What’s an appropriate age to consider cosmetic procedures?

Even though the number of plastic surgery operations in America and worldwide has increased every year for the last two decades, there is still a popular misconception that many people have of facial cosmetic procedures as something strictly reserved for those over the age of fifty years old. This is obviously a myth, and as plastic surgery becomes more normal than not, a more realistic view and understanding of facial plastic surgery will emerge.

In the meantime, here are some statistics to get a better idea of who is getting facial plastic surgery and why. According to statistics published by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, patients in the age range of thirty-five to fifty years old have received the most plastic surgery procedures since 1997, making up a plurality of 43% of the total number of surgical procedures performed.

Of course, there are plenty of patients older and younger than that age range who are receiving plastic surgery as well, and altogether they comprise a greater number of procedures, but no comparable age range has more plastic surgery operations than those aged thirty-five to fifty years old. And in just three years from 2014 to 2017, the average age of women getting plastic surgery has dropped three years, from forty-two three years ago, to an average age of thirty-nine today. The average age of men dropped two years over the same time period, from forty-seven to forty-five.

In the much younger thirteen to nineteen-year-old age group, there were 229,000 total cosmetic operations performed on thirteen to nineteen-year-olds in 2016. 66,000 of those procedures were surgical in nature and 163,000 were minimally invasive cosmetic procedures. Of those aged twenty to twenty-nine years old, there were 829,000 total cosmetic procedures performed in 2016, with 256,000 of those being surgical in nature and 572,000 were minimally invasive.

According to the New York / New Jersey area Associates in Plastic Surgery group, the most common facial plastic surgery procedure for the thirteen to nineteen-year-old age group is a rhinoplasty operation or “nose job.”

They say:

“Puberty brings changes to the body, and the nose is no different. Significant changes can occur, but by the age of 16, the nose you have will typically be the nose you will grow old with. As you age, other body parts grow and take on new shapes, but the structure of your nose will change the least over time, meaning the defining features will remain the same throughout your life. Teens and young adults often turn to rhinoplasty as they are entering new phases, such as high school graduation. The late teens are the best time to perform this procedure.”

A rhinoplasty might be desirable by a patient of any age after puberty since rejuvenation is not the goal of rhinoplasty surgery – the goal is achieving a more aesthetic look by enhancing the harmony of the face’s lines and balancing the proportions of the nose. Rhinoplasty can achieve dramatic improvements to:

  • Nose size and proportion in relation to facial harmony
  • Nose width at the bridge, or a profile with visible bumps on the bridge
  • The size, shape, and position of the nostrils
  • A nasal tip that is bulbous, drooping, upturned, or hooked
  • Nasal asymmetry

In addition to aesthetic motivations that may lead a patient to desire a cosmetic nose job, rhinoplasty can also solve medical problems such as difficulty breathing due to the shape and structure of the nose, and a nasal structure that impairs breathing is not an age-related issue. There are other non-age-related medical issues that can be helped with cosmetic facial surgery.

Cosmetic facial reconstructive surgery is a welcome remedy for people who suffer a severe disfigurement or scarring from accidents, or even the ravages of infectious diseases, cancer, or other medical conditions. Mole removal is also a cosmetic facial procedure that has nothing to do with rejuvenation, and everything to do with better skin health and a patient’s personal aesthetic preferences for how they look.

The Rise in Teenage Cosmetic Surgery

With the advent of social media, young people are more conscious than ever of how they look. With every tweet, share, and like, teenagers are comparing their features with influencers, celebrities, and classmates. While we must maintain a realistic and healthy outlook for our friends in Generation Z, it is inevitable for them to be curious about their options in the realm of cosmetic procedures.

In the year 2017, approximately 230,000 patients from the age of 13 to 19 received such procedures. This accounts for roughly four percent of the total number of people who explored the world of cosmetic reconstruction. On top of these surgical procedures, teens racked up another 160,000 non-invasive touch-ups, chief among them being Botox visits and laser hair removal appointments.

With the influx of new patients comes an increased sense of caution. Teens must be well counseled before embarking upon any sort of cosmetic procedure to make sure they are doing so for the right reasons. In addition to the aforementioned guideline of 16 being the recommended minimum age for rhinoplasty, experts have agreed upon the following

  • Breast augmentations or reductions: 18 years and older 
  • Liposuction procedures: 18 years and older 
  • Otoplasty (ear alteration surgery): 5-7 years old
  • Retin A: 16-18 years of age 
  • Lasers for acne scar removal: 16-18 years old
  • Other laser procedures: 18 years and older 
  • Chemical peels: 18 years + 
  • Botox and other filler injections: 18 years and older

The Benefits of Cosmetic Procedures for All Ages

While the age restrictions above are vitally important to consider, there are also a myriad of benefits that facial procedures can elicit. According to a recent study of approximately 550 patients, the majority of those who underwent their desired cosmetic alteration reported blockbuster results.

Self-esteem skyrocketed in this sample group, as did feelings of joy and general satisfaction in life. As anyone who has endured adolescence can attest, it is a volatile period, characterized by self-doubt and insecurity. While teenagers shouldn’t rush into cosmetic procedures to counteract these forces, it can’t be overstated that looking good often leads to feeling good. Consult a trusted physician and don’t be afraid to discuss any and all psychological stresses and emotional issues you may be feeling. We can all work together to make sure that you grow up to be the best you possible.

About Dr. William J. Binder

Dr. William J. Binder is a facial plastic surgery specialist with over three decades of experience with facial plastic surgery.

For almost three decades, his individualized philosophy and approach to facial plastic surgery has led him to pioneer new techniques for facial surgery procedures and earned him international acclaim for his results.

If you want your facial plastic surgery performed by one of the world’s leading cosmetic surgeons, contact Dr. Binder’s office today to schedule an initial consultation.