Millennials and Plastic Surgery

Woman with her hand on her face

t Changes Plastic Surgery and Spa, we’ve noticed a fascinating trend: we’ve got more millennials as patients than we ever had among Generation X when they were under 30! This doesn’t seem to point to a mass “self-esteem deficit” in any way; on the contrary, it’s more a revolution in thinking about technology, the body, and making your own path forward. We decided to find out more by asking other industry leaders, “Has your clinic experienced an increase in millennial patients?” This way we could find out whether they were experiencing the same trend in the same way. Here’s what they had to say.

The Tech Generation

Millennials are the most technically-inclined generation, both embracing new technologies and getting paid for their skills. For this reason, we see them more likely to embrace all kinds of tech—including tech that improves their physical appearance—and more able and willing to pay for technologies.

Dr. Gilbert Lee, Changes Plastic Surgery and Spa

Not only have we noticed this trend at Changes, we think it’s going to grow. Millennials will continue to seek out the procedures they find helpful, and so might Generation Z, and even Generation Alpha, after them.

“Over the past few years, we have definitely noticed an uptick in millennials seeking our services. They are primarily interested in facial fillers, breast augmentation, and liposuction. I believe this trend will steadily increase as the millennial generation ages and as their salaries rise.”

Jonathan Kaplan MD, MPH, Pacific Heights Plastic Surgery

“Here in San Francisco, the tech hub of millennials, it’s interesting to see this younger group of patients less concerned about friends knowing they’ve had cosmetic procedures like Botox, the most common procedure they’re requesting around here. They’re so ‘over’ the taboo of cosmetic surgery and cosmetic medicine that they freely take photos in front of our I GOT STUCK AT PHPS (Pacific Heights Plastic Surgery) neon sign and post it on their Instagram!”


The Selfie Generation

Millennials truly are the selfie generation, and this focus on outward appearance is driving a trend toward opting for cosmetic procedures and plastic surgery—both to take better selfies in the first place and to look more like the best selfies they take in real life.

Dr. Behrooz Torkian, Lasky Clinic

“I would say there has been a 25 to 30 percent increase in millennial patients over the past 10 years. Filtered selfies have certainly had an impact on the numbers. These days people come to my office all the time and ask me to help them look like their selfies. They don’t want drastic; they want subtle. Using fillers and other procedures, like Botox, in order for patients to look more like the person they see in those selfies is a great way to help them feel great about themselves.”

Dr. John Paul Tutela, Tutela Plastic Surgery in NJ and NY

“There is absolutely there an increase in millennials requesting plastic surgery services. I would say there has been a 30 percent increase over the last two years that I have experienced. I think that social media and the selfie culture is definitely driving this trend. More than any other time are we constantly looking at and taking pictures of ourselves. They are mainly requesting breast and body procedures such as breast augmentations and tummy tucks or injectables like Botox and Juvederm. These are procedures that definitely augment how they look in pictures.”

Dr. Jacob Steiger, Facial Plastic Surgeon

“We live in a new era – the ‘Age of the Selfie,’ with increased attention on the face in close-up photos plastered over social media. The millennial demographic is more in-tune with their facial structures and characteristics more than ever. I’ve seen the most increase in both rhinoplasty procedures and Botox treatments among millennials, as well as an increase in lip augmentations to pretty the millennial pout. Fuller lips are commonly associated with youth and vitality so why not put your best ‘selfie’ first?”


An Ounce of Prevention

Millennials are also starting earlier with their cosmetic procedures and plastic surgery to prevent problems on down the line; this is most apparent in their high preference for fillers and wrinkle treatments—even before wrinkles have a chance to show.

Dr. Jean-Paul Azzi, Facial Plastic Surgeon

“I have noticed an increase in the number of younger patients. In the past, I would see patients from their teens to 30s mostly for rhinoplasty or ‘nose jobs,’ but now I am noticing a large uptick in Botox, Xeomin, fillers to lips and fillers to the tear troughs under the eyes. Another procedure that has recently been gaining popularity with this population is the modified upper lip lift. I use this simple in-office procedure to achieve what fillers to the lips cannot. Patients love the slightly shorter distance from the nose to the upper lip and absolutely can’t get over how much they love their cupid’s bow.”

Dr. Min S. Ahn, The Aesthetic Wellness Center

“More millennials are asking for wrinkle prevention (Botox, Fraxel), lip enhancement (Volbella) and chin enhancement (Kybella and Cool-Mini) because they take selfies and are very conscious of their image. So we’ve seen a rapid increase in our minimally invasive treatment side of the business.”


Social/Cultural Trends

Finally, plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures trend for millennials more strongly than they ever have for older generations, and this is easier to see thanks to the rise of social media. Now, trending procedures are out in public for the world to see—and emulate.

Brian K. Dorner, MD, Dorner Plastic Surgery

“Millennials are coming in for procedures that are trending in today’s fashion culture. They tend to respond to media exposure such as lip augmentation, Brazilian butt lift, and a large upturn in younger patients getting on the bandwagon of preventative maintenance procedures such as Botox and fillers. These are becoming much more popular in the younger generation as they realize it keeps them young. They understand it is necessary maintenance to keep them looking their best.”

Chris Thiagarajah MD, FACS, Blepharoplasty Surgeon, Denver

“Through the advent of social media, millennial celebrities have posted their cosmetic procedure experiences on social media reducing the stigma associated with plastic surgery. As a result, we have noted a 20 percent increase in millennial patients every year over the last five years. Because millennials are younger, they tend to gravitate towards non-surgical procedures such as botox and fillers. This is largely because they are younger and often don’t need a facelift or their eyes done yet. They often have laser treatments or Botox injections in order to prevent wrinkles before they show up.”

Dr. Jon Mendelsohn, Advanced Cosmetic Surgery & Laser Center

“Yes, at our practice rhinoplasty (nose jobs) are up by over 58 percent, and Botox and fillers are up by at least 18 percent among our millennial patients, who are not afraid to talk about their experiences with friends.”


The bottom line

The trend is there: millennials seem to be seeking out cosmetic procedures and plastic surgery more than older generations did at the same age. This is probably for a variety of reasons, since they’re early adopters who appreciate new, innovative technologies; they work in tech more often and are willing to spend on tech, as well; they are part of the selfie generation, and follow trends on social media; and they’ve got an eye on preventing signs of visible aging. It will certainly be interesting to see how the next generation approaches these same issues, but for now, we expect to see more millennial clients at Changes Plastic Surgery and Spa.

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