Tax refunds are rolling in, and like many Americans, people on RealSelf are dreaming of ways to spend that sweet cash. One in five people on RealSelf who are expecting a tax refund this year told us that they plan to spend it on a cosmetic treatment.

Tax refunds are often a popular choice to help fund a procedure. Among those who had previously used their tax return to pay for a cosmetic procedure, 40 percent said they intended to do the same with this year’s tax refund.

Doctors are also seeing a rise in interest this time of year.

“I definitely see an uptick in people using their tax return for self improvement,” says Dr. Benjamin Paul, a facial plastic surgeon and hair restoration expert in New York City. “Many people view their tax return as a gift and use the extra funds to help with procedures they have always wanted.”

Paul says that he sees patients using tax money for injectables, like Botox and fillers, while others use it to “invest” in a surgery. As a hair restoration expert, that’s the surgery of choice at his practice.


Related: What you need to know about paying for plastic surgery.


Dr. Andrew Lyos, a plastic surgeon in Houston, says he tends to see younger patients using tax refunds. Their top surgeries include breast augmentation, liposuction, Brazilian butt lifts and CoolSculpting.

About one in 10 people on RealSelf have told us that they have used a tax refund for a cosmetic or elective treatment.


Related: Nearly 4 in 10 plan to spend tax refund on cosmetic treatments in 2017.


Other key findings include: At least half of respondents who have used tax refunds for a cosmetic treatment timed that procedure to coincide with their refund. Of those, 59 percent opted to spend their tax refund on a surgical procedure, with 30 percent using it to pay for a non-surgical treatment. Ten percent used it to pay for both.

The top surgical procedures include:


Top non-surgical procedures include:



Overall, 17 percent of respondents said they’d use a tax return to pay for a cosmetic or elective treatment. The top three responses were paying bills, undecided, and that they didn’t expect a refund.



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