Although countless people have fully embraced the body positive movement and numerous brands have pledged to refrain from airbrushing their models, the data doesn’t lie. In 2017, one survey found that only 29% of women reported having a positive relationship with their bodies. And if 2018 plastic surgery numbers are anything to go by, it’s very clear that many patients are willing to go to great lengths to make improvements that align with society’s conventional ideas about what the ideal body should look like.
That’s right: cosmetic surgery is on the rise in the United States. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, there were 17.7 million such procedures performed last year — an increase of more than a quarter million from the year prior. Minimally invasive procedures are becoming more popular, which isn’t surprising when you consider that both accessibility and variety have increased. But the stigma surrounding plastic surgery in general has decreased in recent years, thanks to more patients and celebrities being open about the procedures they’ve had performed.
By and large, body shaping procedures are still the most popular. What’s more, less invasive procedures tend to outnumber the more drastic transformations. Botox, fillers, chemical peels, and laser hair removal procedures are now more popular than conventional surgery. With a laser hair removal session to treat the legs or back taking only 30 minutes, it’s easy to see why such procedures are growing in popularity. But although non-invasive treatments like Coolsculpting have been found to be highly effective, reducing subcutaneous fat by up to 25% after just one treatment, some patients would still rather go under the knife than opt for something a bit less scary. Breast augmentation, liposuction, tummy tucks, nose reshaping, and eyelid surgeries are all extremely popular with patients last year, as were buttocks augmentation, breast lifts, and thigh lifts.
No matter what’s on the docket for the day, surgeons and medical spa professionals both may use equipment created through the Reaction Injection Molding (RIM) process — which involves mixing two liquid components and injecting them into a mold to cure — to perform these procedures. Both non-invasive and minimally invasive procedures may be done using equipment first formed through this or a similar process. But of course, patients are way more concerned with the final results on their face or on their body than the equipment being used to perform the treatment.
One thing is clear: we’re just as (if not more) obsessed with youth and beauty than ever. Some are blaming social media for the rise in cosmetic procedures, especially among millennials. Other young people cite job market competitiveness as their reason for getting these procedures performed. But whatever the reason, it’s obvious that this trend isn’t likely to taper off any time soon. Regardless of what the body positive movement would have you believe, there are still millions of Americans who want to make drastic improvements to their looks rather than accepting and loving the skin they’re in.