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Heading into college has students heading into the cosmetic surgery clinics to undergo non-surgical aesthetic procedures. Some procedures include chemical peels, body sculpting, nose jobs, fillers, and hair reductions.

The National Skin Centre has witnessed a 300 percent increase of non-surgical procedures amongst college students.  "The number of teenagers who go for aesthetic procedure is on the rise. More and more teenagers are subjecting themselves to non-surgical aesthetic procedures in order to belong and look more acceptable to their friends and the people around them," said Navin Taneja, director of the National Skin Centre in Singapore.

While the old adage “beauty is skin deep” still rings true, the beauty and fashion business continues to thrive and many women go to extreme measures just to achieve their ideal figure. Plastic surgery is a multi-billion dollar industry – Americans spent $10.4 billion on cosmetic surgery in 2011 alone and the numbers continue to rise. A new documentary featured on HBO, “About Face: Supermodels Then & Now” exposes the dark side of the fashion business and provides some insight on our culture’s obsession with beauty and plastic surgery.

As more people jump on Facebook, Skype, and other online applications to share photos and participate in live chat sessions, an increasing number are becoming very self-conscious about their appearance. Plastic surgeons around the country are reporting an increase in demand for the ‘Facebook Facelift’, a set of cosmetic procedures to make you look better online.

One of the secrets to Jennifer Lopez’s youthful looks is her heart-shaped face. Jennifer’s plump, lifted cheeks help her retain a very youthful appearance and this feature has been deemed the cornerstone of a younger-looking face. As we get older, the fat in our cheeks tends to disappear and this area can even appear hollowed out. Plastic surgeons recommend facial fillers to restore the lost volume in the cheeks or even fat grafting if you want a more permanent solution.

While Kim Kardashian has been very public about staying away from plastic surgery procedures, her mother Kris Jenner has become a well-known celebrity plastic surgery addict. Kim K.’s boyfriend Kanye West has been pleading wit Jenner to stop having plastic surgery because he fears that she will end up dead like his own mother Donda West. Donda died tragically at the age of 58 after undergoing a tummy tuck, breast reduction, and liposuction procedure. A close source reveals that, “That loss crushed Kanye”. Since Kanye’s become very close to Kris, he may be feeling that he doesn’t want to lose a second mom to a plastic surgery death.

Charlize Theron is one of the most-photographed Hollywood actresses and for many, a star with an ideal figure. She’s currently in her mid-thirties and recently told the press that she can’t foresee herself ever getting plastic or cosmetic procedures to enhance her appearance. She stated, “I can’t foresee myself ever going under the knife, but then again, I’m only in my mid-thirties. Maybe it’s different when you’re in your mid-sixties. So I don’t want to make statements about where I’m gonna be in 30 years.”

Researchers have long pointed out that the Western ideal of beauty differs significantly compared to other regions of the world, but a recent report presented at the 2009 American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery Foundation Annual Meeting and OTO EXPO in San Diego showed that the esthetic impressions of people of different races also shows a significant variance.

The study involved reviewing the preferences of a group of health professionals who work with facial esthetics compared to the preferences of artists and sculptors, and a group of general citizens with no affiliation to the facial esthetics industry. Participants in the study were asked to review six images of six women between the age of 18 and 30 years. Each woman had a different nasal height root variation.

While many people frown upon beauty pageants and the Western ideal of physical perfection, others aren’t afraid to step up to the stage and show off their looks – real, or not. Hungary has announced the first ever plastic surgery patient, only open to women between the ages of 18 and 30 who have undergone at least one cosmetic procedure that required general or local anesthesia. The Miss Plastic Hungary 2009 pageant is scheduled for October and is designed to be a showcase of the latest plastic surgery techniques and options available in Hungary.

Demand for plastic surgery in Hungary has remained steady over the past decade, and women make up the majority of patients. Many Europeans also travel to Hungary to get plastic surgery to save on costs. The Plastic Surgery Channel reports that the cost of a face lift in some parts of Hungary is less than half the price of the same procedure in the United Kingdom.

In the midst of job-cut anxiety a nervous consumer market, and hundreds of businesses closing their doors, many consumers are still forking over the cash to look good.

Recent market research trend reports point out that many people are turning to affordable anti-aging treatments such as Botox, injectable fillers and over-the-counter anti-aging products in hopes of giving their looks, and their careers, a boost. Job seekers are paying attention to how they look so they can land a job with a more youthful appearance, and as the job marketplace becomes more competitive, more people are heading to the drug store or beauty counter to make the best of their looks.

For the millions of women who simply don’t have the budget for plastic or cosmetic surgery to get rid of wrinkles, over the counter anti-aging creams may be the next best thing.

There are now thousands of different anti-aging and skincare products on the market, and many contain a number of wrinkle-defying ingredients.  However, only a few actually work.  While some promise to repair skin from inside out, researchers say this is impossible, because these creams are too thick to penetrate the skin at a deeper level and do not truly make a difference.

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