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Editor's Correspondence
January 17, 2011

What Is Beauty, and Why Do We Care So Much About It?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Otolaryngology, Division of Facial Plastic Surgery, University of Illinois, Chicago Center for Facial Plastic Surgery, and School of New Learning, DePaul University, Chicago.

Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2011;13(1):66-67. doi:10.1001/archfacial.2010.65

Recently, I saw a patient in consultation who exclaimed, “Doctor, please help me! Everyone is staring at this horrible mark on my face; it's destroying me; everyone sees it.” She looked at me as if I could easily see her damaging mark. I could not help noticing the large, 3-inch-long jagged scar running vertically along her right cheek, but, not inadvertently wanting to make an issue of something that was not, I asked her, “Which mark are you referring to?” She then surprised me and pointed to a tiny pinpoint red spider vein on the left side of her forehead and said, “The red blemish; can't you see it? It makes me look so ugly, and it's driving me crazy.” She was not at all concerned with the rather large scar carved into her cheek; it had been caused by an injury when she was 2 years old, and she had adapted to it. She was concerned only with the new red blemish. The obvious cheek scar had no effect on her perception of her own beauty.

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