Young adults and teens could be the new face of plastic surgery, according to 2015 stats from the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS).
In a survey of AAFPRS members, 64% of surgeons reported an increase in cosmetic surgery or injectable treatments in patients younger than 30 years of age. Survey data was collected between November 30 and December 17, 2015, and represents responses from 103 of the 744 members contacted for the survey.
Potential drivers are the ever-increasing social media and reality TV influences on millennials. In fact, 82% of the facial plastic surgeons who responded indicated that celebrities were a major influence in their patients’ decisions to have plastic surgery last year.
The power of social media and celebrities on young people’s decisions to have cosmetic surgery surprised even AAFPRS President Edwin Williams III, M.D.
“Young adult years can be highly impressionable, and the more they are inundated with celebrity images via social media or on television, the more they want to replicate the enhanced, re-touched images that are passed off as reality. We are definitely seeing a younger demographic than ever before seeking consultations and treatments with our members all over the country,” Dr. Williams tells Cosmetic Surgery Times.
NEXT: A Dose of Reality
A Dose of Reality
However, the reality of life is different than what it appears on reality TV, Dr. Williams cautions.
“… Younger patients should be advised to be careful not to go overboard too soon with injections. In fact, some procedures like overly plumped lips and a frozen forehead can actually age you beyond your years,” Dr. Williams points out in a AAFPRS press release.
Cosmetic surgery commoditization for procedures, including surgical but especially non-invasive options, is rising thanks to Groupon and other daily deal aggregators, as well as the prevalence of plastic surgery on TV, according to Dr. Williams.
This, too, has a dark side.
“When we see things like [Botox] offered in gyms and salons, or on-demand injectables through new apps, this runs the risk of de-medicalizing what truly are medical procedures that should be administered in a controlled environment by a highly trained healthcare professional,” he says.
There good news is that consumers are more informed than in the past. According to the survey, patients are primarily concerned with finding a qualified practitioner that they can trust. That’s followed by concerns for cost and visible results. Pain and discomfort was of the least concern.
The Future of Facial Plastic Surgery
AAFPRS members agree that the biggest trend for the future of facial plastic surgery is more emphasis on early maintenance starting in the twenties and thirties to avoid larger procedures and delay the need for cosmetic surgery, according to the press release.
Aesthetic physicians can use these and other industry findings to better market their practices, as outlined in a related story: Another association survey?
But marketing to such a young demographic can be tricky, Dr. Williams says.
“Quite honestly I have concerns about marketing to young adults and teenagers. It is a scientific fact that judgment does not develop until 23 or 24 years of age. This is a complex [issue]…,” he says.