Cosmetic treatments for the holidays? Women say “yes, please”

It may seem like an unusual gift, but elective cosmetic treatments are landing on many women’s holiday wish lists. The new trend is gaining popularity as the demand for aesthetic treatments continues to rise. Giving your partner or friend a certificate to a med spa or plastic surgeon’s office might be the gift they most want.

RealSelf surveyed more than 800 women, asking them which treatment they would like to get as a gift. Many told us they’d love a nonsurgical fat reduction treatment or laser skin rejuvenation, treatments that can be done in-office in an hour or so, with little to no downtime.

However, the top procedure the women we polled want is a surgical one: tummy tuck is No. 1, with 14 percent of women telling us it would be their top gift pick. Nonsurgical fat reduction is the second most-requested treatment (13 percent), while laser skin treatments were third (11 percent).

Other most-desired treatments include breast augmentation (11 percent), liposuction (10 percent), cosmetic dentistry (9 percent), and Botox (8 percent).

The cosmetic treatment gifts women want vary by age

We also found that what women want varies by generation. While all women show interest in nonsurgical fat reduction, millennials, gen Xers and baby boomers differ when it comes to their top choices for gifted procedures.

Millennials (ages 25-34) most want breast augmentation, with nearly one in five women in our survey picking that surgical treatment.

Gen Xers (ages 35-54) want tummy tucks, with 17 percent of women ages 35-44 and 15 percent ages 45-54 picking this surgery as their top choice. Women at this stage of life are more likely to be wrapping up having kids and looking to get their pre-baby body back. 

Baby boomers (ages 55-64) split into two groups for their top gift choices, with facelifts and cosmetic dentistry each getting 14 percent of their vote.

An alternative to gifting treatments

RealSelf Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lara Devgan practices in New York City, where she sees many of the latest trends emerge first. She told us that “the holidays are the busiest time of year in my practice because people often have extra time off to recover.”

While it may be a perfect time of the year to have a cosmetic treatment, and procedures are likely to be on women’s wish lists, it may be best to use caution when considering one as a gift.

“I think this can create a strange dynamic between the gifter and the gifted, as if the procedure is being suggested,” Dr. Devgan said. “The best reason to undergo a procedure is because you want to, for yourself, on your own terms, not because your significant other, family, or friends think it’s a good idea.”

Gifting a treatment might be a slippery slope, but there’s another way to make a loved one feel special, according to Dr. Devgan. “A nice alternative might be making a financial contribution to a ‘self-care fund,’ so the recipient of your gift can treat themselves to something that will make them feel like the best version of themselves.”