60 is the new 40: cosmetic procedures for boomers and beyond are on the rise

SARA BAUKNECHT
Tribune News Service

If age is said to be a state of mind, then why not match your look on the outside to the way you feel on the inside?

A rising number of boomers and beyond are trying to achieve just that, with help from cosmetic procedures–especially nonsurgical ones with little or no downtime. In the past five years, nonsurgical cosmetic procedures (think injectables such as Botox and Juvederm Ultra) have increased by 93 percent for those 65 and older, reports the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. For surgical procedures, there’s been a 58 percent spike. In just two decades, the total number of procedures for this age group is up 1,263 percent.

“People are living longer and working longer. That is what I think really is driving this,” said plastic surgeon Leo McCafferty.

Ample information on TV and the internet has helped fuel curiosity, too. Plus, because of selfies, people have a heightened awareness of what they look like as the years tick by – particularly around the eyes and neck. In 2016, eyelid surgery (to correct drooping) and facelifts were among the top three surgical procedures for both the 51- to 64-year-olds and the 65-plus age groups, according to the ASAPS. (The other one was liposuction.) For nonsurgical options, Botulinum Toxin injectables (including Botox, Dysport and Xeomin) and Hyaluronic Acid injectables (Juvederm Ultra, Ultra Plus, Voluma, Perlane, Restylane and Belotero) were popular for both age groups, as well as nonsurgical skin-tightening procedures for 51- to 64-year-olds and skin-rejuvenating chemical peels for the 65-plus demographic.

More research and a better understanding by doctors of how the face ages has allowed for more natural-looking results.

“We used to think gravity was pulling everything down, so we pulled everyone tight. We saw all of the consequences of that – people looked pulled or really tight,” says Suzan Obagi, the president-elect for the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery.

What actually happens with age, she says, is the face loses bone. At the same time, fat tends to diminish around the cheeks, temples and jawline. This combination gives skin a sagging, deflated look and can make the eyes appear more hollow. The key to addressing these features is through a treatment plan that targets multiple areas of the face.

“If you look too full in one area, you’ll look out of balance with the rest of the face,” Dr. Obagi says. “If things are done correctly, nobody should know what’s been done on a patient.”

Beyond more traditional surgical and noninvasive procedures, one of the fastest-growing fields of surgery for women 50 and older is genital rejuvenation. Using lasers for vaginal tightening has aesthetic and medical impacts, Dr. Obagi says, such as aiding with urinary incontinence.

No matter what procedure a person selects, though, it’s important to do your homework.

“It’s important that people check credentials and make sure a doctor is board-certified and has privileges in the hospital,” even if the procedure isn’t being done in one, McCafferty said. Also, be cautious about receiving nonsurgical procedures at home parties or salons, where it can be more challenging to control the sterility of the environment and how products are stored.

“The key is don’t cut corners,” Obagi said. “You have the luxury of electing whether you want to do this or not, so you must do a good job of selecting who does this for you.” M55