In the 21st century, plastic surgery has become increasingly popular, particularly among younger adults, as social media platforms have created a new cultural norm of constant self-presentation and image management. Cosmetic procedures have become a tool for individuals to enhance their appearance and maintain a desired online persona, often with the goal of gaining popularity and approval on social media (more likes). This intersection of plastic surgery and social media has raised concerns about the impact on younger generations and the ethics of these procedures.
The rise of social media has created a new kind of pressure to maintain a certain image, particularly among younger adults. The constant exposure to filtered and curated images on platforms such as Instagram and TikTok has created a culture of comparison and unrealistic beauty standards. Younger adults are particularly susceptible to these pressures as they are often still developing their sense of self and identity. As a result, plastic surgery has become a way, and often the only significant way, for individuals to achieve a certain appearance and conform to these beauty standards.
One of the most popular procedures among younger adults is rhinoplasty, or nose reshaping. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported that in 2020, rhinoplasty was the third most common cosmetic surgery procedure among individuals aged 20-29. This trend is likely influenced by the popularity of selfies and the desire for a more symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing nose. Similarly, breast augmentation and lip fillers have also become increasingly popular among younger adults, often as a way to enhance their appearance in photos.
However, the trend towards plastic surgery among younger adults has raised ethical concerns. Many argue that younger adults may not fully understand the risks and long-term consequences of these procedures. Moreover, there is concern that social media may be exacerbating body dysmorphia and other mental health issues, leading individuals to seek out plastic surgery as a solution. In extreme cases, individuals may even develop an addiction to plastic surgery, constantly seeking out new procedures to improve their appearance. However, because the unrealistic expectations are never met, this in turn creates a cycle of feeling less and less pleased with one’s self image.
The new social media culture has clearly led to a democratization of beauty standards. In the past, only the wealthiest sectors of society had access to plastic surgery. However, today, procedures like Botox and fillers have become more affordable and are accessible to a wider audience. Additionally, increased access to more affordable international travel and medical tourism, such as from the US and Canada to Costa Rica, has helped as well. This has led to a more homogenous ideal of beauty, as individuals can now conform to a certain standard with the help of plastic surgery. It also raises concerns about the erasure of diverse body types and features, as more individuals seek to conform to a narrow ideal of beauty. Which highlights the importance to never forget that beauty comes in many different shapes and that we all are beautiful inside no matter how we look in the outside.
We live in a new cultural norm of constant self-presentation and image management. While cosmetic surgery is the most significant way for individuals to enhance their appearance and feel more confident about themselves, it also should be taken seriously for the long term impact it has, especially in younger people, often at higher risk of falling prey to the homogenization of beauty standards.
At Universal Plastic Surgery, our surgeons pay special attention to the underlying needs of surgery and provide carefully considered recommendations that are in the best interest of our patients, ensuring that they achieve their desired look and feel.