Thu, Feb 07, 2013 - Page 12 News List

Suffering for beauty

In a nation that has a long history of pursuing beauty as an ideal, many will go to extreme lengths to improve their looks. One hospital reports seeing up to 300 patients a month for penis treatments gone wrong

By Apilaporn Vechakij  /  AFP, BANGKOK

It is an image of desirability reinforced by the legions of models and actors who adorn Bangkok’s billboards and star in the country’s wildly popular television dramas.

For the city’s strutting elite, known as Hi-Sos (High Society), more upmarket treatments are widely available, for the right price.

Anywhere between US$13,000 and US$200,000 will pay for gold thread face implants, a tradition apparently stretching back to ancient Egypt which its adherents believe tightens and brightens the skin.

Speaking at a upmarket Bangkok clinic, husband and wife Patcharat and Itsaraporn Rattanasuthaphaboon said they have both undergone the costly procedure.

“I used to have wrinkles and dry skin under my eyes but it has been a lot better since I did it last time,” said 51-year-old Itsaraporn.

“It’s okay by me,” her husband said. “I just want my wife to look good.”

The treatment involves strips of near-pure gold being sewn into the skin forming a mesh which stimulates the body to produce collagen, thus keeping the skin supple, says Maciej Lichaj, a Polish gold thread aesthetician at the clinic.

“People in Asia love gold ... they want to have gold outside and inside,” he explained, adding the results can be seen within months.

But not everyone is convinced by the scramble to be young, fair-skinned and beautiful.

“People don’t have to be white to be beautiful — good personality, having knowledge and other capacities are much more important,” Professor Suwirakorn said. “It’s better to have beauty from within.”

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