Changes in what it is to be beautiful have long had an impact on the health of people of all ages and colors. One of the greatest challenges is making sure that, as you strive to maintain good health, you don’t move into damaging or destructive habits that cause long-term harm to your body, your mind or your self-esteem. Finding balance in your activities, diet and cosmetic choices can be difficult.
How beauty standards have changed through ages
While excess thinness was once a sign of ill health and often associated with illnesses such as tuberculosis or consumption, excess weight is now considered to be not only unhealthy but unattractive. Of course, the opposite side of this coin is the risk of eating disorders, from bulimia to anorexia.
Often, beauty standards harm by placing a requirement on how much space we get to use in the world. The history of the corset, for example, demonstrates the damage of not allowing abdominal space for organs and growing children. It should also be noted that long-term corset use led to many women suffering from fragile spinal bones; in a corset, you have no chance to develop core muscles.
For men, beauty was often related to physical fitness. A childhood spent learning to wrestle led to training in weapons, which led to an often brief life as a warrior. Not only could this lead to permanent damage and disfigurement to the boy or man, but it set many men up with the mindset the connection had to be tied to competition. The history of male physical fitness was one of conquest and led to an unhealthy isolation.
Beauty and health: Trends that were harmful for the health of men and women
While men in the Elizabethan courts had to be wear rouge to appear rosy and healthy, men moved away from the cosmetics counter over time to a place in society that frowned upon any cosmetic preparation at all. Sadly, this left many men feeling that skincare in general was taboo.
Ancient skincare practices included whitening the skin with a mixture of egg whites and lead. While this sounds primitive and almost laughable, it should be noted that the women of today face the same poison. Mercury is found in many skin creams and lead is found in lipstick in surprising numbers.
What is happening in our days in men and women
The spread of soccer has done a great deal to level the financial playing field for many children. While not all schools or communities can find the dollars for a youth football league, children and adults are enjoying soccer outings for fun and competition. At one time adult athletes once wound up switching to solo practices, such as jogging, simply for fitness. Adult rec games and even tournaments allow those who enjoy competition to continue to play and push themselves.
The food we eat has become a science and the focus is on the best nutritional choices for our bodies now and for our brains in the future. Overall, this is an extremely healthy trend. It is still possible to engage in extreme dietary choices, and the no or extreme low-carb diet options are somewhat concerning.
As baby boomers seek to reduce the risk of muscle loss over time, there are some dangerous Growth Hormone gels scams, oral supplements and even injectables that have cropped up. The fundamental truth of HGH is this: If you are suffering from an HGH deficiency that is not part of the natural waning as produced by your body, you need blood testing to make sure your pituitary gland is functioning normally. HGH gels scam or legit, in any way can be extremely dangerous if you have not been tested and the practitioner giving you the product is not supervised by an endocrinologist.
Dissatisfaction in our appearance can lead to isolation and depression. Depression can be fatal. For those with existing conditions that put their physical appearance outside the norm, from facial differences to dwarfism, exposure to the world can be harsh and cruel. Recent data on the dangers of isolation are doing a great deal to boost the understanding of just how destructive “lookism” can be, but we have a long way to go.
While makeup for men was once taboo, the normalization of proper skincare for men is reducing their risk of sun damage over time. Many men are also using some simple makeup products to boost their confidence and raise their sense of personal attractiveness. For women, a slackening of the need for polish is making it easier to move about in the world without all the finishing touches. From athleisure wear to the benefits of the messy bun, progress is being made.
How to keep health and attractiveness and stay yourself
It’s important to review how much of your life you spend at the end of the selfie stick. Comparison culture can put far too much pressure on your enjoyment of life. It’s also a good idea to take a look at what makes you guilty. Are certain foods good or bad? Can you change your activities up to enjoy more motion without engaging in destructive or repetitive movements? Finally, can you find a way to engage in healthy habits with others that feature collaboration instead of competition?
Evolution of healthcare and beauty standards: Conclusions
Overall, progress is being made. Changes in the promoted standard of what is beautiful are slowly moving from Barbie and Ken toward something healthier and more logical. Culturally, we have work to do to make sure that destructive community patterns like food deserts are better managed. Fitness and food must be accessible.