Is 36 the new age of the cosmetic face?

One-face-fits-all surgery gives both younger and older women the same plumped look, says Anna Coogan

Anna Coogan

It's not the first time that Lindsay Lohan's unnatural appearance has raised serious speculation regarding the amount of cosmetic procedures that the 24-year-old Hollywood star may be having done.

Eva Wiseman in The Observer doesn't directly accuse the star of overdoing it with Botox and facial fillers, yet she doesn't hold back when she describes the sight of the Hollywood star at Paris Fashion Week with the following damning words: "She had a forehead so taut and shiny it looked like an iPhone 4. Her lips were inflated to the size of a melting Twix, and her cheekbones looked as if they were climbing her jaw in order to dive to their death."


Lohan doesn’t look so much older in the flesh, it seems, as she looks so far removed from a youthful woman that Wiseman goes on, “as she bounced down the catwalk, her hair streaming behind her, she seemed to have transcended age — she looked like lamb dressed as mutton dressed as duck”.

We can only assume the duck reference is referring to Lohan's inflated lips which are said to be down to cosmetic lip augmentation. Dr Kambiz Golchin of About Face Clinic at the Beacon Hospital in Dublin is familiar with this new phenomenon of young women having cosmetic procedures and ending up looking similar to older women who are having similar procedures, and the two are meeting in the middle.

He says: "It is not that young stars are technically ageing themselves, it is that they are getting the exact same features as older women who are trying to look younger, and so, by association, may appear to look older."

Another Hollywood example of this one-cosmetic-face-fits-all is Heidi Montag, who at age 24 has undergone more than 10 cosmetic procedures, including a boob job and buttocks augmentation, while reportedly her above-breasts surgery has included a mini brow lift, neck liposuction, chin reduction, otoplasty (pinning back of the ears), Botox (in the forehead and between the brows) and fat injections (in her cheeks, nasolabial folds, and lips).


However, when you reverse the digits in reality TV star Heidi's age, from 24 to 42, you come to the age that Kylie Minogue is -- and when you compare the faces of the two stars, they have remarkably similar smooth foreheads and fuller than full lips.

In fact, so similar do their features appear that you wouldn't necessarily know there is 18 years in the difference between their ages.

Foxrock resident Dr Golchin, who was educated at Wesley College and the Royal College of Surgeons, says he has come across this cloned cosmetic look at medical conferences. The cosmetic surgeon says: "I will see nurses, for example, and they will have the same massive lips, tiny noses and huge cheekbones which are unsightly. It is one look prescribed for all, and regardless of what their face looked like to begin with.

"I blame the surgeons who are aggressive in how they sell procedures, and who will give the same features to clients regardless of whether they are aged 25 or 45, and as a result we end up with women who all look the same, and, in some cases, over-done," he says.


Celebrity dermatologist Dr Gervaise Gerstner, who is based on Los Angeles, recently put the age of this one-face-fits-all at 36, when she said: "Some people wake up at 42 and realise they need to return to 36. But the people who end up looking best are those who have been planning it all along."

Yet while Demi Moore has succeeded in defying the hands of time, and looks 36 when in real life she is aged 48 -- with her youthful look reputed to be down to €200,000 worth of cosmetic surgery -- do young stars run the risk of ending up looking the same as her because of this uniform cosmetic face, and hence the same age as her?

Dr Golchin says: "I'm not seeing this look in Dublin, but in Europe you will see it in Paris and the south of France, and it is very much a Sydney look, and a New York look, as well as a Los Angeles look."

New York plastic surgeon Douglas Steinbrech recently told W magazine: "There's this new mentality that if you do not look a little fake, then the surgeon hasn't done his job. This used to be a more prevalent idea on the west coast, but now you walk up Madison Avenue and you see these young girls with that cloned, cougar-like face. Either they don't know what they look like, or they want to look like they've had something done."

Yet if 36 is the new 24 for stars such as Lindsay Lohan and Heidi Montag, are young Dublin women in danger of following this trend for a one-fits-all-cosmetic-face regardless of whether they are aged 26, 36 or 46?

Sandyford-based surgeon Dr Golchin says: "You can go into any upmarket city centre bar any Friday night and see young women who have over-done it. But you take a 56-year-old, for example, who wants to look 36, and there will always be something which gives her age away, and she will still be socialising with women her real age.

"And by the same token, it is still socially expected here that a young woman will look youthful and not 'done'," he says.