Likelihood of Undergoing Cosmetic Surgery (2)

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Cosmetic Surgery - Gen X

Factors that motivate Gen Xers to undergo modern-day aesthetic interventions to achieve their self-optimization goals include the availability of information, increased acceptance of cosmetic surgery, technological advancements, health benefits attributed to some procedures, and affordability. Here is a detailed summary of these factors.

The Availability of Information

  • A report by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) showed that most Americans who procured cosmetic surgery services in 2018 were Gen X (49%). According to Dr. Dennis Schimpf, increased availability of information about cosmetic surgery procedures and related products could be a key motivator why this age group takes up aesthetic interventions to achieve their self-optimization goals.
  • This information is readily available through TV commercials, ads on both digital and print media, literature from experts as well as news features of new procedures in the industry.

Increased Acceptance of Cosmetic Surgery

  • In 2018, Gen X patients who undertook cosmetic surgery procedures in the U.S. accounted for a 1% increase from 2017 statistics. Also, experts predict that Gen Xers who undertook cosmetic surgery in their teenage years are now going for additional procedures to improve their appearance.
  • Studies indicate that the perception of cosmetic surgery among Gen X has changed. Most Gen Xers view cosmetic surgery as an acceptable option to improve their appearance and are therefore motivated to take up modern-day aesthetic interventions to achieve self-optimization goals.

Technological Advancements

  • Research shows that advancement in surgical procedures is one of the key drivers of the cosmetic surgery industry. This has led to the adoption of cosmetic minimally-invasive procedures which have added benefits to patients such as less scarring, bleeding, reduced hospital time, and reduced trauma on organs.
  • Statistics show that cosmetic minimally-invasive procedures are more popular among Gen X patients (51%) than traditional cosmetic surgery procedures (31%).
  • The most popular cosmetic minimally-invasive procedures among Gen Xers include Botulinum toxin type A (57%), Soft tissue fillers (49%), Chemical peel (42%), and Laser hair removal (36%).

Health Benefits

  • According to Healthline, some cosmetic surgery procedures come with health benefits. For instance, Botox can be used as a remedy for ill health conditions such as migraines, excessive sweating, and Bell’s palsy. On the other hand, breast reduction alleviates back pain and disc problems among women.
  • Patients who undergo weight loss usually have excess skin which makes them susceptible to severe rashes and infections. This can be corrected through cosmetic procedures such as tummy tuck.
  • These procedures are some popular aesthetic interventions among Gen Xers for achieving self-optimization goals. For instance, Breast lift (Mastopexy) accounted for 39% of all Breast augmentation procedures performed on Gen X patients in 2018.
  • Tummy tuck (Abdominoplasty) accounted for 42% of cosmetic surgery procedures undertaken by Gen X patients in the same year. Furthermore, 57% of cosmetic minimally-invasive surgeries performed on this age group were Botulinum toxin type A procedures, which include Botox. These statistics indicate that resultant health benefits are some factors that motivate Gen X to undergo cosmetic surgery.


  • Experts argue that the advent of non-invasive surgery procedures has brought down the price of cosmetic surgery. They reiterate that the cost of cosmetic surgery is lower than it was in the last decade.
  • Other factors that contribute affordability of cosmetic surgery among Gen X patients include increased income and financing options, including health insurance on selected procedures.
  • Statistics show that in 2018, 7,229,099 Gen X patients opted for cosmetic minimally-invasive procedures which are cheaper than traditional invasive cosmetic surgery methods. This represented 51% of all cosmetic surgeries performed in the U.S. during this period. These numbers clearly show that affordability is a key motivator among Gen Xers to take up modern-day medical interventions to achieve their self-optimization goals.
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Cosmetic Surgery - Millenials

Since 2013, the number of cosmetic procedures has increased by 47%, and out of these, surgeons have reported an increase in patients who are under the age of 30. Some factors that motivate Millennials to undergo modern-day medical or aesthetic interventions in order to achieve their self-optimization goals include social media usage, fixation with self-care, advances in technology, celebrity influence, and affordability of the procedures.

Increased Use of Social Media

Fixation with Self-Care

  • According to USA Today, there is an increasing number of patients who consider cosmetic surgery to correct minor flaws “guided by the interpretation of their selfies.” In 2017, 55% of facial cosmetic surgeons reported that they saw patients in their 20s and 30s who wanted to look better in selfies.

Advances in Technology

Celebrity and Influencers’ Perception

  • Another factor that motivates millennials to consider cosmetic surgery is the desire to look like their favorite celebrities. According to Chernoff, it is not uncommon for a millennial to come for consultation with the aim of looking like a particular celebrity.
  • The desire for millennials to look perfect today is fueling the demand for cosmetic surgery. The main objective of this perfection is to emulate the appearance of a celebrity. According to Facial Plastics Atlanta, 20-somethings are motivated by celebrities such as Kim Kardashian who post on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms.
  • The Glamour Magazine also reported that celebrities play a part in influencing the rise of cosmetic surgery among millennials. Attractive names such as Kyler Jenner and the Kardashian sisters have openly talked about their cosmetic enhancement, which has made cosmetic augmentation seem aspirational.


  • In the past, cosmetic plastic surgery was only affordable to the ultra-rich. Today, typical patients are working professionals who come from double-income families" or stay-at-home moms looking to regain their physical appearance.
  • Cosmetic procedures, both non-surgical and surgical, have become more affordable. Also, there are several financing options, from personal loans and medical credit cards to payment plans offered by different medical providers.
  • While millennials may not be able to afford to live like their celebrities, the face has become a form of investment. The Glamour Magazine noted that at about £150-£350 per session, dermal fillers and Botox have become normal activities.
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Cosmetic Surgery - Trends

The growth of injectables and increasing inclusivity are two trends in the domain of cosmetic surgery.


  • injectables, lasers, and skin resurfacing are cosmetic procedures that are undertaken quickly, with little downtime, and with instantly visible results in most cases. It is also a cheaper and less invasive cosmetic procedure. However, beyond these, there is less stigma and lower barriers to entry with this procedure. As such, it is increasingly being adopted for cosmetic enhancements.
  • According to the annual survey by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), 80% of all facial cosmetic procedures conducted by facial plastic surgeons in 2018 were non-surgical.
  • Board-certified plastic surgeon in New York City Lara Devgan referred to the trend of injectables as the "era of minimally invasive medical aesthetic procedures."
  • Factors driving the trend of injectables include "rising aesthetic consciousness and the number of cosmetic procedures," its cost-effectiveness, and the aging population.
  • The age group on top of this trend are those between the ages of 40 and 54 years, as they constitute the largest percentage of patients using BOTOX (57%) and filler treatments (49%).


  • The cosmetic surgery domain is becoming more inclusive of the male category, which was more or less relegated in the past due to popular perceptions of the same as a woman's interest. However, male cosmetic surgery is gaining acceptance and is increasing annually.
  • According to AAFPRS, male cosmetic surgery is growing exponentially and has received a 325% rise since the late 1990s. The body interviewed 618 men in its annual study to determine their likelihood of undergoing cosmetic surgery. The results showed that 31% of men would be willing to undergo surgical procedures mostly in "liposuction, breast reduction, eyelid surgery, nose lift surgery, and facelifts."
  • Lara Devgan reports that 15% of her patients are male. Also, most of her cosmetic procedures are usually to enhance features to look more masculine.
  • The major driving factors of this trend include the resurfacing interest in classically masculine features, social stigma decline regarding cosmetic procedures, the modern man, and social media.
  • About 92% of men who have interests in cosmetic surgery are millennials. As such, they are the most impacted by this trend.