The history of beauty is as old as mankind itself – throughout history people have tried to improve their attractiveness and to enhance their beauty. The ancient Egyptians had already been using animal oils, salt, alabaster, and sour milk to aesthetically improve the skin.

 Although philosophers such as Plato or Imanuel Kant tried to define the term ‘beauty’, a universally valid definition remains elusive. Nowadays, study results show that key properties, such as clarity, symmetry, harmony and vivid color, are elements of an attractive and beautiful appearance. 

However, appearance is the most public part of the self and therefore men and women both try to improve their (apparent) imperfections with the intention to increase their self-perception and quality of life.

The market for cosmetic surgery and aesthetic treatments is booming. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) the overall number of cosmetic procedures has increased by 197 percent since the tracking of the statistics first began in 1997 through 2011. 

In 2011 in the US, almost 9.2 million cosmetic surgical and nonsurgical procedures were performed. The technical basis for many of these procedures like lipoplasty, breast augmentation or rhinoplasty was initiated more than a hundred years ago and evolved to the modern standards of today.

The aim of this article is to recall the early days of aesthetic medicine and to show the swift progress up to a highly specialized medical discipline of our modern time. Therefore, a comprehensive literature review was conducted to identify the first published articles for pioneering aesthetic treatments from the beginning of the 19th century down to present day.




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