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Dr. Ali Kerim Diler, who pioneered the establishment and development of medical aesthetics in Turkey, emphasises that the field does not aim to completely

eliminate flaws. On the contrary, Diler believes that beauty cannot exist without flaws, and that the best thing to pursue is not the socially- enforced image of perfection, but the “self that looks best.”

You’re one of the pioneers of medical aesthetics in Turkey. Can you tell us a bit about this concept?

Medical aesthetics is a new branch of medicine which prefers nonsurgical methods to establish a psycho-physical balance with one’s appearance, which is a part of human health. It covers a wide range of areas from preventing hair loss to face rejuvenation, getting rid of wrinkles to achieving firmer skin, treating spots and marks to volumising and Botox practises, and even for losing weight, treating cellulitis, and getting rid of unwanted hair. In the last 25 years, technology has witnessed a great advancement in terms of both materials which add volume to soft tissue and fill the wrinkles and lines and biomedical devices. Nonsurgical methods don’t always offer results that are as result as surgery; however, it provides small touches which make the patient both feel and look good. Another thing is that they’re not as costly as surgical operations. Even a concise treatment during lunch break can make you look three or five years younger. This discipline uses the scientific data from fields of dermatology, plastic surgery, endocrinology, gynaecology, psychology, and physiotherapy. For instance, someone comes and complains about abdominal fat; however, the real problem is in their posture. So, we advise them to take up Pilates or yoga to train those muscles and to learn how to use them. Medical aestheticians should coordinate all these aspects. They should examine the patient, determine what they can do for treatment, and get help from experts in other fields when necessary.

What attracted you to this field?

Many years ago, when I was at primary school, I knew I would study medicine and become a doctor. This idea didn’t change when I started high school. After graduating from the Italian High School, I studied at Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Medicine. During those years, I knew that I had this goal to make people happier. Because I was open to doing and learning new things and curious by nature, I heard about the field of medical aesthetics which was rather unknown in Turkey back then. What I wanted was a discipline which would blend the artistic training of the Italian High School, and my interest in technology and desire to touch people’s lives. I followed my own path, which took me all the way to Agora School of Aesthetics in Milan, the first and only medical school in Europe, where I had the chance to study under and work with the best in this field. I’m still a member of the Science Committee at the annual International Congress of Aesthetic Medicine in Milan.

Your job is about eliminating certain details about people which they dislike or regard as a flaw, isn’t it? What do you think is the basic instinct that drives people in this matter? Do you think humankind’s quest for perfection is a part of it?

Let me emphasise something first; how you look is not the most important thing in life. Those who force you to be perfect, or say that you should have a perfect body, hair, nose, and lips actually want to sell you something. Social media and its enforced look of perfection and idea of beauty lead to people thinking that they will be happy one day. It puts on makeup on people’s faces via filters and puts them on a virtual runway; it makes people feel the desire to display oneself and makes them believe that they can achieve it. The goal in aesthetics should never be about the complete elimination of flaws. I always aim to offer my patients the treatments which will make them look their best at their age. Beauty cannot exist without flaws. What you believe to be a flaw may be the source of your real beauty. When my patients say that they will be perfect if they had a button nose, long legs, silky hair, or shapely brows, I try to remind them that one’s true beauty is hidden in the details and, first and foremost, advise them to preserve what they have.

Can we say that authenticity is fading in current times when everyone is trying to look like one another?

Aesthetics is defined as the “art of imitating nature.” When I’m doing my job, I try to blend my knowledge and experience in medicine for 25 years with my interest in art. I grew up in a family of art enthusiasts, and this interest of mine grew stronger with my studies at the Italian High School. When my patients first come to me, I listen to them and tell them this: “I’ll try to abide by what you want but I always have the final say.” My goal here is to present them with treatments that won’t look exaggerated and will align with their natural look in a way to preserve their beauty, youth, and vitality for a long time. In short, if I believe the demands of my patients to be extreme, I tell them that I won’t do that but try and find a way to satisfy us both. Of course, I occasionally have some patients whom I cannot convince and refer to a psychiatrist. As I mentioned before, medical aesthetics aims to establish a psycho-physical balance.

The understanding of beauty is always about celebrating perfection. Although there are universal concepts of beauty such as the golden ratio, how realistic is it to aim for perfection?

Perfection should never be a goal; you should first believe in your own potential. Wrinkles around the eyes or a body that bends over the years are the details that make us who we are. Our flaws are what make us unique. I don’t know how

possible it can be but I suggest you aim for a kind of beauty which is not affected by social enforcement and lets you “look your best self.”

What are the latest popular trends in the world of aesthetics and beauty?

A thin, V-shaped face with a distinctive chin and cheekbones, slightly slanted almond eyes, small and perfect-looking noses, angular and characteristic brows, and of course, full lips are among the current trends but I don’t really like them very much. In terms of treatment, there are cryolipolysis which aims to eliminate fat by freezing; electromagnetic stimulation treatments that shape and strengthen muscles; new versions of concentrated soundwave treatments, and stem cell regeneration treatments. In this regard, I declare 2022 to be the “year of regeneration.”

Are there any aesthetic operations particularly preferred by Gen Z? What are the most popular treatments they prefer?

First of all, Gen Z desires perfect skin. What they want is to get rid of the acne marks and other roughness on their skin. Lip shaping is another popular trend preferred by the new generation; they want not only volume but distinct lines. They prefer angular brows, big almond eyes, prominent cheekbones, and a triangular face like the celebrities they see in pictures. We try to present them with not exactly what they want but what can be sensible by using specially developed volumisers and toxins.

Creativity requires a free spirit. Considering how you’ve “recreated” many people over the years, can we say that you’re free-spirited as well?

I wouldn’t call it creating; maybe it could be imagining, designing, and realising a vision. I think my profession requires an artistic perspective rather than a free spirit. Human face and body is to me what a canvas is to a painter and a piece of clay or a block of marble to a sculptor. The only difference is that what I have in front of me is not a blank canvas or an amorphous piece of clay; it’s an individual at a certain age and with their own social status and role. My approach needs to be compatible with their role, position, profession, social environment, and most importantly, their character. I have to find a way to make them look less tired, less sad, less saggy, or less angry and younger, more attractive, more feminine or masculine, or thinner or wider.

When was the last time you felt truly free?

I feel free if I’m healthy and can walk around and breathe freely. I’d call myself free if I could do those and do the job I love.


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