Is Social Media Behind the Rise in Cosmetic Surgery?

15 Apr 2016

New statistics from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons have revealed that over 15,000 Britons underwent cosmetic surgery in 2015, a big increase of 13% over the previous year. The statistics are of particular interest when looked at in conjunction with another survey on social media habits conducted by Privilege Home Insurance which revealed a number of useful and revealing insights.

A staggering 6.9 million UK users (one in five of the total social media audience) admit to feeling dejected when looking at posts online, with one in ten revealing a sense of embarrassment when a post of theirs does not receive a number of likes, retweets, comments or shares. Many have even gone as far as deleting such a post.

Image seems to be of increasing importance with nearly 20% of users admitting that they would only post a photo of themselves online if they looked good, with 7% only ever putting a photo up after retouching the image and using filters. Is this constant search by social media users for validation behind the recent rise in cosmetic procedures?

Celebrity social media too must also be having an impact. With 58 million followers on Instagram, Kylie Jenner has undergone a whole host of cosmetic surgery and she’s only 18. Procedures include work on her face, bum and lips and you can see her influence if you walk down any high street, with many ‘Kylie clones’ everywhere wanting to look like her.

The statistics from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons reveal that the most popular procedure for women is breast augmentation, the number of these procedures rising 12% from 2014. Breast surgery, once associated with oversized spherical implants worn by the likes of Jordan (AKA Katie Price) are now much more likely to be natural and in proportion enhancements.

Former British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons President and consultant plastic surgeon Douglas McGeorge said that younger people in particular “…don’t feel as concerned about having surgery as they might have in the past. It doesn’t normalise it, it just means that the barriers that were historically present have been lowered so more people would consider it i.e. there’s nothing wrong in having an aesthetic procedure. If you go back a generation, there was almost a guilt attached to having an aesthetic procedure, whereas now, if you have a problem, we know that medicine can address it; we know that the techniques are tried and tested and we know that the results are predictable and the complications are few.”

More details of the report by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons can be found on their website.