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Cosmetic surgeon says ‘alienisation’ of patients is an ‘epidemic’

A cosmetic surgeon has warned against increasing numbers of patients becoming ‘alienised’ due to ‘distorted’ beauty standards promoted on social media.

Dr Steven Harris, who runs the Harris Clinic in Crouch End, north London, says that a warped appearance after poor filler treatment has become the ‘new normal’, and that the trend could cause ‘physical and psychological harm’. 

He said there is currently a ‘live and let live’ attitude amongst practitioners, but that cosmetic doctors have ‘a duty of care to first do no harm’ and that the ‘more is more’ approach is an ‘epidemic’. 

Sharing a series of images explaining how to identify badly placed filler on Instagram, he said that ‘alianisation’ is a result of patients being ‘brainwashed’ by a bombardment of normalising excessive plastic surgery.  

Dr Steven Harris, who runs the Harris Clinic in Crouch End, north London,  posted two shots of his sister, one where she looks as she normally does (left)  and another in which her face had been digitally altered to simulate the look and features that are common among those who have had too much or poor filler treatment (right)

He posted two shots of his sister, one of how her face appears normally and another where her face had been digitally altered to simulate the look and features that are common among those who have had too much or poor filler treatment.  

‘The term ‘alienisation’ refers to distortion of features outside the normal range for the individual so that it appears alien for that particular person’, he wrote. 

‘Some people present naturally with certain features in the simulation, but the problem is creating these in those who do not and making everyone look the same.’ 

The cosmetic doctor believes that alienisation is taking place due to both lack of regulations and ‘monetary gain or greed’ among practitioners. 

The doctor said the term 'alienisation' refers to distortion of features outside the normal range for the individual so that it appears alien for that particular person

The doctor said the term ‘alienisation’ refers to distortion of features outside the normal range for the individual so that it appears alien for that particular person 

The surgeon also shared a chart to describe specific distortions which can lead to an 'alienised' face and avoid overfilling your face

The surgeon also shared a chart to describe specific distortions which can lead to an ‘alienised’ face and avoid overfilling your face

He wrote: ‘There are many reasons for this and while the lack of regulations play an important role, distorted results can be found commonly amongst some of the most highly qualified practitioners. 

‘It would appear that while for example our knowledge and understanding of anatomy is increasing exponentially, this is at the expense of artistry which is grossly lacking in our industry.

‘The distortion of features often involves a More is More approach and so monetary gain or greed is an important factor to consider.’ 

How can you identify ‘alienisation’: Dr Harris reveals abbreviations to  help spot the trend 

The small letter ‘s’ – spread  

F – Forehead 

T – Temple

B – Brow, 

EL – Eyelid, 

N – Nose, 

TT – Tear Trough, PM=Palpebromalar Groove

C – Cheek

PA – Preauricular 

NL – Nasolabial Fold

P – Philtrum 

UL – Upper Lip

LL – Lower Lip

MC – Mental Crease

OC – Oral Commissure

PJ – Prejowl Sulcus

M – Mentu

J – Jaw

GA – Gonial Angle 

But Dr Harris also acknowledged that there has been a ‘perception drift’ in beauty standards, something he blames on ‘daily bombardment of abnormal images’ and on a rise in those suffering Body Dysmorphic Disorder. 

‘However, it is the case that many (both practitioners and patients) lack awareness and simply do not see’, he wrote. 

‘The reasons may be Perception Drift (the changes in perception of self after new treatment), brainwashing (from the daily bombardment of abnormal images, especially on social media), a lack of artistic acumen and image disorders such as Body Dysmorphic Disorder which in a small survey was found to be more common amongst practitioners.

‘It is important we understand all the reasons for this epidemic which is spreading at an alarming rate and fast becoming the New Normal. It is important because this will help us with damage limitation.’

Dr Harris says that ‘alienisation’ presents ‘significant risks’ to both the physical and emotional well being of patients.  

‘While there is the attitude to ‘live and let live’, we as aesthetic practitioners have a duty of care to first do no harm’, he wrote. 

‘Most of us (non-practitioners included) can see that we are in the midst of an epidemic of overfilled and distorted faces.

‘And while these features such as ‘Russian lips’ are unsustainable and will come to an end one day, this will take many years as the epidemic is spreading at an alarming rate.

‘So in the meantime, it is about damage limitation and this involves understanding alienisation – it’s root causes; how it has come about, how it is spreading and what can be done to minimise the damage.

‘As many people (both patients and practitioners) have lost the ability to see normal (and we will again explore the reasons why), I think it is important to have a classification system for alienisation which is what I will present this week.’

The surgeon also shared a chart to describe specific distortions which can lead to an ‘alienised’ face and avoid overfilling your face.  

He wrote: ‘Some people present naturally with certain features in the presented simulation, but the problem is creating these in others and making everyone look the same.

‘Alienisation is problematic because it is associated with greater risks to both the physical and psychological well-beings of our patients.

‘And as practitioners we have a duty of care to first, do no harm.’




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