Mr Nigel Horlock

Consultant Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon

Is Age Discrimination Driving Demand for Cosmetic Surgery?

These days, equality has improved drastically compared to how it used to be. However, discrimination isn’t totally dead. Women are still fighting to be treated equal within the workplace and a driving demand for cosmetic surgery is being led by age discrimination.

A preliminary report has shown that many patients seeking cosmetic procedures believe they’ve been discriminated against because of their age. Here, we’ll look at how age discrimination is driving the demand for cosmetic surgery.

What the latest cosmetic surgery study tells us

The new study carried out by the University of Pennsylvania is the first to look into age discrimination as a driver for cosmetic surgery. It surveyed 50 patients over the age of 18, at the university’s cosmetic surgery clinic. Two-thirds of these patients were undergoing anti-ageing treatments.

Over 30% of the participants claimed they had been discriminated against because of their age. They claim they have been treated poorly at restaurants and are treated with less courtesy and respect than others because of their age.

The study also found a link between self-rated health and age discrimination. It also found those who had experienced age discrimination, expected to face it again in the future. This ultimately leads to much lower self-esteem, which is what could be driving the cosmetic surgery trend in older patients.

Should patients be referred to mental health professionals?

The researchers are hoping the findings of this study will help dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons to better treat older patients. Those who are undergoing treatment because of age discrimination should be educated on the realistic results they can expect from the procedure.

In some cases, it may even be beneficial for surgeons to refer older patients to mental health professionals. If age discrimination is driving their need for surgery, it might not provide them with the results they are expecting. Any patient suffering from mental health issues should seek help before deciding whether or not surgery is right for them.

The importance of realistic expectations

Anti-ageing procedures can significantly help patients to feel much more confident. However, the results will depend upon numerous factors. No anti-ageing procedure is a miracle cure. They also don’t stop the natural ageing process.

Those who are seeking cosmetic surgery due to age discrimination might not feel differently about themselves after the procedure. This is something many older patients don’t understand. As well as changing the outer appearance, these patients would benefit most from seeking help for how they feel psychologically. Unless the emotional issues are addressed, cosmetic surgery is unlikely to help patients develop the increased self-esteem they’re looking for.

While cosmetic surgery can prove to be beneficial to older patients, this recent study highlights the importance of assessing the reasons behind why the patient wants the procedure. Cosmetic surgeons need to ensure the patient knows what to expect and how their experience with age discrimination might impact how they feel about the results. Going under the knife is a major decision and should only be done for the right reasons.


Mr Horlock's NHS practice is based in the regional plastics unit at Salisbury District Hospital. He covers Salisbury, Southampton and Dorchester. He sees patients in his private practice at Southampton, Salisbury, Dorchester.

CONTACT MR HORLOCK
Spire Southampton Hospital
Chalybeate Close,
Southampton,
Hampshire
S016 6UY
CLINIC APPOINTMENTS: 02380 914 504
Julie Martin: 02380 764 969
info@nigelhorlock.co.uk