Debates around cosmetic surgery have progressed from shaming those who have gone under the knife, to having more positive and constructive conversations on the matter.
With the exception of 'red top' tabloids who still calculate the sum total of various celebrities' cosmetic surgeries, cosmetic surgery and non-invasive aesthetic procedures have now become pretty much normalised - so much so that some TV personalities have even publicly shared their doctors' details.
After all, there ain't no shame in a little nip/tuck if that's what you personally feel is best for you and your happiness. If spending R400K on surgery to look like the Duchess of Sussex helped a woman regain her confidence after a breakup, who's to tell you otherwise? This is why the likes of Cardi B and Khanyi Mbau (albeit controversial at times) have repeatedly hit back at criticism over their cosmetic procedures.
Also no stranger to both criticism and cosmetic adjustments is reality TV star Kim Kardashian West. Never deviating from her natural beauty, Kim K has made a few subtle, yet visible changes to her enviable visage over the years.
2007 versus 2019
Her open secret? Fillers... and a 17-product beauty routine.
Harper's Bazaar even confirms that "Kim has been open about using them—even going as far as to try and self-inject filler on Keeping Up."
Dr Reza, a top aesthetic doctor in South Africa, has recently travelled back to Johannesburg from his trip to Beverly Hills for training with the social media mogul's aesthetician. Dr Simon Ourian is the go-to doctor for the Kardashian’s, having been single-handedly responsible for Kim Kardashian’s aesthetic procedures.
Upon Dr Reza's return to SA, where he works at Anti-Aging Art Medical Aesthetics, W24 got a chance to pick his brain about all the cosmetic surgery treatments South African women are keen on.
The first thing this highly sought after doctor expresses about the work he does is how fulfilling it is to "help people look and feel better."
Dr Reza at work at Anti-Aging Art
So what does that entail?
SA women are keeping up by getting fillers too
Dr Reza has been practicing since 2011, and notes that the demand in South Africa for botox injections has grown among both men and women - in the early years of his career the ratio stood at 90% women and 10% men, but has since seen an increase in interest from men, resulting in a 60% women to 40% men ratio today.
However, botox is not the only leading beauty treatment patients are seeking. According to Dr Reza, "patients are now understanding aesthetics as art," and as a result, patients are mostly going for procedures that yield subtle results - skin boosters and dermal fillers around the nose and eyes.
These treatments smooth wrinkles, enhance facial contours or lips. This description might immediately spark a Kardashian-Jenner-esque SnapChat-filtered image. Well that can be partly attributed to social media selfie standards.
"I'll have a Beyoncé with a side of Naomi cheekbones, please"
Dr Reza does not shy away from acknowledging the fact that social media has been heavy-handed in creating pressure among women to have more contoured faces and fuller lips and consequently, the demand for cosmetic procedures has spiked. However, he emphasises that the takeaway from the course with Dr Simon was to always use fillers subtly in order to "achieve a very natural look."
"Take natural beauty and enhance it," he clarifies.
But what happens when a patient has a Katie Price approach to cosmetic procedures?
Dr Reza responds by saying; "Just like a bartender will tell when you've had enough, we always tell our patients when it's too much."
Speaking of celebrities with ever-evolving facial structures, it was also worth exploring how often the Joburg-based aesthetician receives A-list face requests, to which he responds there are a few requests every now and then. Because none of their treatments require people to go under the knife, this is a procedure that is still approached with a very subtle use of fillers.
Okay, so now that you have your Naomi Campbell cheekbones, can you also get Rihanna's hairline while you're at it?
Yes, you can. Introducing hair filler injections...
Restoring snatched edges. Literally.
More than "Riri hair goals", hair filler injections and microblading are actually solutions to traction alopecia - one of the leading beauty concerns among black women.
Usually when we start noticing that our hairline is ghosting us faster than last season's crush, we just cover up our exposed temples with wigs or get strategic protective hairstyles. But Dr Reza highlights how this can ultimately do more harm than good, and offers hair filler injections as an alternative solution with proven longevity.
There are no overnight results for this treatment - Dr Reza explains that you will require more than one treatment, and it may take up to three months for the full effects to show. These injections revitalise hair follicles and help with hair stem cell proliferation, and thereby induces hair growth by increasing the size of the hair follicle.
No two people will ever look identical
(with the exception of identical twins, of course)
... just like no two people will ever have identical beauty treatments. More importantly, no one is perfect and the point of aesthetic procedures or talking about them is not to trigger insecurities about how we may struggle with the pursuit of our individual ideas of perfection.
Banter about wanting to look like our favourite A-lister aside, the conversation about aesthetic procedures is about merely educating those who would like to enhance their beauty - and have the means to - about their safe options.
In light of this, Dr Reza shares the following tips for anyone shopping for an aesthetic doctor:
- Choose your aesthetician wisely
- Do your research and check out their previous work
- Don't go for cheap fixes (we all saw how that turned out for Shemekka on She's Gotta Have It)
Or you could just go to the guy who learnt firsthand from Kim K's cosmetic surgeon.
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