Did you know that even a poor chambermaid or a struggling housewife living in Brazil, is entitled to free cosmetic surgery? The philosophy behind the more than 220 clinics across Brazil that treat thousands of maids, receptionists, waitresses and others is simply that beauty is a right that belongs equally to the poor and the affluent.
The Brazilian Society of Aesthetic Medicine’s Rio clinic has performed free procedures on more than 14,000 patients since its founding in 1997.
Beauty treatments such as free Botox, chemical peels and laser hair removal may at first seem shockingly frivolous in a country which, despite phenomenal economic growth in recent years, still battles some basic diseases such as tuberculosis and dengue.
Surgeons argue, and apparently have convinced the government, that good looks have a more than skin deep effect, and by treating what patients view as physical flaws, doctors are often also healing their psyches, bolstering their self-esteem. The notion that beauty treatments can help free patients from crippling neuroses, was pioneered over many decades by celebrated Brazilian plastic surgeon Ivo Pitanguy, now 85 years of age.