Lately, I have been thinking about plastic surgery. Not exactly the surgery part, but each time I pass a mirror or see a photo taken more than 5 years ago, I wonder how it would feel to have my wrinkles plumped or the sag under my eyes tightened.
I am hardly alone. There were more than 11 million surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures performed in the United States in 2013, up 10% from 2012, according to The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). The most popular procedure in 2013 was liposuction, up 16% from the prior year. Breast augmentation was second on the list, even though the number of procedures in the category dropped a little more than 5% from 2012.
Newly popular procedures included butt augmentation (thank you Kardashian sisters) and labiaplasty, which is, more or less, a facelift for the small lips on the outside of the vagina. More than 5,000 labiaplasties were performed in the US in 2013.
The use of injectables, including Botox, Juvederm, and Restylane, jumped 21% in 2013, as more women like me made the jump from research to action, and as more types of health care providers began offering the treatments. I was equally fascinated and appalled when I showed up for an annual eye exam recently and found that my 72-year-old ophthalmologist had started to offer Botox treatments.
At the moment, I am still in the pre-research phase, getting up the courage to begin diving into the pros and cons of each treatment, and more importantly, into the reasons why I am even considering this.
Two good friends, both successful businesswomen nearing 60, bypassed injectables and went straight to surgery. They had a procedure that tightened their necks and the lower halves of their faces. The recovery was tough, but two years later, they are thrilled with the results. Both said they had the surgery because they had started to look older than they felt. Their neck lifts have boosted their self-esteem, and at least for one of them, helped in business negotiations. “People are more interested in talking to you when you are appear young and vital than when you look old and tired,” she said.
It isn’t helping that the business world has become blatant in its worship of youth. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg kicked off public age-bashing in 2007 when he told an audience at Stanford that “Young people are just smarter.”
Last Saturday night I was out to dinner at a hot new restaurant with my husband and another couple. We were the oldest people in the place, by at least a decade. I was annoyed at myself for even noticing, but that night, I paid particular attention to my crow’s feet. Was it my imagination or did they seem longer than they had the day before?
While I decide whether or not there is a cosmetic procedure in my future, I have found a non-invasive and no-cost treatment for wrinkles: I will just stop looking too closely in the mirror.
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Image via Steven Depolo/Flickr