Plastic surgeons are reporting record-high rates of people under 30 visiting their offices for cosmetic procedures, such as lip fillers and buccal fat removal.
Young people are flocking to plastic surgeons’ for procedures at record rates, with 75 percent seeing a spike in demand from clients under 30 last year, according to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS).
Gen Z, which includes people born between 1997 and 2012, has been more interested in plastic surgery than previous generations due in part to the advent of social media.
The increase in demand could be tied to many factors, including a return to in-person life post-pandemic, more disposable income, and cultural and social pressures to subscribe to a certain standard of beauty by social media.
Social media has also spurred several trends in plastic surgery. Among the most notable is the recent spike in women undergoing risky Brazilian Butt Lift procedures (BBLs) to endow themselves with an hourglass shape.
The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) reported that about 75 percent of its member doctors saw demand for cosmetic procedures jump 10 percent last year. The majority of procedures performed were minimally invasive – think lip fillers, Botox
More than half of all plastic surgeons have reported an increase in bookings and treatments over the past year, according to the industry group reports.
Fifty-eight percent of AAFPRS facial plastic surgeons reported an increase in bookings and treatments over the past year.
More than 75 percent indicating they have seen a bump of more than 10 percent in patient demand.
Citing a return to people-facing life with the wind-down of the pandemic on top of more general vested interest in self care, plastic surgeons said the interest is mainly in non-invasive procedures.
The vast majority – 82 percent – of facial procedures performed in 2022 were minimally invasive, including injectable neurotoxins such as Botox, fillers, and topical treatments like chemical peels and microneedling.
But, the TikTok-popular buccal fat removal from the face to create a more sculpted, angular look has been a popular choice too.
Buccal fat removal entails cutting out fat pads from the inside of a person’s cheek, giving them a more angular, chiseled look as a result.
Dr Theda Kontis, AAFPRS President said: ‘As people returned to the office and eased back into the routine of daily life without quarantine, interest for elective surgeries and non-invasive “tweakments” remain high.’
The remaining 18 percent of procedures were surgical.
The most common were facelifts, blepharoplasties – eye rejuvenation and rhinoplasties – known as a nose job.
The organization also attributed to record-high interest in cosmetic surgeries to the ongoing ‘Zoom Boom,’ a phenomenon that began with the shift mostly to online platforms like Zoom which required people to use video conferencing tools instead of in-person work.
Research into the effect of relying almost exclusively on online video platforms has suggested that appearing on video heightens concerns about personal appearance and greater interest in aesthetic procedures such as waxing and fillers.
The advent of online meeting platforms such as Zoom spurred a wave of people scheduling appointments for tune ups above the neck as they were suddenly made aware on video calls of their perceived flaws.
The major shift to remote work also gave people the chance to undergo some procedure and recover at home without having to use their limited paid time off from work.
In addition of becoming hyper-aware of physical flaws thanks to the ‘Zoom effect,’ millions of people have suffered some damage to their mental wellbeing during the pandemic. A want to gain back lagging self-esteem has driven up consultations with plastic surgeons.
And it’s no secret that social media can have a deleterious effect on mental health. Apps like Instagram and TikTok are plastered with beauty ideals in the form of major celebrities. Young people glued to social media are exposed to unrealistic, potentially dangerous, body standards that could lead to efforts to surgically change their personal appearance.
Whereas many people used to keep their plastic surgery under wraps or wait to go under the knife until later in life, young adults are being proactive by undergoing botox and other fillers as a means to stave off signs of aging.
Seventy-eight percent of AAFPRS members expect there will be a greater emphasis on earlier maintenance and age prevention starting in the 20s- to 30s to forestall bigger procedures and surgeries for later down the road.
Seattle dermatologist Dr Joyce Park told her 500,000 followers on Tik Tok that Gen Z-ers are applauded for taking the extra time and effort on their appearance: ‘Getting Botox, which is a go-to procedure for Gen Z, is considered part of their regular skin-care maintenance rather than a way to treat wrinkles.’
Gen Z is also more forthcoming than previous generations about plastic surgery, particularly on social media.
For instance American TikToker Audrey Peters openly documented her decision to undergo liposuction under her chin, sharing to her 650,000 followers that her double chin has always been her biggest insecurity.
The latest plastic surgery craze to overtake Hollywood is buccal fat removal, which plastic surgeons warn is not a wise investment in the long-term.
Model Chrissy Teigen admitted to receiving the procedure last year, and it just one of many personalities believed to have underwent the operation.
There is also speculation that Glee star Lea Michelle and Game of Thrones’ Sophie Turner have undergone the procedure after they appeared to have more chiseled jaw lines in recent public appearances.
Fifteen percent of facial plastic surgeons reporting an increase in buccal fat removal to achieve a slimmer facial appearance, according to the AAFPRS.
Dr Kontis said: ‘Buccal fat surgery is not reversible–so while you may love the look in your 20s and 30s, as you age, your face naturally loses fat, and therefore volume.
The sunken-in look is also a side effect of rapid and drastic weight loss.
It has been dubbed ‘Ozempic face’ after the gaunt look in some people’s faces who take the type 2 diabetes drug used off-label for weight loss.
‘Like any massive weight loss treatment, Semiglutide treatments can cause fat pads to shrink, making facial volume depleted and the skin can appear lax and saggy,’ Dr Kontis said.
She added: ‘Of course, we can treat these unwanted side effects with everything from fillers to facelifts, but the point is there’s no such thing as a magic pill.’