'Tweakments' and Botox: The Gen Z plastic surgery craze

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(NewsNation) — Gen Z is opting into plastic surgery procedures at record numbers, according to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Seventy-five percent of surgeons reported a spike in demand from clients under 30, as the popularity of Botox fillers, chemical peels, microneedling and other minimally invasive procedures booms among younger people.

Experts say the pandemic is one reason for this spike, citing the “Zoom Boom” as a driving force. The Zoom Boom refers to a nationwide spike in demand for cosmetic surgery in 2021, when many realized they were unhappy with their appearance after spending months looking at themselves on Zoom.

With nearly everyone using Zoom for school, work and socializing, the platform is partially credited with the pandemic-era decline in self-esteem, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

As people began returning to offices, interest in cosmetic surgeries and “tweakments” remained high, according to a trends report by the AAFPRS.

“In 2022, our members continued to see the impact of the ‘Zoom Boom,’ with 79% of respondents pointing to the ‘Zoom Effect’ as a major contributing factor in patients’ desire to seek treatment,” said AAFPRS president Dr. Theda Kontis.

An increase in disposable income during the pandemic also helped those wanting to try some form of cosmetic surgery, said Kontis.

According to Kontis, one of the factors plastic surgeons watch out for in younger patients is body dysmorphic disorder, a condition where a person sees a physical imperfection in themselves which starts affecting their lives.

“It’s something that just devastates them. And you have to be so careful that that isn’t the issue, because that’s more of a mental health issue,” Kontis explained. “Cosmetic procedures in these cases can be helpful.

“An ethical surgeon is going to say, leave it alone, that’s normal, that looks fine. Or if they do perceive it as something they can help them with, it’s a wonderful thing for mental health.”

Experts say social media is also responsible for the rise in elective cosmetic procedures. A study by the American Medical Association found increased engagement in social media correlated with increased consideration for cosmetic surgery, more so with the use of Instagram and Snapchat specifically.

The 2019 study was conducted before the popularity of TikTok, which has also been credited with the rise of Gen Z seeking cosmetic procedures.

“Research has shown that most people who undergo cosmetic procedures express satisfaction,” says Chicago plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Byun. “However, there is also a significant population of patients who have unrealistic expectations or have been previously unsatisfied with their surgery and have shown to have poorer mental health outcomes.”

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