Instagram and the ‘Kardashian effect’ have led to some very specific beauty trends – think highly contoured make-up and big lips. However, aesthetic experts reveal that how we look is more dependent on where we live around the world than what we scroll through online.
Due to these global differences, Sabrina Shah Desai, a leading reconstructive surgeon suggests that ‘Phi’, the golden mathematical ratio used to calculate beauty found in nature may not be universally valid. She says: “Due to unique anatomic structures, skin physiology, mechanisms of ageing and cultural perceptions, there is no longer a single standard of beauty.”
She says instead it is important to understand our different facial anatomies and skin types before embarking on any aesthetic treatments.
According to Dr Vincent Wong: "Celtic people of Irish or Scottish origin are associated not only with red hair but thin, fair skin (which burns easily in the sun) and freckles."
He adds “The more melanin present in your skin and hair the slower most people will appear to age. If you have thicker skin, the signs of ageing are less noticeable. When the dermis layer of the skin is thicker, cells are more densely packed together and more compact. You don’t see fine lines and wrinkles as much. So conversely people with fair, thin skin appear to age earlier.”
The patients Dr Wong sees are universally concerned with the signs of ageing; typically sagging skin, drooping jawline which lack definition, and loss of facial volume. They also complain of a loss of their youthful bloom and that their complexions look duller as they have aged.
His answer to their concerns is invariably collagen stimulating. “Collagen stimulation is the holy grail. Rather than plumping up the face inauthentically in places nature never intended, it is now possible to replace lost volume by kick starting the body’s natural collagen production once more. This is the future of beauty.”
Middle Eastern decent
Meanwhile Dr Saleena Zimri from Skin Doctor Clinics, Leeds, treats a number of clients of Arabic decent. She explains that: “Most clients of Middle Eastern descent come to me to treat genetic hollows under the eyes. It’s a common problem that affects this population. They often like to look glamorous so aren’t afraid of volume, but also like to look more contoured and have a ‘slimmer’ looking face. Generally, they have good cheeks and lips, but the eye and temple region is where they tend to have most concerns.
I use Silhouette Soft to help them achieve a lifting effect on heavy skin but also combine that with Ellanse and Perfectha to give them volume in areas of defect such as temples, lips and tear troughs.”
Sabrina Shah Desai, who is also an expert in facial rejuvenation comments: “Asian skin is made up of higher levels of melanin, the pigment that provides skin with natural protection from sun damage. As a result, signs of ageing around the eye zone show up much later in life. However, melanin also makes skin more prone to pigmentation problems. Also, loss of elasticity and a weaker skeletal support leads to under eye hollows and cheek flattening.
Hollowness under the eyes and flatter cheeks can be padded out with hyaluronic acid and Ellanse around the mid face. Pigmentation around the eye zone can benefit from using topical hydroquinone, kojic acid, arbutin & vitamin C.”
According to Dr Aamer Khan a noted cosmetic surgeon who treats patients both surgically and non-surgically at this Harley Street practice: “Over the past three years, I have seen a significant increase in the number of Chinese patients requesting cosmetic treatments.”
“One of the things I have noted is that the Chinese population commonly start having aesthetic procedures as early as in their twenties. This view is supported by the statistics; China ranks third in the world behind the United States and Brazil for the number of plastic surgeries performed, according to industry officials.”
Chinese patients typically have specific anatomical differences from other ethnic groups. They often have flatter faces and shorter foreheads, which can start to look square as they age. Noses are also smaller, as are chins.
According to Dr Khan Chinese patients who want to change the flat bridge of their nose and make it longer can have their nose reshaped with a collagen stimulator such as Ellansé.
Chinese skin can be more prone to large pores, acne, scarring and hyper-pigmentation. Skin care, peels, IPL, facial sculpting and tissue re-modelling with fillers, either Hyaluronic Acid and Ellansé, give the best results in many cases.
He adds: “I have found that many of my patients have already had jaw shaving surgery in South Korea and Vietnam in order to give them sharper features. This type of surgery is being sought by, and being provided to, very young women in their early 30s, without a good idea of the long term consequences of such procedures. We find that re-modelling the face with fillers can give the desired result as a safer alternative.”
South East Asian decent
Dr Tahera Bhojani-Lynch from The Laser and Light Clinic shares her observations about beauty trends in her patients of East Asian descent. She says: "There are two main areas of concern that patients of East Asian descent typically wish to address; dark circles and increasing definition of the jawline. Typically, Asian patients do not have a significant level of fat under their eyes, meaning that very early, even in their late teens, many patients are turning to under eye concealers to hide dark circles. This concern can be addressed relatively easy using an HA filler in the area, taking careful consideration to treat not only the tear trough, but also balance proportions around the cheekbones. Results are instant and patients are keen to maintain the results as the HA filler wears out.
Genetically, most Asian patients do have smaller, softer, delicate jaw lines and many patients I see are keen to create more definition in this area. For me, collagen stimulation, rather than 'filling', is key to treating the jawline.”
Afro/ Caribbean descent
Dr Ifeoma Ejikeme, from Adonia Medical Clinic, London comments on the treatment of her patients of Afro Caribbean descent: “Black-African & Caribbean skin is generally much thicker and contains more melanin than other skin types. However, the more melanin means the skin is more prone to pigmentation. In addition, dark circles and hollowness under the eyes are common in this group, conditions that often worsen with age.”
The most popular facial aesthetic treatments in Brazil are: botulinum toxin to reduce wrinkles, loss of volume and sagging; collagen stimulating fillers to combat sagging and improve skin tone; lifting threads to lift skin and laser or peels to improve melisma and rosacea.
According to Brazilian Dermatologist Dr. Gabriel Aribi: “My Brazilian patients have specific skin changes related to increased sun exposure, so they often have more intense collagen loss, and more blemishes than women in the UK. More patients are seeking treatment with biostimulators, filler which also help encourage the body’s own collagen production, as well as lasers to address these complaints.”
He adds: “Another trend is the increased number of body treatments, especially ‘sad navel’ and increasing volume in the buttocks with collagen stimulating fillers.”
Dr Joanna Christou, who practices at The Cosmetic Skin Clinic in London, shares the latest beauty trends for Caucasian patients: “Facial augmentation leading to overfilled or over frozen results, I believe, is becoming a thing of the past and people now seek to avoid that one size fits all approach; especially in my 35+ years patients. As such, any treatment should enhance your natural features and not erase them. Lost volume skeletalises the face as we age producing hollowing that collects shadows on the face rather than reflecting light. Typically, with many of my Caucasian patients, loss of elasticity causes a soft tissue ‘slide’ creating nasolabial folds, marionette lines and jowling. A combination of dermal fillers to strategically replace lost volume and a thread lift to lifting the soft tissue back leads to the most natural looking result.”
Thank you to all of our expert contributors who feature in this article. You can find out more about them on our Meet Our Experts page.