As part of her “20/20” TV special on plastic surgery Barbara Walters interviewed a group of black or African-American women who had undergone breast augmentation, rhinoplasty and Botox injections. This is newsworthy because according to recent statistics, as reported by abc news, “Blacks are still cosmetic surgery’s slowest-growing minority. The bulk of the plastic surgery business – nearly 70 percent – comes from whites.”
In an online news story following the interview, abcnews.go.com, February 28, 2012, explains more about why darker-skinned women have traditionally shied away from plastic surgery.
One simple reason for this, according to a Chicago plastic surgeon, is that darker skin “tends to have more oil.” He uses a piece of paper as an example. When you fold paper it wrinkles, but if the skin is oily, it will not sustain a crease.
Another reason black women have stayed away from plastic surgery is because it carries a stigma in their community. A guest on the show, Phyllis Jackson, decided to get Botox in spite of community “pressure.” She explained that, “African-American women don’t need to have beauty enhancements.” Another participant, Linda Caradine Poinsett, 50, said, “I think African-American women are still in the closet about having plastic surgery….(but) I think we’re doing it a lot more.” Despite this stigma, she underwent surgery to augment her breasts and whittle her waistline.
During the Beverly Hills Botox dinner party televised on “20/20,” the doctor invited to inject the Botox mentioned he’s had some black patients requesting butt lifts.
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, “As more patients of color present for surgery, it is becoming increasingly important to have techniques that address their individual needs. It is vital to preserve the ethnic heritage of the given patient.” For example, “… ethnic rhinoplasty is more about balance of the face and not assuming the look of another racial or ethnic group – a fear that many African American patients still have. Understanding the inherent physiological differences among ethnic groups is also vitally important; such differences will dictate what techniques are used in the overall procedure.”
For every ethnicity, it is important to choose a plastic surgeon who is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.