Hispanic Women Beauty Standards and Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Trends


Natalia Casas, Staff Writer

Natalia Casas is a bilingual (English-Spanish) writer whose work has appeared in magazines and on websites across Latin America and the United States. Her areas of expertise include fashion, health, lifestyles, travel, and self-improvement. She is a professional English-to-Spanish translator and holds a mass communication and journalism degree from Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana in Medellín, Colombia.

December 21 2007

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Luisa Franco-Umana, today a 26 year-old mother and wife, always wanted to have a different nose. She was content with the rest of her body, and along with the occasional diet, she exercised to maintain a good figure. One could say she met all the standards of Hispanic women's beauty: she had curves, an average weight for her 5-foot-5 frame, and a backside that had no reason to envy Jennifer Lopez's famous booty. 

At 25, Luisa was ready to change the look of her nose. She didn't like the bump on the bridge of her nose, so she asked a cosmetic surgeon to smooth down the slope. That makes Luisa a part of the statistics that show that, since 2004, rhinoplasty , along with breast augmentation and liposuction, are the most common cosmetic procedures among Hispanic women in the United States, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). 

Data gathered by the ASPS indicates that Hispanics led all minority groups in the number of cosmetic procedures performed in 2005, reaching 921,000 procedures. In 2006, 22 percent of cosmetic surgeries were performed on patients from a minority group, and 10 percent of those were Hispanics or from Hispanic origin.

Famous Hispanic Body Curves

Although Latinas present anatomical diversity, depending on the area of Central and South America they come from, the standard Hispanic features include a voluptuous body, olive skin and dark hair. Along with Jennifer Lopez's booty, there are other famous Hispanic models and actresses that serve as references of beauty. Eva Mendez, Eva Longoria, Sofia Vergara, Shakira, and Salma Hayek are just a few of the women in the entertainment world whose looks are emulated not only by other Latinas, but also by women from many backgrounds. It's common for a surgeon to have patients come into consultation with a picture of a celebrity and say, "I want my boobs to be exactly like hers." 

What differentiates Latinas from other ethnic groups is that they don't want to attain the "perfect Barbie-doll" look, but do want to look young and sexy at any age. Youth and sensuality are very important components of the Hispanic culture, so any Latina will always strive to age gracefully and radiate sensuality. 

Vanity is not the only reason Hispanics undergo surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures. Years ago, finances were a concern, but as their economic power increases and the access to financing becomes easier, Hispanic men and women often add cosmetic plastic surgery to their wish list. On top of that, the pressure to always look sexy and flaunt sensuality doesn't come just from relatives, friends or neighbors. Look no further than a simple prime-time soap opera, a staple of the Hispanic culture: every girl looks healthy, young, tanned, and, of course, wears low-cut shirts and miniskirts. Even sports shows feature amazing women with perfect figures and well-pronounced curves that can make men nervous and women jealous.

Beyond Nose Jobs and Liposuction

In their search for eternal youth, Hispanics are also big consumers of minimally invasive cosmetic procedures. The ASPS reports that Botox®, microdermabrasion, and injectable wrinkle fillers are commonly requested by Hispanic patients all over the country. "My mom has had Botox done, but I think I'm too young for that," says Luisa Franco-Umana. "But I'm sure I'll be into that once I'm at least 35 or 40." 

With increasing numbers of Hispanics opting for cosmetic procedures, news of fake doctors opening small clinics have also become more common. That's why it's very important for Hispanic patients to see beyond the language barrier and not only look for cosmetic plastic surgeons who can speak Spanish or have Spanish-speaking staff at their offices, but also to check his or her credentials and opt for board-certified surgeons, who can deliver the results they want.