If you had to guess which generation was getting more plastics surgery these days, what would you say? You may be surprised to learn that it's baby boomers who are booking more cosmetic procedures than ever.
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reports that over the course of the last five years, cosmetic procedures have increased by 93 percent for those age 65 and older. Experts believe it's due to several factors including affordability, accessibility, age discrimination in the work place, social media and even public perception.
"It's not taboo anymore," said Dr. Mayli Davis, MD, of Advanced Eyelid Surgery Center in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
"Thanks in part to social media and reality television, people don't feel like they need to be ashamed about wanting to look and feel better and taking action to do so," she said.
Eyelid Surgery a Popular Choice Among Older Americans
Last year, eyelid surgery was one of the top five cosmetic surgical procedures for adults, according to the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and it was in the top three for those age 51 and older. Common reasons for eyelid surgery include droopy eyelids from excess or sagging skin, bags under the eyes and even vision problems caused by hooded or drooping eyelids.
Davis specializes in eyelid procedures and explained that it's one of the most popular ways to look younger and more alert for good reason.
"Your eyes are usually the first thing people notice about you," she said. "They tell a lot about you, but sometimes you may look tired or older from something simple like excess or drooping skin around the eyes."
What Happens to Skin as We Age?
It's no surprise that skin changes as you age, but what exactly causes these changes?
"There are actually processes that occur on the outer layer, the epidermis, and the middle layer, the dermis, that cause these changes as we age," Davis said.
The epidermis stops shedding dead skin cells as rapidly, and its ability to retain moisture weakens. In the dermis, which is responsible for keeping skin firm and full, collagen begins to break down and is much slower in building back up, and subcutaneous fat is lost. These factors, along with many others, cause skin to be thinner, drier and less firm.
There's no way to stop aging - yet. But you can take steps to minimize the effects of damage that can occur as a result of UV radiation, dryness, unhealthy diets and environmental pollution.
What If You Feel Younger Than You Look?
If you've often felt younger than you look, you're not alone. According to data from Pew Research, the average baby boomer feels nine years younger than they actually are. Not only is this frustrating on a personal level for many older Americans, but it can also make their professional lives more difficult.
Regardless of the rules and regulations around age discrimination in the workplace, older Americans report that it's a very real problem for them. Changes in the economy mean that the number of Americans who plan to retire by age 70 has declined.