C&H Weekly

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Perception Drift in Cosmetic Dermatology

One of the biggest concerns our patients share is the worry that the results of a cosmetic dermatology treatment won’t look natural. In fact, natural-looking results are a core principle of our approach and philosophy at Carruthers & Humphrey — but beyond making gradual changes with conservative programs, what does that really mean?

Defining “natural” in the context of an altered physical appearance is complicated. In a recent article for the ASDS, Drs. Sabrina Fabi and Charles Sola examined perception drift bringing the true complexities — and concerns — around this topic to light.

Consider a patient who has unwanted fat in the submental region treated. After the course of their treatment, they’re happy with the contours of their lower face, only to recognize that their cheeks are looking hollow and don’t have enough volume.  Once they restore natural volume to their cheeks, they decide their lips now look thin by comparison. This patient is exhibiting perception drift: their perception of themselves is changing as problems are addressed, making them feel continually dissatisfied.

Despite being so common among cosmetic dermatology patients, perception drift is concerning. In their paper, Drs. Fabi and Sola identify how this mindset can lead to a patient becoming overly focused on their perceived flaws and unable to process their appearance accurately.

It’s for reasons like perception drift, that a customized 360°program is so imperative. Approaching the face with a la carte treatments can lead to unnatural results, especially if the patient is seeing multiple physicians. Similarly, not having a long-term plan in place can lead to unforecasted results as various treatments and therapies are combined and impact one another. An expert who truly understands — and cares about— your lifestyle, concerns, and anatomical makeup, can build you a combination treatment program that makes your goals feel attainable — not like moving targets.

At Carruthers & Humphrey, our primary aim is always to make our patients feel like the best version of themselves, regardless of age or imperfections. Learn more about our unique approach to cosmetic dermatology, and how a 360°plan can help you achieve your goals.

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