Is Beauty Only Skin Deep?

Is Beauty Only Skin Deep?

By: Holly L. Thacker, MD • Posted on September 16, 2012


Beauty Is More Than Skin Deep

Many of us remember our grandmothers’ admonishing our younger selves saying that “Beauty is only skin deep!”

This statement was to assert that external beauty is superficial and evanescent and thus truly not deep or meaningful. Having strong, older women mentor younger women to focus on personal characteristics and not physical characteristics is admirable. However, even when we intuitively know this, the attraction to physical and aesthetic qualities of beauty remains powerful.

Everywhere women turn, we are bombarded with messages about:

  • Beauty
  • Fashion
  • Sleek physiques
  • New skin products
  • New hair products
  • New body care products

A young ideal is popularized and unfortunately, we are seeing record numbers of women, both young and mature, with eating disorders that can be deadly.

Importance of Beauty Health for Women

When I began my medical career, I admit, I was a bit put off by my female patients regularly asking me about beauty and cosmetic issues. After all, here I was a fully trained, newly minted physician armed with expertise to diagnose and treat serious medical conditions. Don't hormonal disorders, heart attacks, female cancers, osteoporosis and bleeding disorders all seem to surely overshadow concerns over dry skin, aging skin, sagging skin, lack of luster, thin hair, stretch marks and short eyelashes? However, we all can identify with the statement, "I am having a bad hair day!"

Over time, I came to understand that how one looks translates in part to how one feels and how one feels translates into how one looks and all of that translates into health and wellness. Furthermore, women believe that women’s health physicians should know all about women’s concerns, even apparently cosmetic ones. Learning more about dermatology, especially with respect to skin aging, hair and nails, plastic surgery (both elective as well as restorative) and medical cosmetics is a part of health and wellness. Helping a person to feel comfortable in their own skin at all stages of life is vital.

Looking Good and Feeling Good

Dianne Dunkelman

This beautiful marriage of medical expertise with beauty, health and wellness expertise was exemplified by the vision of the Speaking of Women's Health founder, Dianne Dunkelman. Lady Di, as she is affectionately referred to, understood the critical interrelationship of looking good and feeling good. And girl, does she look good! She developed an internal and external beautiful program that went ‘viral’ empowering women to “Be Strong, Be Healthy, and Be in Charge”.

In 2008, Ms. Dunkelman gifted the Speaking of Women’s Health national program to the Cleveland Clinic Center for Specialized Women’s Health as she moved on to focus on children’s health through Clever Crazes for Kids where the focus is on childhood. Important lifelong health habits need to begin with our youth. Self-esteem and confidence begin in childhood and affect how we view ourselves as we grow older.

All part of pulchritude:

  • Radiance
  • Strength
  • Wisdom
  • Vision
  • Glamor
  • Wit
  • Style
  • Intelligence

And yes, Grandmother, beauty is actually more than skin deep!

-Dr. Holly L. Thacker

Holly L. Thacker, MD, FACP is nationally known for her leadership in women’s health. She is the founder of the Cleveland Clinic Women’s Health Fellowship and is currently the Professor and Director of the Center for Specialized Women’s Health at Cleveland Clinic and Lerner College of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Thacker is also the Executive Director of Speaking of Women’s Health and the author of The Cleveland Clinic Guide to Menopause. Her special interests and areas of research including menopause and related medical problems including osteoporosis, hormone therapy, breast cancer risk assessment, menstrual disorders, female sexual dysfunction and interdisciplinary women’s health.


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