From Kim Kardashian's butt to Angelina Jolie's lips, we visit Alexia Cosmetic Clinic to find out what aesthetic procedures are growing in popularity among Egyptians in search of happiness and the elusive fountain of youth.
The mad world of media believes itself to be the authority on what is beautiful. Every day, citizens of Earth are bombarded with images of famous people who we are told are symmetrically beautiful. This in turn leaves many striving for perfection, obsessing over the aesthetic flaws that mentally prevent people from achieving happiness. Egyptians are equal to any other homo sapiens walking the planet and share the same desire of freezing time in hopes of avoiding signs of aging, seeking to look forever young. This leads many down a search that ends with what mainstream media calls plastic surgery, but is more aptly termed 'aesthetic procedures'. Wanting to learn more about this thriving field in Egypt, we visited Alexia Cosmetic Clinic to find out what imperfections seem to be troubling a growing number of Egyptians, and which celebrities they strive to look more like.
In a discreet neighbourhood in Giza we find Alexia Cosmetic Clinic hidden on the first floor of a typical Egyptian apartment building. There is no indication from the outside what type of cosmetic services the clinic offers, but stepping through its door and entering its stylish lobby it becomes apparent that this is a rejuvenation centre. After a few minutes we enter a classy office where we meet a young-looking Dr. Fady M. Yacoub. As an Associate Professor of Plastic Surgery at Cairo University, a fellow of the Regensburg University in Germany and the Medical Director of Alexia Cosmetic Clinic, Dr. Fady has attained over a decade of experience and credits his youthful looks to a biannual Botox routine. “I do Botox and, as you can see, my eyebrows look nothing like Mr Spock in Star Trek. That happens if Botox is injected in a wrong way, in high doses and probably injected by amateurs. Botox is not a treatment for everything in the face, we cannot do everything with Botox. There is a space for injections, laser treatment, and there is always a space for surgery. What is treated by surgery cannot be improved by injections,” differentiates Dr. Fady.
Between television shows filled with Botox jokes and media obsessed with catching botched celebrity plastic surgeries and calling it news, aesthetic procedures are often stigmatised with many unable to distinguish what a successful procedure looks like. According to Dr. Fady, “if you had Botox and someone realizes that you had it, or you look different, then it means the procedure was unsuccessful. This is a common misconception; aesthetic procedure does not mean you are stigmatised with a mark on your face or body that shows that you had this procedure.”
Alexia Cosmetic Clinic opened its doors with a vision to bring a variety of aesthetic specialists under one roof. “The idea came from my colleague, Dr. Hossam Fouda, a Professor and Head of facial plastic surgery unit Alexandria university and a board certified facial plastic surgeon. As two plastic surgeons Dr Hossam and I decided to provide our practice with the exclusive service of a highly qualified dermatologists and laser specialists after realizing that we always seek their help to have the results we are looking for.” By recruiting specialists and setting safety as priority, Dr Fady tells us that he turns away as many as 10 per cent of potential clients during consultations if their requests are unrealistic or dangerous. “It’s very common to have butt injections now; people like this Kim-Kardashian-Big-Butt and very narrow waist. Yes, we do that, but everything that suits celebrities doesn’t necessarily suit people who have regular jobs. You cannot have butt implants for someone who works as a banker because they will be sitting all the time and butt implants are not as comfortable as breast implants and eventually end up being removed,” Dr Fady tells us.
Since its launch, Alexia Cosmetic Clinic has had an exponentially growing clientele that ranges from businessmen looking to retain youth with Botox and gym enthusiasts unable to lose love handles, to a large number of women looking to eliminate any perceived imperfection before a life milestone. “Around 20-30 per cent of our clients come in two months before their wedding and say ‘I want you to fix everything,’ and then I tell her what’s possible to achieve and what’s not in the given duration.” However, two months is not nearly enough time to produce the magical result that is often expected. The shorter the timeframe the fewer the options, which is why enlisting a laser specialist is key to the clinic as it provides quick and easy non-invasive options.
Taking us on a tour of Alexia Cosmetic Clinic's laser facilities, we meet Dr. Susan Shalaby, a lecturer of Dermatology at Cairo University and a laser & dermatologist consultant at Alexia Cosmetic Clinic, who attributes their success to the growing cultural acceptance over the last couple of decades.“The Arab communities are realising that many procedures are not frowned upon or forbidden. It’s a luxury, I know, but it’s an important luxury if it will provide a positive and profound effect on people,” believes Dr. Susan. Always providing an honest consultation, Dr. Susan isn’t afraid of telling potential clients if the changes requested will give undesirable result. “My patient is a client and she has the right to her opinion and I have the right to tell her what’s good and what isn’t from my professional experience,” insists Dr. Susan. Giving the inside scoop on some of the most commonly requested celebrity lookalike procedures, Dr. Susan tells us, “Angelina Jolie lips are on the top of the list. It’s all about proportion; it’s her lips on her face. If you look at her lips, her nose, her jaw lines, you notice all her features are big. It might look good in photos but you have to see this person in real life to know if it is going to suit you or not.”
Among the most popular treatments at the clinic are procedures like laser hair removal, Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP), and skin resurfacing. These three treatments are particularly favoured as they are procedures that last no longer than a lunch break. “PRP - or the vampire blood procedure - involves taking a sample of the blood that we pass through a centrifuge then add growth factors and some vitamins before re-injecting them with it, making it totally safe because it’s the patient’s own blood and the whole thing takes about 20-30 minutes. We also have a procedure where we inject PRP to rejuvenate the skin in the span of a lunch break.” Most of the laser procedures take little time per treatment, however require patience for desirable results, as Dr. Susan explains: “Lasers are not magic. Laser resurfacing means we remove the superficial layer of the skin to allow the more healthy layers to appear, while stimulating collagen production. The sessions we do display visible effects after three months or so, and it’s very important to tell the patient that results in the first two weeks aren’t the ones they should be expecting.”
Many of the laser procedures don’t take much time per session, but require multiple sessions spread out over 4-8 weeks, depending on desired results and allotted budget. In the case of laser hair removal Dr. Susan points out that "We have the latest state of the art laser equipment that can do the whole body in twenty minutes. However, scientifically, it should be called permanent hair reduction, as we can only promise at least a 90% hair reduction." Whether you are looking to rejuvenate or undergo surgery, all interested parties must heed the advice during consultation and expect that changes aren’t overnight, but most effective when started earlier in life. The older the client gets the more expensive the procedures become as the accumulated damage is tougher to fix than simply keeping up with scheduled treatments.
We are all beautiful; but, unfortunately, the world doesn’t share the same set of eyes. As a result, people often find themselves torn between wanting to change the way the world dictates beauty and where they fit within that jumbled mess of body image and happiness. There is nothing wrong with wanting to hold onto youthful looks as long as possible. If happiness is within your means and can be achieved by adopting a treatment or undergoing a surgery, make sure to seek out a consultation at a clinic that maintains a high standard of success. Millions worldwide have undergone a treatment, however not being able to tell is truly a measure of its successfulness, a standard that continues to be met at Alexia Cosmetic Clinic.
For more information call +20233384714 or +201285422250, or visit 51 Demashk Street, Mohandeseen, Cairo, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.