An ounce of prevention

Younger generations are trying out cosmetic surgery more than ever

by Gretta J. Handley

If you ask people 50 and older if they actually feel old, they’ll likely respond with something to the effect of, “I’m not feeling a day over 30, at least mentally.” But along with a youthful attitude toward work and health comes another issue — the pressure to appear as young as one feels inside, which has led to a boom in every kind of anti-aging treatment. Plastic surgery procedures such as eyelid surgery, Botox, facial fillers and laser resurfacing generally have remained associated with the needs of older patients looking to turn back the hands of time.

However, a growing number of statistics reveal that plastic surgeons are treating significantly more Generation Y patients. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, Botox procedures in the 19- to 34-year-old demographic have doubled over the past decade. Another study found that those between the ages of 18 and 24 are the most likely of any age group to approve of surgery.

“We are seeing a lot more patients coming in earlier on,” says Dr. Glenn Davis, FACS, a plastic surgeon at Davis Plastic Surgery in Raleigh. “This group of patients in their 20s and 30s who do take advantage of noninvasive or minimally invasive plastic surgery will see a much different type of aging than older generations.”

According to Davis, sunscreen use alone — which is utilized by younger people today more than ever — will make a huge difference as well in the visible signs of aging.

Keeping the young even younger
Some women begin a regimen in their early 20s that involves Retin-A, a topical treatment that clears up acne and helps prevent breakouts, while those worried about uneven skin tone, fine lines, or enlarged pores often receive recommendations for laser-resurfacing treatments like Fraxel. But eyelid surgery or facial fillers for a 20-something? It seems as if the new motto for the young is, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” according to Davis.

“Many patients are looking at their parents’ aging concerns and are opting for surgery like upper and lower eyelids and neck liposuction earlier than in past generations,” he says. “If a patient inherited heavy eyelids, it can be appropriate to do an upper blepharoplasty in her 30s and even 20s. It’s something these patients may not have to address — or heal from — when they are older.”

Increasing affordability and financing options also are making these treatments possible for younger generations. But while certain procedures are entirely appropriate for younger patients, anyone considering an injectable treatment or surgery first should consult with a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery to ensure maximum safety and satisfaction.

Gretta J. Handley is patient care manager with Davis Plastic Surgery in Raleigh. For more information on the practice, call (919) 785-1220 or visit