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Showing posts from 2016

Happy Beauty Christmas

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We hope you are all enjoying the countdown to the holiday season. If the magazines are to be believed, this means sparkles and metallic when it comes to clothes, make-up, and the increasingly ubiquitous semi-permanent manis (glitter of course!). Glamour’s front cover says “Sparkle: Tons of It”, while Red’s cover advice is for “Berry Lips and Grown-up Glitter”. Preparation is more than surface, and if you follow Cosmo’s advice you start with a pre-party routine – “The Party Prepper Workout” – “to help you nail that dress”.[1] This involves a 14 minute fat-burning circuit of lunges, push-ups and burpees, after which you might be forgiven for feeling that partying on top is a bit much to ask!



An interesting development in beauty at Christmas is the advent of the beauty advent calendar. While beauty calendars have been available for a number of years, until recently they have largely been fairly niche. This year they have exploded – who wants to face chocolate in the morning when you cou…

Can beauty concerns promote positive body image?

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In light of research (e.g. Williams et al., 2013) indicating that beauty concerns can be utilised to reduce unhealthy behaviours such as tanning, smoking and more recently, alcohol consumption, a central question remains about the ethics of doing so. In other words, in a society where appearance increasingly defines who you are, and unrealistic beauty standards are a distinct marker of social class (Grogan, 2016), is it responsible of researchers to further emphasize this?


Beauty, and particularly youthfulness, has long been the main standard on which women (and increasingly men, albeit not to the same extent) are judged (Wolf, 1991), but perhaps never as intensively as in a time where media images are omnipresent. Walter (2010) goes as far as suggesting the 21st century to be the era of “new sexism” - related, but not identical to, Glick & Fiske’s (1996) concept of Benevolent Sexism - where traditional aspects of patriarchy such as objectification and sexualisation of women are r…

Using beauty concerns to influence behaviour

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Beauty standards have always been important in society, but it was not until the widespread introduction of television, magazines and more recently, the internet, that a standardised male and female beauty ideal became a widespread marketing strategy (Dion et al.,1972). Recently, there has been an increasing awareness that personalised beauty is a powerful tool for conveying a message or promoting products. This has been recognised by the advertising industry, a prominent example being Dove’s campaign “See the Beauty in Yourself” (Dove Real Beauty Sketches, 2016) that moves away from a standardised beauty ideal to a personalised campaign strategy where the value of women’s own appearance is used as a marketing tool (Grogan, 2016).


It is only relatively recently that the importance of appearance has been recognised by health researchers as a possible tool for behaviour change, particularly with harmful behaviours stemming from a desire to improve appearance, e.g. the use of indoor tann…

Just a phase? Why we should worry about girls’ unhappiness with their appearanc

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The Good Childhood Report 2016 highlighted declining levels of girls’ happiness with their appearance in the UK, while boys’ happiness remains stable. There is now a sizeable gender gap in happiness with appearance among young people aged 10 to 15 in the UK. International comparisons show that this gender gap is by no means inevitable and does not exist in many countries. More Than A Quarter Of A Million Girls In Britain Are Unhappy, Report Reveals
Huffington Post, 31st August 2016 Differences between girls’ and boys’ happiness with their body and appearance have been a recurring theme of our research programme on children’s well-being since we launched our first survey report in 2010. Based on responses from over 6,000 children, it showed a growing gender gap in feelings about appearance as children got older. At ages 10 to 11, a similar percentage of girls and boys were unhappy with their appearance; but by the age of 14 to 15, twice as many girls than boys were unhappy with their ap…

Just a phase? Why we should worry about girls’ unhappiness with their appearance

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The Good Childhood Report 2016 highlighted declining levels of girls’ happiness with their appearance in the UK, while boys’ happiness remains stable. There is now a sizeable gender gap in happiness with appearance among young people aged 10 to 15 in the UK. International comparisons show that this gender gap is by no means inevitable and does not exist in many countries. More Than A Quarter Of A Million Girls In Britain Are Unhappy, Report Reveals
Huffington Post, 31st August 2016 Differences between girls’ and boys’ happiness with their body and appearance have been a recurring theme of our research programme on children’s well-being since we launched our first survey report in 2010. Based on responses from over 6,000 children, it showed a growing gender gap in feelings about appearance as children got older. At ages 10 to 11, a similar percentage of girls and boys were unhappy with their appearance; but by the age of 14 to 15, twice as many girls than boys were unhappy with their ap…

THE COSMETIC SURGERY(STANDARDS OF PRACTICE) BILL 2016: REGULATING COSMETIC SURGERY- THE NEXT STEPS?

On Wednesday 19th October the Labour MP Kevan Jones introduced a 10 minute rule bill – the Cosmetic Surgery (Standards of Practice) Bill (a private members bill) in the House of Commons. This Bill is aimed at improving standards of patient care and is supported by the Royal College of Surgeons, 
“to make provision about the training, qualifications and certification of medical practitioners conducting cosmetic surgical procedures; to establish a code of practice for the provision of information to patients on the options and risks in relation to such procedures; to make provision about permissible treatments and the advertising of such treatments; and for connected purposes.”

One instance given by Mr Jones was in relation to a constituent, Dawn Knight who had eyelid surgery which led to her being unable to close her eyes to sleep at night as too much skin was removed. Her eyes remain constantly sore, gritty and tight. (BBC News “Cosmetic Surgery I have to tape my eyelids up http://www.…

Body Image: The third edition

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The third edition of Body Image is out this month. 

This edition presents updated research literature, and considers what we know about body image in men, women, and children in the twenty-first century. The 2010s have seen a significant increase in cosmetic surgery, and over 20 million cosmetic procedures are now performed worldwide each year, mostly on women. Incidence of anabolic steroid use is increasing worldwide, and recent studies suggest that about 2.4% of Australian male adolescents and 6% of US adolescent boys use steroids to bulk up muscle mass in spite of serious health risks. Diet pills are also widely available on the internet and are used by both men and women to reduce body fat levels. Site enhancement oils such as synthol are also being used more frequently to create the appearance of trained muscle, and Botox to reduce facial wrinkles. Clearly there are important issues here that require understanding.
Since the second edition of this book in 2008, more researchers ha…

Pressures to be perfect!

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The 2016 Girls’ Attitudes survey, out this week highlights – again – the importance of body image, body confidence, and generally how much appearance matters for young women in the UK today.

Claims that ‘it’s the inside that counts’, or ‘beauty is only skin deep’ are hard to maintain in the face of such overwhelming statistics. You might send your 9 year old daughter off to school (as I do every day) telling her that you can find something beautiful in every face (which you can) and that kindness matters most of all (which it does), but she knows, as all girls know, that beauty matters too. A few of the headline statements, taken from page 3 of the report, remind us just how much it matters:
·“47% of girls aged 11-21 say the way they look holds them back” ·“From as young as seven, girls say they feel embarrassed and ashamed of how they look” ·“Fear of their bodies being criticised holds them back from doing everyday things they’d like to do” ·“69% of girls aged 7-11 feel like they ar…

From VAT advice to medical devices

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The British Association of Cosmetic Nurses held their annual conference at ICC Birmingham Saturday 17th September with nearly 300 delegates and up to 50 exhibitors what a resounding success it was, and it was inspiring to see so many nurses who all have the same ethos. I’m not just saying this because I sit on the board, feedback from those who attended was very positive. 

The day had a wonderful atmosphere with many new members. Previously the profile of a BACN member was a registered nurse with between 10-30 years nursing experience and 5-10 years’ experience in aesthetics, but we now have nurses who have just started working in aesthetics or who are thinking of joining. We encourage our members to become non-medical prescribers and to date 89% of our members are. Toxins are prescription only medicines and although dermal fillers are classified as medical devices often local anaesthetic is used for pain relief and this is also a prescription only medicine. According to a recent surve…

Who's afraid of cosmetic surgery?

Professor Heather Widdowswill be one of the two speakers opening a public debate next Monday (September 12). The other speaker is nurse specialist Sharron Brown who will explore how the NHS responds to people’s aesthetic needs. Both speakers are members of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics working party which is currently considering cosmetic procedures (http://nuffieldbioethics.org/project/cosmetic-procedures/).

The debate is public and open to all. No prior knowledge is needed, just an interest in issues of the body beautiful and transforming the body for aesthetic reasons.

The debate is part of the 'Dragon Hall' series run jointly by UEA and the Writer's Centre Norwich. Speakers will open the debate with very short talks and then the discussion from and with the audience begins. The aim is to be open and create "more light than heat". For more details see https://www.uea.ac.uk/events/-/dragon-hall-debates.

‘I didn’t even notice you’d had a spray tan done’: The role of distinction in the production of femininities in the beauty salon.

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3. Where possible, always shave or wax at least 24 hours prior to a spray tan appointment, as hair removal after a spray tan will remove the tan.
6. Try to avoid activities that involve excessive perspiring for 12 hours after a spray tan.
7. Try to avoid activities that naturally exfoliate the skin – such as baths and chlorinated pool swimming – for at least 12 hours after your spray tan.
12. Exfoliate from head to toe the day prior to a spray tan, paying particular attention to areas such as your knees, elbows and ankles.
21. After a shower, try to gently pat your skin dry and avoid vigorous rubbing when towel drying.
From: 35 expert spray tanning tips to guarantee you’ll never get a bad tan again

Pre-twentieth century, ‘pale skin was often perceived as a mark of beauty, wealth and refinement’ (Martin et al. 2009: 2140) and ‘a tan was considered a mark of the lower classes’ (Segrave 2005: 5). However, since the 1920s, amongst white Europeans, this has been reversed with a tan becomi…