They say when people date for so long, they begin to look like each other. Now, you can instantly look alike, without having to spend 2-4 years on the same couch, or showering in the morning while someone else uses the toilet. A new trend called Beauty Matching, which allows couples to receive cosmetic treatments to obtain similar and complementary features, has taken off in both Beirut and Dubai.
According to the Khaleej Times, Dr. Matteo Vigo, Chief Medical Officer at the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery Hospital in Dubai, performs Beauty Matching treatments on 2-3 couples per week. The procedure, as Doctor Vigo described, can range from a wide variety of requests and includes matching facelifts, matching dermal filler injections, and most popularly, matching liposuction and tummy tucks.
Couples don't head to doctors' offices requesting these treatments at the same time, but rather a "keeping up with the Joneses" effect has on spurred it, with people trying to keep up with their own spouse. Couples have been requesting specific surgical treatments after seeing the procedures having been done on their partners.
There's not much of difference between beauty matching and the patients who walk into doctors' offices holding pictures of specific celebrity features they'd like to have, like the spike in requests for Meghan Markle's nose after Prince Harry's engagement announcement. Doctors like Dr. Tony Youn, a plastic surgeon in Troy, Michigan, say beauty matching can be a red flag for body dysmorphia and mental health issues. "Plastic surgery is meant to make you look like a better, younger version of yourself, not to look like somebody else," Youn told CNN.
Vivian Diller, psychologist and author of "Face It: What Women Really Feel as Their Looks Change and What to Do about It," told Buzzfeed that drastic surgeries such as these may lead to identity crises. Without realizing it, we often identify ourselves and who we are with our physical imperfections, and when we get rid of these imperfections it may lead to a loss of sense of self.
Some doctors, like Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Richard Agag, hypothesize that social media could be a driving force behind this new trend. "From what I've seen in the past couple of years, I think the biggest change is probably because of Instagram and social media," Dr. Agag told PAPER. "People have never looked at themselves so much. It's caused us to start looking at ourselves more and start noticing things, and it leads to wanting to look better. In the beginning there was a high percentage of just women getting plastic surgery, but now it's transferred over to everyone, and people's partners are starting to care more about every aspect of their face and body."
Since romantic relationships are definitely are not lifetime guarantees, it can be damaging to intertwine self identity with a partner. Although beauty matching is increasingly on the rise, many doctors agree on the importance of remaining vigilant of its long term mental health effects.