Mazin A Moufarij is a Lebanese doctor who completed his education and specialization in Australia and the USA. He is a specialist in medical aesthetics and anti-ageing medicine, a fellow of the American Board of Aesthetic Medicine and member of the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine. Although beauty is in the eye of the beholder, for him, it is subjective and objective.
From an anatomical point of view, he thinks beauty is the normalizing of features that are out of balance. The subjective part of beauty is personal and he defines beauty as natural elegance. Smooth transitions in harmony are a key to a natural result, whether in the face, breast or other parts of the body. In an interview with Kuwait Times, Moufarij revealed the secrets of Kuwaiti women and their relationship with beauty.
Definition of beauty
Kuwait Times: How long have you been in Kuwait?
Dr Mazen A Moufarij: I have been in Kuwait for over a year.
KT: What made you passionate about the beauty of the face and skin?
Moufarij: The importance of the face and the skin is fascinating. It helps bring out the greatest potential of a person. I have witnessed the transformation of many young or older men and women who were once withdrawn and greatly lacking in self-confidence due to severe acne or wrinkles, but once their skin was healed, they were beaming with joy and confidence. Being able to give someone the confidence to shine is what really motivates me on a daily basis. Taking care of our face and skin is also a reflection of our self-worth. I truly believe that each and every one of us has the potential to look good and feel great!
KT: From a man’s point of view, how do you define beauty?
Moufarij: When I was a child, I was told that we are all beautiful. I believed it. I was beautiful. At least, I used to be! Then I learned what “beauty” meant to the world.
Sure, everyone has his own taste, but isn’t that the beauty of it all? There is no objective measure of beauty or appearance. There is only preference, and the girls I like may be very different than the girls someone else likes. For me, I like girls who look healthy, happy and confident. The color of their hair, breast size, body shape, well… none of that is too important if they fit that description.
KT: How do you explain the approach of women to plastic surgery nowadays to enhance their beauty?
Moufarij: I find most patients want their appearance to fit how they feel inside. They may feel youthful, energetic and active, but have insecurity due to lower lid bags that make them look tired, or excess skin and loose muscle from childbirth preventing them from wearing the swimsuit or evening gown they desire. I find most my patients are in search of a look that suits that personality and attitude.
Plastic surgeries obsession
KT: What do you think about Arab women and their obsession with cosmetic and plastic surgeries?
Moufarij: Some women have cosmetic surgery not to impress others – they do it to impress themselves. But unfortunately, young Arab women – some aged 14 – are having cosmetic surgery in the hope of attaining “doll faces” to make them look like the actors they see in Hollywood films and satellite television programs from the West.
KT: How do you define Kuwaiti women when it comes to fashion, beauty and style?
Moufarij: Kuwaiti women are very fashion conscious and stylish. They used to have their clothes customized in Beirut in the early ’60s, and would fly to Europe to buy the latest trends. Fashion, beauty and style never stop. The majority of Kuwaiti women try to keep up with it successfully and moderately.
KT: If you have male patients, what is the percentage of men compared to women? And which procedures do they demand the most?
Moufarij: Men are increasingly undergoing cosmetic surgery to enhance appearance, combat the effects of ageing and improve chances of employment in competitive job markets. I have to admit that men are increasingly coming to my consultation room. The range of treatments is the same as those that we offer to women. Nowadays, the aesthetics of appearance also plays a very important role in the world of men. The times when men were ashamed to come to aesthetic medicine clinics are over.
KT: What are the most common procedures demanded in Kuwait?
Moufarij: For surgical procedures in females, breast enlargement, rhinoplasty (nose job), eyelid surgery and liposuction with fat transfer. For males, it’s liposuction and hair transplant.
As for non-surgical procedures, definitely Botox and fillers. Botox, manufactured botulism, is a toxin that relaxes muscles. It works best on horizontal furrows on the forehead or vertical ones between the eyebrows. We put minute amounts of Botox in the muscles that produce those furrows so they are minimized. If you put too much, the muscles won’t work at all and you will have that mask-life effect we often see.
Fillers are hyaluronic acid, much like collagen, but synthetically manufactured as it turned out many patients were allergic to collagen. It fills in concavities or fine lines and it works best for laugh lines or marionette lines. You can’t have too much injected or it will interfere with your speech – which I have seen in patients who come in trying to have it fixed; there is nothing to do but wait until the effect fades. Both Botox and fillers last around 4 to 8 months – in some cases a bit longer.
KT: How do you approach facial procedures?
Moufarij: I believe the key to a natural face is harmony and symmetry. Essentially, attention will be drawn to your most aged component. Therefore, I always ask my patient to describe their concerns in descending order in front of the mirror. I will then discuss why these components have aged and why they are this way. I then take time to teach my patients why the face ages and which areas are safe candidates for surgical correction. This helps my patients understand why they have the lines or tissue excess and what can be done to correct this. This is very educational in combination with before and after photos to provide a realistic idea of what procedures each patient can benefit from and what the expected end result should be.
KT: Is it true that implants (breast, chin, buttocks, etc) need to be replaced every five years?
Moufarij: A common misconception is that breast, chin or buttocks implants need to be replaced or lifted every few years. This idea keeps many women from getting a procedure they want because they are worried about long-term costs and future surgeries. However, implants last longer than you may think. Which means: There is no reason to plan on having major surgery every few years for the rest of your life!
When it comes to the “average lifespan” of implants, there are no guarantees. Some will last a lifetime, while others have complications within seven years. On average, the majority of implants last 10-20 years without complications. Recent FDA reports indicate that about 20 percent of women will have their breast implants repaired or replaced within 10 years of the original surgery.
KT: What are the latest technologies when it comes to liposuction?
Moufarij: Liposuction technology has experienced several advances in recent years. These advances have decreased side effects, decreased recovery time and increased visual results. This new technology involves the use of lasers. This technique has come a long way from the original liposuction procedure. The newest liposuction technology eliminates the need for incisions. The process is done entirely with lasers. It shows visible results within days instead of weeks. There is no need for general anesthesia.
KT: What are the latest developments in plastic surgery and what do you expect in the near future?
Moufarij: With new technology, invasive surgery is quickly becoming a thing of the past. The future of cosmetic surgery is not surgery at all, but rather safe, non-invasive, non-surgical treatments. Nonsurgical procedures, notably noninvasive skin tightening and fat reduction technologies, will be improved. The predictable and consistent results they achieve in the future will ultimately reduce the demand for surgical procedures. In particular, the combination of new and improved injectables, utility of stem cells and skin-tightening devices may well spell the end of surgical procedures for facial rejuvenation. In the wake of these advances, interest in and demand for nonsurgical aesthetic services will grow even more rapidly than the current pace.
KT: Plastic and cosmetic surgeries can be addictive – how do you deal with women who are addicted to it?
Moufarij: Plastic and cosmetic surgery can definitely become addictive; it’s the job of the plastic surgeon and the patient to make sound decisions together. The only real cure for plastic surgery addiction or obsession is for people to realize that it is not the nose but the look in the eyes, not the appearance but the accomplishments, not the fake but the real that actually makes us all who we are.
KT: What advice do you give to women in order to preserve their beauty?
Moufarij: Every woman desires to stay young and beautiful for a very long period of time, preferably her whole life. My advice to every man and woman is to keep the same weight all the time (don’t overeat), use sunscreen all the time, exfoliate your skin regularly, hydrate and moisturize your skin daily, be happy and focus on the bright side, get beauty sleep, feel young at heart, get into the gym and eat healthy.
By Sahar Moussa