Millennials. They’re the generation born between 1981 and 1996 – the ones you can’t seem to turn on the television or open your social media apps without hearing about. If the internet is to be believed, millennials love mid-century modern furniture and avocado toast, and they despise flat sheets on their beds. Now, new reports are making more claims about this much-targeted generation: They love cosmetic surgery, too. But exactly why this group is so keen on improving their appearance may come as a surprise.
“I’ve heard many theories as to why millennials are so fond of cosmetic surgery,” says Dr. Randy Sanovich, a facial, cosmetic, and oral surgeon from Dallas, Texas. “Lately there are lots of articles about them wanting to look better in selfies.”
Selfies, however, are just part of the reason this generation is so keen on improving their appearance. For millennials, it’s not just about vanity, but about something much deeper. Some recent articles, including one in the Washington Examiner, have claimed that millennials are using cosmetic surgery to get a leg up on the competition career-wise.
“I think with so many companies now having a social media department and millennials feeling the need to look their best at all times in case they show up on the company Instagram, not to mention the fierce competition for jobs in this economy, a lot of people – not just millennials – feel the pressure to improve their appearance,” says Sanovich.
And the numbers don’t lie. According to the same Washington Examiner article, the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery reports that 70 percent of plastic surgeons saw an increase in procedures in patients under the age of 30 in 2018. And that’s after a 50 percent jump in the same age group just five years prior.
“It’s becoming a cultural phenomenon,” Sanovich says.
Another surprising trend among millennial patients? The use of Botox and cosmetic fillers – but not to correct fine lines and wrinkles, which is generally what those products are intended for.
“Millennials are using Botox and fillers for a lot of ‘off-brand’ uses like liquid rhinoplasty or other face-lift-inspired treatments that change the appearance of the face without being as permanent as a full-fledged face-lift would be,” says Sanovich.
They also are using fillers to prevent aging before it even starts.
“Obviously at their age, most of them don’t need to fill any lines and wrinkles, but if used early and regularly enough, products like Botox and fillers can actually improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and prevent them from worsening,” Sanovich says. “Other generations can say what they want, but it’s a very smart strategy.”