Cosmetic procedures among 19- to 34-year-olds have increased 236
percent in the past six years.
Although the age group, which includes college students,
accounts for only 24.5 percent of all cosmetic procedures, the
group experienced a disproportionate increase, according to a
survey held by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic
Cosmetic procedures among all age groups combined have increased
228 percent since 1997, the study said.
were 2,099,173 operations in 1997 and 6,889,531 operations in
The rise in performed procedures and the wider publicity in the
media have been attributed to the decline of stigma accredited to
“Without a doubt, it is more widely accepted. Among some
groups, it’s even considered normal,” said Ed Wilkins,
an associate professor of surgery in plastic surgery at the
The most common surgical procedures for 19- to 34-year-olds are
liposuction and breast augmentation.
The most common non-surgical procedure for this age group is
microdermabrasion, or the gradual exfoliation of the skin.
“It’s not as taboo as it used to be. It’s more
widespread and more natural looking,” LSA senior Melissa
Levey said. Levey underwent rhinoplasty, or a nose job, nearly
three years ago. “No one could even tell I had anything
Despite the bad economy, Wilkins also credited this rise of
acceptance to greater affluence of certain sectors of the
“Twenty years ago, this was only something for the
wealthy. Many segments of society were excluded from the option
because they couldn’t afford it,” Wilkins said.
“This is certainly not just for the rich anymore.”
In spite of the overall increase in acceptance, ASAPS reported
that 18- to 24-year-olds disapprove of cosmetic surgery more than
any other age group. Forty-eight percent of college students
approve, opposed to the 60 percent of baby boomers.
“Students are not the ones that are aging and are the
least likely to have surgery in the first place. Logically, they
are the most likely to disapprove,” ASAPS spokeswoman Adeena
Similarly, surgical procedures still remain “fairly
uncommon” at the University, Wilkins said.
“There is a trend toward a greater variety of ages and
more men receiving surgery,” he added, “but there are
still not that many students on campus getting procedures done
The discrepancy between University and national trends can be
traced to the distribution of locations of surgical procedures.
“Clearly there are regional differences. Although the
Midwest is slowly catching up, it’s still more common on the
coasts,” Wilkins said.
Levey, whose hometown is Los Angeles, received a nose job after
fracturing her nose in a high school soccer game.
“Because nose jobs have always been prevalent where I
live, it was immediately an option,” Levey said. “My
parents even encouraged it.”