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Surgical patients strive to maintain their ethnic heritage


Most people want to look like they already do, just a less-tired, newer version, a phenomenon known as “racial preservation,” an emerging concept in cosmetic surgery.

“Our concept of beauty used to be highly Westernized, but it's different now.  When we look at our social icons, we see a variety of races and ethnicities — Lucy Liu, Beyonce, Rihanna, Angelina Jolie — they all have a degree of uniqueness reflecting their race.”

The most requested procedures among blacks, Asians and Hispanics are eyelid surgery, nose jobs and injectables. 

Patients should find a surgeon who is sensitive to cultural nuances and understands how the aging process differs from one race to the other, and what complications pertain to skin color.

For example, blacks should be cautious about facial laser resurfacing, chemical peels or dermabrasion, which can affect pigment production and result in uneven skin color.

“Problems with pigmentation are not easy to correct.  If there's too little, you're going to have to rely on some sort of makeup. If there's too much, we have several solutions or lotions we can use, but the effect is unpredictable.”

While lasers and peels may not be a good option for women with darker skin, injectables are.

Studies have shown that Botox and fillers are well-tolerated by all races.

For more invasive procedures that involve a scalpel, scarring must be considered.

While everybody can develop thick scars, also known as keloids, Asians, blacks and Hispanics are five to 15 times more likely to develop them. However, there are ways around it.

Depending on the procedure, incisions can be hidden in the mouth or along the hairline. Close observation and aggressive management of healing scars is critical.

Eyelid surgery isn't a problem for any race because keloid scars on the eyelids are very uncommon.  All patients, no matter the race, have the same aesthetic goal in mind, but there is a shift towards preserving the unique features that identify them to their own culture.

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