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Washington Post Examines Increase in Minorities Seeking Cosmetic Surgery

The number of minorities obtaining cosmetic medicine procedures has increased in recent years, the Washington Post reports. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, while white women still are the highest consumers of cosmetic medicine procedures, the number of blacks, Hispanics and Asians seeking such services has increased significantly in the last five years. In 2002, minorities accounted for 16% of plastic surgery patients, compared with 23% last year, according to ASPS data.

Many of the patients are seeking procedures such as rhinoplasty or liposuction, while others are 'seeking treatments that seek to enhance -- not obscure -- their racial or ethnic characteristics,' the Post reports.

The Post featured Washington, D.C.-based Cultura Medical Spa, one of the first centers to focus on the growing field of 'ethnic plastic surgery.' Two-thirds of Cultura's patients are minorities and many are black women.

Eliot Battle -- a laser treatment expert, who along with Monte Harris, a board-certified otolaryngologist, founded the center six years ago -- said laser hair removal a decade ago was not designed for people with darker skin tones because of scarring. Treating minority skin requires additional training. New lasers -- such as ones Battle helped develop -- enable surgeons to 'treat the darkest African and Indian skin safely,' Battle said.

Experts attribute the increase of minorities seeking cosmetic medicine services to a rise in disposable income and a growth in minority plastic surgeons who can provide culturally sensitive care, the Post reports. Harris said, 'Half the world's going to be brown-skinned by 2050. We're not going to close our eyes to all those patients'.


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