Generation X tops baby boomers in cosmetic procedures

December 8, 2011

Cosmetic procedures have become personal “maintenance.”
Cosmetic procedures have become personal “maintenance.”

First, who is Generation X? They are adults between the ages of 31 and 45. This is the age of becoming something, otherwise known as living in a pressure cooker. The race is on: get a great job, get married, have babies, buy a house and start saving for retirement. The added caveat is that now you have to do it in a recession economy.

So when this “put upon” generation has a couple of extra dollars, what are they doing with it? According to Fox, November 21, 2011, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) reported that “adults between the ages of 31 and 45 accounted for 43% of all cosmetic procedures in 2010. Baby boomers, aged 51 to 64, who do in fact have more expendable income, accounted for just 28% of such procedures.

Information about these new nonsurgical, noninvasive procedures is available almost every step you take: TV commercials, magazine ads, billboards, you name it. Further, new technologies are sprouting up like squash in August. But something much subtler is at work. A prominent plastic surgeon says these procedures “…are more of a lifestyle decision these days, beyond exercise and nutrition.” In other words, procedures like Botox and filler injections have become so prevalent, they are like taking vitamins or coloring gray hair. They are what people are doing to maintain themselves. Another plastic surgeon describes this phenomenon: “Many of my patients consider these procedures as part of their budget for personal ‘maintenance.”

The scourge of Generation X is the challenge of maintaining a viable status in the workplace. Expert analysis indicates, “each age group’s level of participation in the workforce plays a role in the amount of cosmetic procedures per age group.” If you pull up stakes and invest in a recreational vehicle with plans of traveling cross country and trout fishing, you will be less likely to undergo these procedures. But nowadays, who can afford that?

The president-elect, Dr. Leo R. McCafferty of ASAPS has some words of wisdom: “I think Generation X could be a bit more thorough as they do research. Not everyone is a good candidate for these kinds of procedures, non-invasive or otherwise.” And please check the American Board of Plastic Surgery to make sure that your doctor has the proper credentials beforehand.  

The mission of the Aesthetic Society includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Aesthetic Society, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to

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The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, is recognized as the world's leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body. The Aesthetic Society is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; Active Members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and nonsurgical aesthetic procedures. International Active Members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.


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