January 17, 2019

Cosmetic Procedures and the Jewish Community: Yay or Nay?

In today’s rapidly changing world, one individual’s decision has enough power to change the collective opinion on any given topic. This is true of cosmetic procedures, as well, as more and more people are opting to have something done to their face or body, in order to postpone the signs of aging. Everyone is free to do as they please when their own body is at stake. But what do you do when religion is involved?

The Judaic faith, for example, does hold the belief that our bodies are not our personal property per se and that they should not have tampered with just out of aesthetic concerns. However, not all cosmetic procedures are created equal and opinions in the Jewish community may vary accordingly. Let us look at some of the most popular cosmetic interventions and see which of them may be frowned upon:

1. Anti-Wrinkle Injections


There was a time when the press exposed some very well-preserved faces in Hollywood as having been done with Botox. Otherwise known as botulinum toxin, Botox is a popular anti-wrinkle injection that has gained popularity across the globe precisely due to the fact that it is a non-invasive intervention, whose effects are quickly noticeable.

These anti-wrinkle injections typically act as an inhibitor of the impulses sent from the brain’s nervous system, that controls the movement of muscles. The muscles are completely relaxed in under two weeks and can remain like that for three to eight months. For anywhere from $200-$400, you can easily opt for an around-the-eye treatment or a frown-line procedure. To this end, although this is a non-invasive procedure, you’d better talk to your rabbi if you are on the fence regarding it.

2. Microdermabrasion


This procedure is like the exfoliation you do at home but on a larger and more efficient scale. It literally removes dry skin and trapped oil, by exfoliating it and vacuuming it away. The results are also a bit more long-lasting than your average at-home facial scrub – you can expect to look and feel more radiant for up to three weeks. With microdermabrasion, there is no pain involved and you can expect it to be a relatively affordable procedure, depending on where you go. It’s safe to say that you can schedule an appointment for this procedure and be guilt-free about it!

3. Fillers


Fillers are exactly what their name suggests them to be. They are basically injectable substances that act as a substitute for collagen. Many women resort to this at a time in which their body’s production of natural collagen is at a lower rate than in previous years, leaving behind skin that has lost its volume.

These fillers are mostly used in the facial area and can both fill in lines and lift areas that are lacking that natural, youthful volume. The effects are immediate and can last anywhere from six months to up to a year. As with anti-wrinkle injections, we recommend speaking to your rabbi for your peace of mind.

4. Cosmetic Surgery


Cosmetic surgery comes in all forms – breast augmentation or reduction, liposuction, rhinoplasty, facelifts and so on. This one is the trickiest of them all, as it implies that you actually undergo surgery in order to change something about your appearance.

To this end, the Torah commands that one’s health and values are to be nurtured and maintained at all cost while mutilating one’s body is certainly a sin in the eyes of God. Throughout time, this view was challenged by some rabbis who claimed that as long as these so-called mutilations are not done with malice and to hurt oneself, they are passable acts that in the end will help you alleviate greater psychological pains.

Regarding delicate matters such as undergoing anti-aging treatments, there is no absolute right or absolute wrong when it comes to the moral integrity of your actions. If you abide by Judaic traditions and faith, make sure to pay a visit to your rabbi and ask for their opinion on what bothers you and what you’d like to have changed. Regardless of the outcome, what is certain is that you need to be at peace with yourself, both spiritually and personally.