other hand, are said to be drawn to rhinoplasty, facial wrinkle removers, and hair transplantation. Much like the growing acceptance of cosmetic surgery in the African-American and Indian-American communities, plastic surgery is no longer looked at as an aberration for Armenians. And as the economy continues to improve and grow in Armenia, it appears that the number of patients seeking cosmetic improvements will too.

Even as more and more cultures in both America and abroad see plastic surgery as a taboo-free option to obtaining the body they long for, preserving their ethnic identity is paramount. This is the fine line that many doctors are encountering, and being sensitive to the needs of this emerging client base is of utmost importance to many surgeons globally.

Are you of ethnic descent, and have chosen to undergo a cosmetic enhancement despite past cultural stigma? We’d love to hear from you!

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