During my trip to the Emirates, I happened to come across an article about the increased demand for cosmetic surgery; it has significantly increased by over 100% since last year in Dubai!

…I read that in silence, and sat there pondering.

It reminded me of the Great Wisdom of Allah in the rulings of Islam and the benefits achieved for His slaves because one of the causes, as suggested by the article, which leads people to seek cosmetic surgery is a mental condition called BDD (Body Dysmorphic Disorder) – but alHamdulillah, as I see it, Islam has cut the root cause of this mental ailment,

Read below more about this disease and its symptoms, and learn how Islam has encouraged a healthy balance of beatification between negligence and obsession!

Also read below when parents should be concerned and what parents should do to keep kids away from this Mental Illness.


Imagined Ugliness?! ...a Mental Ailment!


What’s BDD?

A person suffering from BDD can’t stop thinking about a flaw with his/her appearance.

“The illness is something been called ‘Imagined Ugliness’ and when you have BDD, you intensely obsess over your appearance and body image, and you seek out aesthetic procedures to try to ‘fix’ your perceived flaws, but never will be satisfied.” explains Dr. Tara Wyne, Clinical Physiologist at the Light House Arabia Clinic.

Lack of confidence due to this feeling of not looking good; the individual may suffer from insomnia, depression, irritation and may altogether shun socializing.

“These could be concerns such as fat which is not at all apparent, shape of the nose or breast size.” points out Dr. Raj Kumar Gang, Senior Cosmetic Surgeon in Bahrain.

Face lifts, tummy tucks, breast enlargement or reduction – the procedures are endless, but no amount of surgeries make them feel better; it’s an addiction!

“Those who have already had an implant may wish to go even bigger and even minor procedures such as lip filler….” says Dr. Ahli, Consultant Plastic Surgeon at Dermalase Clinic.

“Yet, most BDD sufferers, especially those who remain un-diagnosed, fail to recognize that their problem originates in the brain…” says Dr. Wyne.

They seek out surgery assuming that the surgeon will correct them – thereby magically transforming their lives.

“People who suffer from BDD are rarely satisfied with the outcomes of their surgeries. They often obsess over scars, or they may be driven to near-madness over the slightest asymmetry of the result, whilst others shift their focus to another perceived defect that was not adjusted by the surgery.” she says.


Imagined Ugliness?! ...a Mental Ailment!


Although, surgery is permissible in cases of deformity; Islam’s prohibition of any change in the creation of Allah encourages being satisfied and content with one’s appearances without obsessing about it – and at same time, one should not completely neglect one’s personal grooming.

“Allah is beautiful and loves beauty.” said the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). See, Saheeh Muslim.

Abul-Ahwas al-Jashami reported that the Prophet saw him wearing old, tattered clothes.

“Do you have any wealth?” asked the Prophet.

“Yes.” I replied.

“What kind of wealth?” he inquired.

“All that Allah has given me of camels and sheep.” I informed.

“Then show the generous blessings that He has given you.”

- [Sahih: Related by Ahmad #15323, at-Tirmidhi #1929 and an-Nisa'i #5128]


a healthy balance of beatification between negligence and obsession!


For the Parents!

…and this positive attitude is what we need to inculcate in our daughters and sons too (!) because this problem is not only found in women, rather “Men are more preoccupied with their genitals, height, hair and body whereas women show more concern about weight, breasts, hips and legs.” says Dr. De Melo.

“Ultimately, there’s no sure way to prevent BDD as it often starts at adolescence,” Dr. De Melo says, “(but) Identifying children at risk of the condition, and starting treatment early may be beneficial.” symptoms include, compulsively checking the mirror, constantly adjusting one’s outward appearance by applying and re-applying cosmetics, picking at the skin, etc.

We, the parents need to take steps to control anxiety in our kids, by increasing their resilience and  boosting their self-esteem, and teaching them a positive and healthy balance – because apart from images in the media of perfect women (who have been touched up with clever use of make-up and computer software to a degree that is completely unrealistic!), what also contributes to this ailment is the parenting style; parents who either place excessive emphasis on aesthetic appearance or disregard it altogether.