Future Healthcare

Gender gap appears in cosmetic procedures

Annual statistics from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) have revealed a ‘surprising’ divide in aesthetic procedures between the sexes.

Men in 2017 eschewed almost all forms of body treatment – with procedures such as liposuction (down 20%), tummy tucks (down 12%) and ‘man boobs’ (gynaecomastia, down 7%).

They showed a marked predilection for facial procedures instead, such as eyelid and brow lifts surgery (up by 25% and 27%) and facelifts (up 16%).

Conversely, women’s choices were mainly focused on the body alone. The overall trend last year was to shun facial treatments – female facelifts declining by as much as 44% and brow lifts drooped by 31%. Breast augmentation perked up by 7% and remains the most popular procedure.

BAAPS, which represents the clear majority of NHS-trained consultant plastic surgeons in private practice, ascribe this change as indicative of changing societal trends.

BAAPS president and consultant plastic surgeon Mr Simon Withey said BAAPS’s 2017 audit of procedures done by its members also offered valuable new insights into the extent that Britons’ online personas may be driving offline behaviours.

Consultant plastic surgeon and former BAAPS president Mr Rajiv Grover, who compiles the annual audit, explained: ‘For men, the media’s adoption and celebration of the more natural looking “dad bod” is possibly a driver in this interesting trend, shifting the focus to the face rather than the body, in contrast to recent years. This shift has lessened the pressure to sport a sculpted figure and instead, accept a bit of roundness or softness. Society unfortunately has a history of being more forgiving towards men’s physiques than women’s.’

So why the body trend in women? BAAPS suggested one reason might be developments in social media. Millennials are expected to take as many as 25,000 selfies in their lifetime and more than half of women admit to enhancing every photo they ever post.

Mr Grover continued: ‘The advent of myriad filters in social media platforms allows for the ubiquitous enhancing and facial feminising of “selfies”. However, there are fewer options to reach online “fitspiration” when it comes to body goals.’

He suggested it is also possible that fashion may also play a part; for example, the growing trend of activewear such as yoga pants and Lycra leggings being worn in everyday life, perhaps demanding a more toned shape.

‘Both of these factors may potentially be the reasons why women’s focus for cosmetic surgery in 2017 has shifted from their face to their body in order to address the stubborn areas that neither diet, exercise, nor filters can reach.’

It is also known that women prefer and post more portrait photos with direct eye contact, while men prefer more full body shots – but viewers are likely to be kinder to men.