There are probably as many different philosophies on the subject of portrait retouching as there are retouching techniques. It is my belief, as a portrait photographer, that I have an obligation to my client to create a portrait that is an accurate representation of their appearance.
The image on the left is completely unretouched. The image on the right was retouched using my standard post-processing workflow. As you can see, the skin has a great deal of textural detail, and does not appear plastic, waxy, or blurred. I have removed blemishes, such as acne, which are temporary; and reduced other features such as lines, under eye bags, spots and uneven color, to produce a portrait which is flattering and realistic representation of my actual appearance.
One of the things that I discuss at the initial consult, is post processing of the images. If the client has a particular feature that they don’t like, and want me to specifically address during the retouch, I will do my best to accommodate such a request.