By Safura Rahimi
Singer Nancy Ajram is the most common role model for those considering cosmetic surgery.
A survey by Dove has found that 37% of Arab girls between the ages of 15 and 17 would consider cosmetic surgery in the near future, a figure that reveals a generational shift in the way women in the region perceive beauty.
In comparison, only 27% of women between the ages of 18 and 64 would consider undergoing the procedures.
Dove representatives are in Dubai this week for a roundtable discussion with key industry experts to discuss the local relevance of its global Campaign For Real Beauty.
The campaign aims to change current perceptions of beauty and offer a healthier and more ‘democratic' view instead.
"Following the launch of the award winning campaign in the Arab world last year, we are continuing to spread the message of real beauty in the Arab region," said Rola Tassabehji, Dove's corporate communications manager at Unilever Middle East.
The Dove study - in collaboration with research consulting firm StrategyOne - was conducted among 3,300 girls and women aged 15 to 64 in ten countries, including Saudi Arabia.
Teenage girls coming in for plastic surgery don't see the procedures as dangerous, as women over 30 tend to view cosmetic surgery, said plastic surgeon Dr. Buthainah Al-Shunnar.
They see it as a simple procedure that is a real option which they are aggressive about, she said.
In Dubai, the lines of plastic surgeons along the city's shopping strips attest to the popularity of cosmetic surgery in the emirate.
The procedures are also in demand in other countries in the region, including Iran, where the country has become one of the world's leading centres for cosmetic surgery since the 1979 Revolution.
There are three thousand plastic surgeons operating in Tehran alone.
"In some Arab countries, it is becoming a status symbol to wear the nose bandage that follows plastic surgery," Dr. Shunnar said.
"Women are undertaking this surgery to look like the celebrities they admire; Nancy Ajram is the most common request."
The study also found that 63% of Arab women feel threatened by beauty ideals portrayed in the media, while nine out of ten Arab females revealed they are unhappy with their physical appearance.