I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how beauty norms influence my work and my client’s experiences. For example, the Crow’s feet is an area that bothers many people, but I have a friend who loves her crow’s feet, that cascading web of lines around the eyes. She is proud of them. They are her “smile” lines. As someone immersed in the world of aesthetics, this stands out to me. We all perceive beauty differently. Stereotypical Barbie isn’t the only beauty standard. 

A big part of my job is centering my client’s beauty standards and personal goals, while not letting my own standards get in the way. With lip filler patients, for example, we have a consultation that focuses clearly on what the goals are. We discuss wanting a certain kind of fullness or emphasis in one part of the lip more than another. We consider these goals, along with anatomy and beauty standards to formulate our vision and treatment plan.

It is important to keep in mind that opportunities, and limits, to enhancements are dictated by one’s anatomy. Injection treatments can certainly enhance certain aspects, but cannot radically alter or change someone’s fundamental anatomy and shape. So part of my work is also honing in on where one’s natural beauty lies and how to accentuate that.

I recognize that beauty standards are fluid and variable among people, and especially across generations. For decades, the perfect lips according to mainstream beauty standards were considered to be a fuller bottom lip and smaller top lip. The “standard proportions” are the top lip being 1/3, and the bottom lip being 2/3.  These days, especially with younger generations, it is often more desirable to have the top lip equally proportioned to, or even fuller than, the bottom. Ultimately, as an injector, I have to be aware of the tides of change, and the ever-evolving language of beauty. I encourage my clients to bring in images and photos that help illustrate the work they are seeking. I have had clients come in with photos of faces that emulate their goals, and this has been a really helpful tool to make sure our visions are aligned.

Close up of faces of many different women and different ethnicities showing how natural beauty is different for everyone.

Social media’s influence on beauty standards

Widespread changes fueled by social media– especially filters–  play a big role in how many of us may see ourselves. Because of the rate of connectivity today, trends and beauty standards will change quickly and be widespread. I recently learned about a phenomenon known as “Snapshot Dysphoria“. Snapshot Dysphoria is the desire to attain the impossible beauty standards caused by photo filters that drastically alter the face. Leading young patients to seek plastic surgery to attain the filtered version of themselves. While my work does offer enhancements to one’s natural beauty, it’s cannot cause drastic alterations that are only achieved through plastic surgery. My work leads to reinforcement of confidence, and feeling good in one’s skin.

Intentional communication to achieve treatment goals

Everyone has a different relationship to the various textures and parts of their face. I always strive to maintain awareness that each person holds their own personal beauty standards, and through intentional communication we structure our sessions in such a way that sees and honors those. A critical part of my job is Active listening. If you’ve worked with me you have probably noticed that I often repeat back  words to you: treatment goal, fears, past experiences, and what’s important to you. I do this because I want be sure to fully understand you, and to make sure that the names we are using are referring to the same thing. For example, Smile Lines can be the lines around the mouth, but they can also be lines around the eyes. With thorough communication and asking clients to show me, on their faces, what they are referring to, we can be sure to always be on the same page.

Patient Testimonials

In recent months I’ve received testimonials from clients about our process of communication and navigating specificity in the sea of beauty norms:

CR: “Christina is amazing! She really listens to you and makes sure you feel comfortable and heard. She took her time to make sure I was happy with my results. I definitely would recommend her to anyone!”

Erika: “Very informative during appointment. Actually listened to what I wanted to achieve and helped me reach that goal.”

Jaime: “Fantastic experience and treatment! HIGHLY recommend Christina. She’s super aware of your needs, listens, but is also highly intuitive to our desired result. Book her! You won’t regret it!”

It’s such an honor to do this work! I’m always open to having a conversation about the services you’re seeking. It’s a collaborative process. So if there’s something you’re seeking, let’s get the ball rolling. 

Interested in Aesthetic treatments in Portland, OR?

Aesthetics treatments are generally safe and suitable for most people, but there are certain considerations to be aware of. It’s important to consult with a qualified health professional to determine if they are right for you. Dr. Christina Baghdanov at Ageless Aesthetics in Portland, OR, is a naturopathic physician with a keen interest in Aesthetic medicine and skin care.  If you would like to learn more about botox. filler treatment, or microneedling schedule a free consultation and we’ll discuss your goals and concerns, and explore all available treatment options!