Should You Be Able to Tell If Someone Has Had Work Done?

No doubt you’ve participated in conversations—after seeing an old friend—about how young she looks. Or, maybe, she was trying to look young through obvious plastic surgery or cosmetic procedures, such as too much Botox or overfilled lips. 

With either situation, we bet money (and we don’t bet often – we’re a medical practice after all) that you’ve heard friends say in hushed tones – “well, you know she’s had work done.” Maybe she has. Maybe she hasn’t. 

Today, it’s harder to tell if plastic surgery or cosmetic procedures have been done correctly. 

Having “work done” is a personal choice. And, we’re not here to convince you of undergoing plastic surgery procedures or sitting back and letting nature take its course. However, if you decide to have a procedure or two, we want you to be informed about what plastic surgery looks like today.

The Past: Looking Down on Women Opting for a Plastic Surgery Procedure

In the past, women were often looked down upon – or otherwise judged harshly – for getting work done. Perhaps people judged them for wanting to hang on to their youth. Or maybe that they had low self-esteem. Or that they only wanted to attract men. 

Bad cosmetic surgery procedures didn’t help matters. Most plastic surgeons will tell you that procedures should result in subtle transformations in appearance, not immediately recognizable and drastic changes.  

Here are some “not-so-subtle” results:

  1. A pulled look from a bad facelift, where the skin on the face looks pulled back towards the ears or up to the scalp.
  2. A tight forehead, where your face looks frozen from too much Botox, making it impossible for you to create natural expressions.
  3. A pixie ear, where your earlobes are elongated (resembling the ears of a pixie) after a bad facelift.
  4. Unnatural proportions often resulting from bad breast or butt augmentations, making you look like you could literally tip over.
  5. No natural body movement after surgery, such as breasts that are rock hard, showing no natural movement or feel. 

The Present: Normalizing Having Work Done

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ most recent 2020 annual statistics, “$16.7 billion was spent on cosmetic procedures in the U.S.,” despite the global pandemic. 

Although the overall number of procedures was lower than those completed in 2019, “11% of women surveyed said they are more interested in cosmetic plastic surgery or non-surgical procedures now than before COVID-19 –  and the figure is even higher among women who have already had surgery or a procedure.”

Not only has the COVID pandemic had an impact on interest in plastic surgery, but younger generations have also normalized these procedures, helping to remove any judgment and stigmas. 

For example, “Millennials and Gen Z are seeking plastic surgery options earlier than any other generation, making it more the norm rather than a secret of the rich.” In 2018, adults under 34 underwent more cosmetic surgery procedures than those in the 51 to 64-year-old age group, according to the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

Through this trend, “Millennials and Gen Z are effectively erasing any stigma around plastic surgery through social media, selfies, and attitudes towards health and aging, including ‘preventive’ procedures such as Botox injections. By normalizing these procedures as a part of your regular self-care routine, these procedures will likely continue to rise in popularity.”

Despite the rise in popularity, “[f]or many, a reticence remains, and—fearing stigma or backlash or something else–they keep it under wraps,” according to Town & Country. But, lucky for these patients, the stigma will continue to disappear as plastic and cosmetic procedures continue to become more popular – and more frequently discussed – moving acknowledgment of these procedures out of the shadows and into the light. 

The Future: What to Expect in the Plastic Surgery Field

Often today, we talk about before COVID and after COVID. Or the “old normal” and the “new normal.” Plastic and cosmetic procedures aren’t left out of this comparison – in fact, they are a top topic in the medical field. 

As the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reflects, “[m]any are wondering if this increased interest in plastic surgery in general and facial procedures, in particular, is going to last once the pandemic is finally brought under control. While this is difficult to predict, most likely, these plastic surgery trends will continue even after the masks are put away.”

With the work-from-home model dominating employee-employer relationships, and Zoom dysmorphia impacting how we view ourselves, many patients seek a more balanced, aesthetically pleasing image

Additionally, with Millennials aging, with the oldest members of that generation turning 38 this year, they realize that “they are no longer the young kids on the block.” As noted by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, “[u]nlike previous generations, they are facing 40 while living in an online world. Even if the new normal were to fully disappear, social media will not.”

According to Baylor College of Medicine, plastic surgery techniques and technology continue to improve (dramatically, we might say). Further, plastic surgeons “better understand aging and its physiological and anatomical effects,” allowing plastic surgeons to better address “facial and total body concerns.” 

Because of these continued medical advances, plastic and cosmetic procedures will continue to enhance images through subtle transformations. And the key here is that people will not be able to tell if you’ve had work done – unless you choose to tell them. 

And, with a board-certified plastic surgeon, you can fully understand your options and results, giving you a natural look – whether you’re on Zoom calls or aging gracefully. So, contact us today to learn more about plastic and cosmetic surgery – giving you the subtle transformation you desire.