Two case histories are given of female patients, presenting as a main feature of their illness their obsession that their beauty is being destroyed by some disease. This symptom is regarded as part of a hypochondriacal syndrome, since both these patients also showed strong suicidal tendencies. Furthermore, in both cases the symptoms appear to be clearly related to existing mental conflicts and they both have a neurotic personality structure considered here as a characteristic of this syndrome.
It is surprising that this type of hypochondriasis, which could perhaps be aptly called 'beauty-hypochondriasis', is not seen more of ten, in view of the universal occurrence of narcissistic conflict material. Yet, a closer consideration reveals that our relation to our own appearance is paradoxical in that the countenance is the expression of the inner self, but at the same time is also a mask.