The New Face and Body of Plastic Surgery in L.A.

A few words on our October cover story

Photographs by Jeff Lipskey

We all have fine lines. There are the “parentheses” bracketing our mouths, the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup crinkles deepening between the eyes, the Saturn rings encircling the neck. But the finest line is the one we draw in the sand. It’s the one that defines what we’re willing to do—and what we’re not—to look (and stay) attractive, whether it’s prolonging our youth or enhancing our bodies. For most of us—that is, we noncelebrity mortals whose livelihoods aren’t overtly determined by our looks—that line used to be as solid as concrete: No freaking way. Plastic surgery is scary, it’s expensive, it involves sharp edges and bloody bandages. Worst of all, it doesn’t work. You can always tell who’s got the stretched face and the jobbed boobs—always!

Except these days you often can’t. Because plastic surgery is at a turning point. The term has become shorthand for any artificial modification to the face and body, and in fact includes a spectrum of scalpel-free cosmetic procedures that has changed the meaning of “having work done.” Particularly in Los Angeles—the eye of the needle—lunch-hour nip-tucks and Groupon discounts for Botox have democratized, even normalized, plastic surgery. Cheaper treatments and improved results have increased the gravitational pull for the masses; it is no longer the vain indulgence of a Beverly Hills matron. That once-fine line gets redrawn, from “never” to “never say never.” Maybe not for you, but well, never say never.