The Eyes of a Python
Last weekend, in Los Angeles, I came out of my hotel. The sun was out, the cars were roaring, and beautiful people were everywhere. It was a perfect spring day. And then, I glanced into the eyes of a python…a lady in her 50’s, impeccably dressed with a Hermes Kelly bag. She dressed like a million but, alas, her face truly looked like a python.
As a plastic surgeon, I am always looking around me to see what is beautiful, and what has challenges. The concept of beauty has been well described in our art, literature and even better conceived in our media. But somewhere, somehow, things went wrong. A group of facial filler injectors, whether plastic surgeons, dermatologists, or expert nurse injectors started engaging in the unconscionable art of Herpetology-Study of reptiles. These injectors use their skills and surpass the boundaries of beauty by overfilling patients’ faces, especially upper cheeks, and make women look like python snakes. Slit like eyes, round high cheeks, and a 747-wide upper face….horrifying.
Beauty is like a fire on a candle in a still room. It has a perfect shape, it is still, it glows, and it is unassuming. Beauty follows lines that are not only societally appropriate, but are also age appropriate. Beauty is truly pronounced in an understated presentation and it becomes cheap and exuberant when it is overdone. The impeccable beauty and elegance of Audrey Hepburn, the presence and sultriness of Elizabeth Taylor, the incomparable harmony of Angelina Jolie’s face. All of these women are passionately beautiful and yet so understated. The act of overfilling the faces of women, enlarging the lips, and freezing all elements of animation is not commiserating with what I feel as sentinel marks of beauty.
Such negligent attempt at beatification is hubris. It is an attempt by these practitioners to do more, to do better and to fill more. We will leave the financial motivations out of this, but I know well that it cannot be ignored.
For 15 years I have been doing my own injections. I have not ever been able to relinquish this to a nurse or a PA, and it has been at a great financial cost. However I feel that as a surgeon who understands proportions and beauty and as one who has seen the insides of so many faces, I am highly obliged and qualified to do this type of treatment. Sure, I am not a productive injection center like so many around us, but late at night when I put my head down on my pillow, I know well that I did not engage in herpetology. No snakes in this office.
Primum non nocere (First, do no harm…)