Interest in medical aesthetic treatments is piquing in U.K. society according to a new survey conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of RealSelf. The U.K. Aesthetics Interest Survey, released today, reveals 40 percent of U.K. adults are considering a surgical or nonsurgical cosmetic treatment in the next 12 months, with 37 percent considering nonsurgical treatments and 22 percent considering surgical. The number of U.K. adults planning a cosmetic procedure in the next 12 months slightly exceeds that of U.S. adults (37 percent).

Millennials appear to be driving the U.K.’s high interest in aesthetic procedures. Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of adults 18-34 are considering nonsurgical treatments in the next 12 months (vs. 28 percent aged 35+) and close to half (44 percent) are considering surgical treatments in the next year (vs. 14 percent aged 35+). This age group is also significantly more likely to have had a nonsurgical or surgical cosmetic treatment in the past (40 percent) compared to their older counterparts (14 percent of those aged 35+). Though age appears to be a major variable, interest among men and women in the U.K. remains generally balanced. Only slightly more women (41 percent) than men (38 percent) are considering a cosmetic treatment in the next year.

RealSelf Chief Medical Officer and board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Lara Devgan is not surprised by the findings, and says millennials are also helping shift how society thinks about talks about the topic of cosmetic enhancements.

“Younger generations are a key force behind the U.K.’s growing interest in cosmetic procedures, due in large part to the new technologies and treatment options that have made aesthetic treatments accessible to a wider audience,” said Dr. Lara Devgan, RealSelf Chief Medical Officer and board-certified plastic surgeon. “Many millennials look at cosmetic enhancements as part of their larger self-care routine, not unlike going to the gym or taking care of their skin. They are more open to the idea that beauty is a feeling of confidence rather than a particular physical feature, and it can be unique and customized for every individual. This survey reinforces the trends and motivations we see on RealSelf, where millions of women and men research treatment options and doctors in order to make confident decisions.”


Brits Are Considering Treatments for the Teeth, Tummy

Cosmetic dentistry (43 percent) and laser hair removal (29 percent) are the top treatments among adults in the U.K. who are considering nonsurgical procedures, while tummy tuck (31 percent) and facelift (28 percent) are the most popular surgical treatments under consideration. Cosmetic dentistry tops the list for nonsurgical treatments in both the U.K. and the U.S., but interest is significantly higher in the U.K. compared to the U.S. (36 percent).

Adults in the U.K. also show greater interest in facelifts (28 percent) compared to those in the U.S. (16 percent). American adults are twice as likely to be considering nonsurgical fat reduction treatments than U.K. adults (29 percent vs 14 percent).


Confidence Is the Number One Motivator

Motivations for cosmetic treatments are very similar across both the U.S. and the U.K. Among adults in the U.K. who have had cosmetic treatments or are considering them in the next 12 months, the top motivation was/is to improve self-esteem and confidence (43 percent). Other motivations are to look as good as one feels (35 percent) and to help with weight loss or fat removal (26 percent).


Appearance in the Workplace, Milestone Birthdays Also Influential

Life events also influence U.K. adults to pursue cosmetic work with three in five (60 percent) of those who have had a cosmetic treatment or are considering one in the next 12 months reporting a life event influenced their decision. This is significantly greater among men (70 percent) than women (51 percent). The desire to appear youthful at work and/or starting a new job was the top event, with nearly one in four respondents (23 percent) citing this, followed by a milestone birthday (18 percent), upcoming vacation (14 percent), and starting dating or a new relationship (13 percent).

Men are nearly twice as likely (19 percent) as women (10 percent) to say an upcoming vacation influenced their decision to pursue cosmetic work. Men are also nearly three times more likely (14 percent) than women (5 percent) to say getting divorced or ending a relationship influenced their decision.


Biggest Concerns: Fear of Complications or Bad Results and Cost

Among U.K. adults who would ever consider a cosmetic treatment, nearly all (92 percent) admit having at least one concern related to the procedure. The most cited concerns are fear of complications/bad results (53 percent) followed by paying for the procedure (48 percent). By comparison, the top concerns among U.S. adults are paying for the procedure (52 percent) and fear of complications/bad results (48 percent).


Check out the full report here.


Survey Methodology:

This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of RealSelf from July 10-12, 2018 among 1,030 U.K. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 862 have had cosmetic treatments or are considering them in the next 12 months. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact RealSelf.