The reality is that we live in a world obsessed with youth, stereotypical notions of beauty and being a certain shape. So sometimes we can’t help but feel that the odd nip, tuck, lift, injection, enhancement or reduction would make us happier, despite the risks. It’s an undeniable fact.

I turn 40 in less than a month and the physical signs of aging are beginning to show. So far I have not found the need for cosmetic treatments of any kind. I try to live a reasonably healthy life by eating wisely, moving my buns and laughing a lot. I do have blemished legs, but I’m ok with that. I also think there’s something satisfying about showing your age. It’s like you’ve earned your right of passage. People see your wisdom and experience reflected in your aging. That counts for a lot too.

Although I’m personally content without cosmetic treatment, I do see that it has value. In some situations it is essential, like reconstructive surgery for the person injured in a bad accident, or surgical reduction for the woman who has the discomfort of an extremely full bust.

I also understand when people feel more strongly than I do about changing an aspect of their appearance. Their problem might not be physical health or discomfort, but emotional pain can run just as deep.

Finally, I want the freedom to reevaluate my own decision as I get older. As far as possible I like the idea of making the most of what I have and growing older naturally, but who knows how I’ll feel about things later on in life.

I started thinking about these questions recently when Greg asked me out of the blue: “when do you think it makes sense to have cosmetic surgery?”. Through his networking in the Seattle startup community he had met Tom Seery, the founder and CEO of, an online community focused on cosmetic treatments and plastic surgery. In many ways the motivations behind YLF and are similar — to empower people with information so that they can make informed decisions. And we share a belief that your inner self and outer self are connected and mutually reinforcing.

Tom describes how was inspired by his wife, Krista:

Krista found online research of a skin care treatment completely out of sync with her other web shopping experiences.  While it was easy for her to get real opinions about hotels and restaurants, it was nearly impossible to discover similar information on cosmetic procedures whether it be a simple microdermabrasion or a major procedure like tummy tuck surgery.  We’ve made it our mission to give people a safe and anonymous place to get the real story behind these big decisions. Postings in the community allow us to generate ratings of cosmetic treatments in our Worth It Index.

Real Self has gone the additional step to inviting board certified medical experts to answer questions in the community; to date 1,000 doctors have provided over 100,000 answers. Involving more experts in the community might be something we should do more of here at YLF.

Over to you. I’d love to hear from all age groups, because your perspectives are equally important. What cosmetic treatments would you consider having now, or later?