But Iraqis still prefer to travel abroad for plastic surgery if they can afford it, according to Dr. Qassim Hussein Salih, the head and founder of the Iraqi Psychological Association. “Iraqis are still steadily traveling abroad for cosmetic surgery despite the rising numbers of beauty salons and clinics in Baghdad and the provinces,” Salih told Al-Monitor, explaining that confidence in Iraqi beauty clinics is still low.
One of the main reasons for cosmetic surgery among women is the desire to increase prospects for a good marriage, he said. But he finds the line blurred between utilitarian and psychological motivations, explaining, “Some men and women have certain facial and physical features that make them feel less confident and push them to seek social acceptance and self-approval [through cosmetic surgery].”
Salih also cited other psychological issues, such as the obsession with beauty that is boosted by celebrities and other role models as well as depression and dissatisfaction with other aspects of daily life.
While at one time such operations were “restricted to specialized doctors with high technical skills and credibility,” according to Salih, the growing beauty business has prompted nonexperts to enter this lucrative sector and perform injections and minor operations.