Tightening the belt does not mean giving up a trip to the plastic surgeon. Consumers may be finding it difficult to pay for increasing health care costs and grocery bills, but still popular cosmetic plastic surgery procedures rose during 2013, according to The American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Last year, there were more than 15 million procedures, including minimally invasive and surgical procedures performed in the U.S., according to the annual statistics. The largest spike, however, appeared in minimally invasive procedures, like Botox and fillers.
By Dawn Tongish
Botox or Paying the bills? Most would choose cosmetic surgery
Kristyn Cristafulli is doing everything she can to stick to her beauty plan. The Dallas-area mother makes room in her budget for a Botox pick-me up. She advises other women to do the same.
“I would say if that is going to make you feel better about yourself, then just go for it.”
It is becoming common practice among women and men who make a habit of putting Botox over bills. Experts say plastic surgery often wins out among consumers who can’t live without their trips to the cosmetic surgeon for minimally invasive treatments, like Botox or fillers. Some people are finding creative ways to finance the cosmetic surgery procedure they just can’t live without.
Luxury or Necessity?
For the fourth consecutive year, the overall growth in cosmetic surgery continues to be driven by a significant rise in minimally invasive procedures, while surgical procedures remain relatively stable. For many consumers, the quick lift from Botox or rejuvenation of a filler is no longer considered splurging on a special beauty treatment. “I think what people thought was a luxury is becoming a need rather than a want,” says Dr. Stephen Finical.
Dr. Finical, of Charlotte, North Carolina is seeing a new trend developing. He says patients are choosing minimally invasive procedures and getting creative to pay for what they want.
“I have ladies who come in and say they sneak it out of their grocery money, so he (husband) doesn’t know about it. But, the husband never complains when she looks good.”
The Price Of Beauty: Affordable
A trip to the salon is considered a beauty essential, so why not a stop at the plastic surgeon? Experts say because quick and easy cosmetic fixes like Botox don’t bust the bank account, women are willing to pay for the procedures, even when times get tight.
The statistics seem to bear this out.
Minimally invasive procedures include treatments such as Botox, chemical peels and laser hair removal. Last year, statistics show chemical peel treatments rose 3% from 2012, while the use of fillers increased just over 2%. By far, Botox was the most popular non-invasive treatment, rising 3%, with more than 6.3 million procedures performed in the U.S., according to ASPS.
The procedures are becoming part of the beauty routine, according to plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Grant. “They just include it in the budget, like a hair stylist or the salon; so the procedure is budgeted for like any other treatment.”
It makes sense, says Dr. Grant, who practices in New York City. He says many women are turning to the minimally invasive procedures because it means less down time and they’re also more affordable.
“They know they want to use Botox because it is reasonably priced compared to the other procedures, and there won’t be any time off work.”
There is also some information showing that consumers may be using surgical procedures, like liposuction, less because they have less discretionary income and it often isn’t covered by health insurance. Also, physical fitness could play a role in the choices people make about which cosmetic procedures they chose. Healthy patients tend to opt for more minimally invasive techniques before turning to larger surgical measures.