College students are shopping for more than just mini-fridges and shower caddies this year — a growing number have added cosmetic treatments to their back-to-school lists.
In the past year, RealSelf has seen a 37% boost in traffic from 18- to 24-year-old users. We checked in with a few doctors, and they confirmed that they’ve seen an uptick in students booking appointments over the summer.
We talked with top surgeons from around the country to find out why.
Top procedures among college students
Dr. Dara Liotta of New York City has noticed more college students getting non-surgical nose jobs. “I’ve seen an increase of high school seniors going into college as well as college students, particularly on holiday, spring, and summer breaks, getting non-surgical rhinoplasty,” she said.
“I think that many young adults are intrigued by non-surgical rhinoplasty because it is not permanent, it is reversible, quick, and requires essentially no recovery,” Dr. Liotta continued. “I’ve seen more patients telling me they want to ‘try it out’ before committing to a surgical rhinoplasty perhaps in the future. I also think it is easier for them to convince their parents to pay for it!”
Recent data from RealSelf supports Dr. Liotta’s experience. Interest in non-surgical nose jobs among 18- to 24-year-old users grew 40% over last year.
Other top trends with college-bound students? Dr. Anthony Youn near Detroit says minimally invasive procedures, especially lip fillers, are popular with this 18-to-24 demographic. On RealSelf, 18- to 24-year-olds are the age group that researched lip fillers and augmentation the most so far in 2016.
“The less-invasive, non-permanent options can be very helpful for teens considering surgery,” Dr. Youn said. “It can give them a preview of how they could look, it could buy time to allow them to psychologically and physically mature prior to having actual surgery, and it’s typically much less expensive than actual surgery.”
The summer spike
Why the rise in interest during the summer months? Dr. Youn says it’s simple — people have time off. “We see a huge uptick in patients who are college or graduate students, and teachers in the summer,” he said. “This is also true during the winter holidays and spring breaks. I would say that at least 80% of the college students and teachers come in during the summer because of time off.”
Instagram and the Kardashian effect
Dr. Liotta says that social media is definitely a factor. “Young adults, well-schooled in social media platforms and growing up in the social media age, are more comfortable sharing their own before-and-after photos and experiences on their social media accounts,” she said.
She also cites the celebrity influence: “Because of young celebrities like the Kardashians being more open about their Botox and filler experiences, there is almost no stigma anymore. I think that young patients are more aware of the options of non-invasive procedures and seek them out.”
Dr. Youn agrees: “The Kardashians have been big in plastic surgery and the media,” he says. “Not only have they admitted to having work done, they’ve even had it done on camera.”
A decision to be taken seriously
While the social influence is here to stay, doctors advise younger patients to proceed wisely.
“Plastic surgery is serious. It can be dangerous,” Dr. Youn said. “Sometimes social media doesn’t acknowledge this, and this might not be good for younger people who may not be as cautious about plastic surgery as they should be.”
Dr. Liotta adds that patients should not seek treatments to “please others or because they think that they ‘should’ look a certain way to be happy.”
“I often say ‘no’ to patients like this,” she said. “A good plastic surgeon has to have a nose for this negative motivation.”
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