The Shocking Fakeness of Before and After Transformations

The Shocking Fakeness of Before and After Transformations

I have always had MAJOR issues with ‘before and after’ pictures that are perpetually featured in our feeds.

However, it wasn’t until I started researching the legitimacy of these ‘proof points’ used in the beauty industry to market new products, that I found myself transitioning from having ‘major’ issues to ‘MAMMOTH’ issues with this content. 

If you’ve ever seen a ‘before and after’ picture that seemed too good to be true, chances are, you’re right. It’s not real, true or scientifically accurate.

I know, I know…secretly you don’t want to believe this because you’d love the product you’re currently researching to deliver the same miraculous results presented in your Instagram feed (like that pink anti-cellulite cream), but after 40+ hours of research, I regret to inform you that we are being fed yet another marketing-driven claim that isn’t real.

Let me explain. 

At first, my issues were the little things I noticed in these images that made me doubt their validity; such as inconsistent lighting, different face angles and OMFG sometimes it would be a different face entirely!

But when I started researching this topic I discovered more of the detrimental effects these pictures can have on us. 

  1. They don’t tell the whole story. You’ll see photos of someone in a beauty clinic, lying on a treatment bed to promote a skincare product. What you don’t see is the TREATMENT series they are undergoing as well as the products they are using.
  2. They perpetuate an unhealthy comparison. The way someone looks is rarely indicative of their overall health and well-being. Yet we judge ourselves subconsciously every time we see someone’s perfect ‘after photo’.
  3. It’s just a snapshot in time. Some products work quickly, initially, but then either work against the skin in the long run or cease to be effective. We don’t even know how long someone’s skin maintained that perfect glow in an ‘after photo’.

These questionable practices are not just confined to skincare companies pushing products, or day spas pushing treatments. 

Cosmetic and plastic surgeons have had their ethics questioned as there has been an increase in doctors marketing more expensive procedures. 

Interestingly, the chair of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons Ethics Committee wrote an editorial stating he has noticed: 

“A worrying trend of deteriorating ethical standards among plastic surgeons, and that many plastic surgeons are using social media for self promotion driven by greed and ego where the patient has become the commodity to be exploited”.

It is widely accepted within the scientific community that you cannot successfully photograph before and after pictures when assessing the effects of skincare. 

The challenges of evaluating skincare arise because even a small change in facial expression, facial angle or lighting can dramatically alter the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, pigmentation, sagging and drooping.

In Conclusion: 

  • Just because a certain treatment worked for one person doesn’t mean it will work for you. 
  • Everyone is different and each has their own unique skincare and healthcare needs
  • Outcomes vary as we need to consider stage of life, skin structure and strength, lifestyle factors, genetics, environmental influences
  • Do your own research and due diligence. Don’t just rely on google. Ring or email and ask questions. 
  • Don’t be deceived by before and afters, an impressive with beautiful imagery website 
  • Look at before and after photos with extreme caution

    We recommend a holistic approach that includes your diet, hydration, acupuncture, LED, Chinese herbs and supplements if  necessary, alongside topical skincare.

    If you're after more than just skincare and want to soften your fine lines and wrinkles my cosmetic acupuncture sessions are just for you. 

    I practice in North Sydney and offer various packages.

    Book here.

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