At Elle magazine’s annual awards in Hollywood during October 2014, a radically different-looking Renee Zellweger made her red carpet appearance, sparking a media frenzy of note in the days that followed.


What happened to the ditzy blonde we could all identify with in Bridget Jones’ Diary? She embraced us with her insecurities, her self-indulgence and her wonderfully down-to-earth character that made us feel like we knew her personally.

She has always been one of the most popular and authentic actresses on our screens with her wholesome, innate beauty – not exactly a Hollywood star kind of beauty but an every day beauty who made us feel good about ourselves and how we looked.

Rewind to that famous night in Hollywood a few weeks ago and the lady who appeared as Renee Zellweger didn’t look like the star we have come to know and love. You could almost hear the imperceptible intake of breath as we scanned before and after photographs to see exactly what she had done to make herself look so different. She attributed her newfound looks to a healthier, less stressed lifestyle but some were not convinced!

While she doesn’t look bad, she doesn’t look like herself. She has lost her uniqueness and in doing so, she has lost some of the essence that made who she was and what we liked about her. It is her choice to have changed her looks and that has to be respected but it got me thinking about when is enough, enough when you start on youth enhancing treatments?

These days with the variety of treatments on offer that can make a person look years younger, it is easy to overstep the line between looking beautiful and not looking yourself and in some cases even looking freakish! You don’t have to look too far on the internet to find evidence of fish pouts, cat eyes, surprised stares and many other looks where treatments have missed the mark.

Donnatello Versace is another celebrity who has drastically changed her looks over the years and it is sad because she too doesn’t look much like her original self.

So back to the question … when is enough, enough when it comes to enhancing your looks as you age? In many cases we blame the doctors for over-treating their patients but it is often the patient who is driven to achieve more drastic results. We have seen evidence of this in ageing woman who fear their husbands have a roving eye!

Youth enhancing treatments should always be a partnership between a patient and their doctor. Most doctors want to help their patients realise their expectations but if these are too extreme then the fine line between looking your best self or not yourself at all can be overstepped.

The doctor/patient partnership should be built on trust and open communication between both sides: a doctor should be able to openly discuss when he feels a patient’s expectations are unrealistic and equally, a patient should feel free to tell a doctor when they feel uncomfortable about being over-treated.

People who suffer from a condition called body dysmorphic syndrome (distorted body image) are often the very people who have unrealistic expectations of what they should look like as they age. They are then driven to making drastic changes to fit in with their distorted body image – it is difficult to reason with people who suffer from this syndrome because they don’t know they have a problem!

Ask advice from a trusted family member or friend if you feel you are heading in the wrong direction with youth enhancing treatments or operations. At the end of the day you should look your age and certainly look like the person you were destined to be – there are many treatments offered that are subtle and which will enhance your looks without changing them.

For more information you can make a personal appointment with Sarah Stringer, Dr Webster’s skincare therapist for a Visia Complexion Analysis and for further information on products and treatments to attain your best skin health according to your expectations and budget. Phone: 021 852 5858.

Stockists of:  Neostrata, Skinceuticals, Skin Medica

Sandy Webster / November 2014



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