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New Study Shows Age 65+ Getting More Dermatology Procedures

dermatology for older woman

New Study Shows Age 65+ Getting More Dermatology Procedures

It used to be the case that cosmetic surgery and related procedures were largely confined to the stereotypical fading Hollywood star, usually female. Over the years, it became more acceptable for the average American to “have work done,” as the euphemism described plastic surgery. In general, though, these procedures were largely confined to the middle-aged population, those who were beginning to notice signs of aging and wanted to do something about it.

In recent years, however, our dermatologists here at Genesis Dermatology in Jupiter, FL have noticed a trend: men and women in their 60s and older requesting cosmetic dermatology procedures. This trend was confirmed in a recent article in The Washington Post which reported that, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the number of people 65 and older getting facelifts and cosmetic eyelid surgeries has soared in the last five years. In 2015 alone, 39,722 eyelid surgeries and 37,632 facelifts were performed on people 65 and older. Compare these numbers with those from 2010 and you can see the upward trend: 24,783 cosmetic eyelid operations and 26,635 facelifts. These figures do not even include other cosmetic procedures such as injectable fillers and laser treatments.

What is causing this? Patients report varied reasons. A large majority say they’ve raised their families, taken care of their aging parents and now they’re “ready to do something for me.” Others are looking toward a special event, such as a wedding, while still others are seeking to remain competitive in the job market. One of the most common reasons given for having cosmetic work performed is the fact that older Americans are feeling younger and healthier, and nearly all say something along the lines of, “I want my body to match the way I feel.”

One survey of physicians found that the driving factors for the growth included less social stigma surrounding cosmetic procedures and plastic surgery (58%); more media/societal pressures to look younger (54%); advances in medical technology that have made the procedures safer (48%); and the fact that those over 60 have more disposable income available to them (38%).

Many older patients are seeking the types of non-surgical interventions, such as those we offer, to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and restore lost facial volume caused by the aging process. They say they aren’t trying to look like a teenager again, but they simply desire a more refreshed, relaxed appearance. “Aging gracefully,” is the repeated refrain.

So why would it be surprising that an older individual would seek to improve their appearance with the newer, more effective, less-invasive techniques? The New York Times, in reporting on plastic surgery in so-called the “golden age” group, interviewed Nancy Etcoff, an assistant clinical professor at Harvard Medical School who studies biology and social beliefs about beauty.

“Part of our stereotype of old people is that they are social, warm and likeable, but powerless and sexless,” she said. “Here we are in the age of Viagra, which is very well accepted, but suddenly the idea of older people, mostly women, wanting to be sexually attractive at that age makes us uncomfortable.”

“If an older woman wants to regain eyelids or wants a breast that she doesn’t have to tuck into a waistband, then why not?”

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