When should you start thinking about aesthetic treatments and procedures? According to the most recent stats from the Aesthetic Society, the younger generations are getting started early, making up 27% of all surgical procedures in 2022. This is part of a year-over-year trend that’s seen the 17-35 age range grow steadily from 20% of surgeries in 2019. But what exactly does early intervention mean for these patients?
We dive in deep to learn what procedures and treatments younger patients are exploring and what experts think will come next.
What Drives Early Intervention
From the Zoom Boom to the rise in aesthetic content online, younger people are thinking more about their face and how it ages.
All around the country, we’ve spent upwards of two years staring at our own faces in Zoom meetings, and it definitely had an impact on us. While the data on exactly how much it’s driven rising interest in aesthetic procedures is gray, plastic surgeons and dermatologists alike have felt the impact of this surge.
According to Fresno, CA dermatologist Kathleen Behr, MD, the interest from younger patients has driven the aesthetic industry to innovate towards preventative aging. “The whole idea of prejuvenation and preventative aging has really surged, especially with the younger generation,” Dr. Behr explains. “We start losing collagen in our 20s, and they want to do everything they can to prevent wrinkles from forming in the first place.”
Even as we begin a slow return-to-office norm, the interest from younger patients remains high.
For Campbell, CA plastic surgeon Kamakshi R. Zeidler, MD, the rise in younger millennial patients displays a desire to invest in themselves over material goods. “I practice in Silicon Valley, so the younger millennial population in my community is in a good financial position, particularly coming out of COVID, because they kept the whole world going and connected,” Dr. Zeidler explains. “And we’re seeing that this group of people in their late 20s, early 30s, want to invest in themselves, even over things or objects.”
What Do Younger Patients Want?
When it comes to the treatments and procedures this age group is seeking, there’s a clear desire to stave off the effects of aging. While procedures like breast augmentations and body contouring remain very popular with this age group, many plastic surgeons have noticed an uptick in interest in face and neck lifts as well.
“We’re actually seeing a surprising trend where our younger patients are seeking more invasive procedures,” Dr. Zeidler says. “So instead of choosing fillers, especially given how many celebrities are dissolving their fillers now, instead I see patients in their late 30s and early 40s choosing isolated neck lifts rather than all of these noninvasive technologies that might not get them the result they want.”
Many of these surgical options are becoming more targeted and less invasive. These ‘mini’ procedures have continued to rise in popularity for their lack of visible scarring and their natural looking results.
“About 60% of the facelifts I do now are considered ‘mini facelifts,’” says Campbell, CA plastic surgeon R. Laurence Berkowitz, MD. “I most often perform a minimal access cranial suspensions, or a MACS lift, which I have found to be an incredible procedure.”
What Comes Next?
Given the sustained interest from this generation in preventative aging, you can bet that the aesthetic industry will rise to meet the need.
“This age group is really pushing the industry,” Dr. Behr says. “Just look at exosomes, which are the little vesicles excreted by cells to help us heal, they give reparative instructions to our cells. This is new and extremely popular, and we’re now using exosomes on top of the skin after we do treatments to speed up the healing process.”
There’s also internal methods to slow the aging process, which Dr. Berkowitz expects will be the next major accomplishment of the younger generation. “People are always going to want to find ways to stave off aging, to slow the disease of aging,” Dr. Berkowitz explains. “This younger generation is going to do it internally, I think, as well as externally. Their diet, exercise and the way they live will be significantly healthier than the way their grandparents lived, and that’s a good thing.”
That doesn’t mean that plastic surgery won’t be needed once younger millennials start to hit their mid-life.
“The outside is still going to need attention,” Dr. Berkowitz says. “So we’ll still be busy.”
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