What does a selfie and self-esteem have in common? Well, according to a survey on cosmetic services, personal confidence and the digital camera can inform decisions on treatments for aging. Really!

Sure, one reason that people get or consider getting a cosmetic treatment is to look good, to appear more youthful. But at the top of the list of factor is a motivation to improve self-esteem and/or confidence.

Patients look for self-confidence in treatments

That desire to feel good about looking good is not really new, according to RealSelf/Harris Poll, but it is worth remembering whenever we are assessing and treating our patients.

It’s not just their appearance in a mirror that informs a decision to receive surgical or nonsurgical procedures.

Inner beauty is the all-important motivator.

Motivations for Having/Considering Treatments  
To improve my self-esteem/confidence 40%
To look as good as I feel 36%
To look younger 26%
Help with weight loss/fat removal 22%
Combat aging 22%
Convenience and to save time/effort 15%
Get my body back after having children 12%

The U.S. survey also found that significantly more people are considering nonsurgical procedures (34%) than surgical ones (24%). Obviously, that’s good news even for those of us in medical aesthetics in Canada.

We should also take note should take note of the demographic shift in the age of patients interested in treatments.

“Interest is highest among younger adults, who have yet to enter middle age. In fact, adults under 45 (49%) are nearly twice as likely as those 45 and older (28%) to be considering a surgical or nonsurgical treatment in the next 12 months.”

Selfies and self-esteem go hand-in-hand

Dr. Dennis Schimpf, author of “Finding Beauty: Think, See and Feel Beautiful”, thinks cell phones, selfies, and social media platforms are driving the new demand.

“If you think back even 10 years ago, let alone 25, rarely would you see yourself in pictures,” said Schimpf in a report on the poll. “Maybe a birthday or wedding, usually some type of special event.

Now, with mobile devices and platforms, we’re literally seeing hundreds, if not thousands, of pictures of ourselves documenting things we don’t like about our appearance, as well as the aging process.”

 

 

 

Read: Digital Millennials are Creating a Happy Marketplace in Medical Aesthetics

As a result, the marketing and promotion of non-surgical procedures is shifting from the traditional older patients to younger men and woman who want to feel good about themselves and embrace self-improvement today.

Events That Influence Treatment Decisions
Wanting to appear youthful at work / new job 26%
Milestone birthday (e.g., turning 40 or 50) 15%
Starting dating / a new relationship 14%
An upcoming vacation 12%
My own wedding / someone else’s wedding 9%
Getting divorced / ending a relationship 8%
Other 16%

It’s interesting that twice as many men as women (36% – 18%) wanted to appear youthful at work or when looking for or starting a new job. Men were also three times more likely than women (22% – 7%) to say dating and/or a new relationship influenced their decision.

Another factor in driving demand for treatments is recent advancements in technology. The procedures and products are safer and more reliable. Plus, there are simply more options today in non-surgical treatments. Lasers, for example, didn’t even exist 10 years ago.

Still, the survey also unearthed useful information on concerns people have with treatments that go beyond costs.

Biggest Concerns with Cosmetic Treatments  
Paying for the procedure 52%
Fear of complications / bad results 48%
Concerned about long term effects 32%
Finding the right provider 31%
Recovery / downtime 30%
Don’t want to look like I’ve had work done 25%
Confused/unsure about right treatment options 15%

We can learn from this. Know going in that your patients will be anxious about complications and nervous about looking ‘unnatural’ following the treatment. While emphasizing the positives of treatments in pre-treatment assessments, don’t purposely shield them from the possibility of risks.

 

Survey Methodology:
“This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of RealSelf among 2,052 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 862 have had cosmetic treatments or are considering them in the next 12 months. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. RealSelf is the leading online marketplace for people to learn and share experiences about cosmetic procedures and connect with the right providers.”