Is Cosmetic Surgery on the Rise Among Millennials in NYC?

Some people may call them crazy, but cosmetic surgery among millennials in NYC (people in their 20's and 30's) is growing every day. In fact, it's one of the demographics that is growing the fastest when it comes to cosmetic surgery procedures.

From breast augmentation to BOTOX® and almost anything else you can think of, millennials are taking advantage of the wealth of cosmetic procedures that are becoming increasingly available and affordable.

The question is why are millennials having so much cosmetic surgery? What are the most popular procedures they are having as young men and women?

In this article, we'll take a close look at what's driving the boom in surgeries and how these procedures are helping to improve lives. After all, who doesn't want to put their best face forward and get the body they've always dreamed of?

First, we'll cover the many reasons why cosmetic surgery among millennials has become so common. Then we'll dive into the most popular procedures we're seeing among his group.

The Celebrity and Media Effect on Cosmetic Surgery Among Millennials

Celebrities are in our faces all the time. From movies, TV, advertising to the internet, they are hard to get away from.

When is the last day you didn't lay eyes on a celebrity and think how perfect they look?

For some of us, it hasn't always been this way. But remember that millennials grew up in a time with constant bombardment of celebrity beauty. Who can really blame them for comparing themselves against this high bar of perfection?

When many millennials look into a mirror, they want to see the same perfect beauty that surrounds them everywhere they look.

While some parts of the body can be changed or improved by diet and exercise, others can't. What's more, sometimes they just don't have the patience to put in all the work required to get that rock-hard body.

In these cases, cosmetic surgery can provide a sort of "instant gratification" that can't be replicated by any other means.

More on this later.

When looking at the rise in cosmetic surgeries among millennials in NYC, the celebrity and media effect can't be ignored.

The Social Media Effect

You may not believe this statistic, but it's true. Millennials spend almost 18 hours a day consuming media -- and it's mostly content created by their peers on social media.

Eighteen hours sounds impossible! But it's not.

Millennials are always on.

While some of the 18 hours of consumption is media overlap (browsing Facebook while simultaneously texting friends and looking at Snaps), it's still a lot.

And it affects the way they feel about themselves.

Although many of us understand that social media doesn't accurately reflect reality, it still changes the way we think about our friends and ourselves. It's hard not to draw mental and emotional comparisons when so much time is spent taking in social media content.

That perfect selfie your friend just posted with her husband makes yours yesterday's news. Not to mention, it sure would be great to have her perfect nose and cheek bones.

Social media consumption leads directly to the desire to look better. What quicker way to make an immediate physical improvement than with cosmetic surgery?

The answer for many millennials is that one doesn't exist. 

While social media isn't the only reason for the rise in cosmetic surgeries for millennials, it plays a big role that can't be ignored.

Competition Between Other Millennials

It's true that social media creates a lot of competition between millennials. But it's not the only driving force.

Especially for millennials that are single, the huge number of online dating sites and apps create a stiff level of competition when it comes down to finding a fulfilling romantic relationship.

Especially among millennials in their early 20's, online dating usage has almost tripled within a 2 year period.

So how does that lead to an increase in cosmetic surgeries being performed?

Think of it this way: in the online dating world you have thousands of other profiles to compete with. As such, you have about one second to capture the attention of a potential mate before they scroll on to the next profile.

One second.

And what do you think you're being judged by when that perfect man or woman lands on your profile? It would be wonderful to think that it's the long and thought-out description of yourself that you've written.

In reality, if they aren't attracted to you in the first second or so of viewing your profile, they probably won't ever get to the meat of your profile that you've worked so hard on.

Popular cosmetic procedures can help you stand out from the online dating crowd. When you stand out, there's a much better chance to catch the eye of someone that could turn into a love interest.

This works the same in the "real world". Millennials tend to judge themselves physically against the people they see around them in NYC every day.

When it's time to make the desired physical changes, cosmetic surgery can make it happen.

Instant Gratification

For good or for bad, many millennials are all about instant gratification. A lot of this has to do with the technology they've grown up with and continue to use on a daily basis.

Say you're scrolling through your Instagram feed and see Kylie Jenner's beautifully "plumped-up" lips looking back at you. It only serves to remind you how much you hate your thin lips.

In an instant, you can jump online and immediately schedule a lip augmentation with a local NYC plastic surgeon.

Many modern day cosmetic procedures (such as dermal fillers and BOTOX®) are quite affordable and don't require much downtime. Many times they can even be scheduled within a few weeks.

This makes cosmetic surgery an extremely attractive option for many millennials who want what they want and want it now.

Don't misunderstand -- there is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking instant gratification, contrary to what some of the older generations may tell you!

Millennials Have a Sense of Entitlement

A lot of the entitlement millennials feel can be directly attributed to the high level of media and social media consumption we covered earlier in the article.

Millennials feel they deserve the best, and in many cases go out seeking it in any way they can.

When's the last time you saw a young person without a smart phone in their hand? It's pretty much all the time.

With all the browsing they do, a minor concern about small or mismatched breasts, or a flabby stomach can quickly turn into an all-out obsession after a few hours of internet browsing.

Generally speaking, past generations were not nearly as self-indulgent as millennials. Young people live by the belief that they have the absolute right to like everything they see in the mirror.

The growth in cosmetic surgery among the younger age group proves this point.


It's cheaper (and easier) to get cosmetic work done than ever before in history.

“The commoditization of cosmetic procedures, both surgical and especially non-invasive, is increasing due to Groupon and other daily deal aggregators,” says Dr. Edwin Williams III, President of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS).

Online "coupon" sites cause cosmetic surgery providers to compete for business. This lowers prices and makes it much more affordable to millennials living on tight budgets.

As of 2014 the average millennial in NYC was only earning an average of $23,500 per year. Fortunately, the average price for cosmetic procedures has reached a level where millennials can afford them without breaking the bank.

According to Dr. Williams and other AAFPRS members, the future of cosmetic procedures will have more of an emphasis on "early maintenance". These surgeries start in your early 20's and delay (or completely remove) the need for future, more expensive surgeries as you age.

Top 5 Cosmetic Surgery Trends for Millennial Woman

You may not know that millennials now make up the largest portion of the population within the United States.

There are now over 75.4 million millennials, surpassing the 74.9 million baby boomers.

Reviewing the most recent statistics from 2015, let's take a look at the most popular procedures being performed on woman within this population group.

1. Breast Augmentation

Breast augmentation is by far the single most popular procedure being performed on millennial women.

In 2015, 146,439 women had some sort of breast augmentation done.

There are many different types of augmentation surgeries being performed including:

  • Making breasts more symmetrical
  • Enlarging breasts
  • Restoring breasts to original size and shape post-pregnancy, breast feeding or weight loss
  • Restoring breasts after a serious surgery (like breast cancer) that impacted the size and shape

Many of these needs can be met by only one surgery. This helps explain why breast augmentation is the number one cosmetic surgery being performed on female millennials.

2. Liposuction

Liposuction is the most popular among all age groups combined, but comes in at number 2 for the female millennial generation.

In 2015, 110,669 liposuctions were performed on millennials. While not at the same level as breast augmentation, this is still a very high number.

3. Surgery on the Nose

Coming in third on the list is nose surgery, professionally called rhinoplasty.

The total number of nose surgeries performed in 2015 on female millennials was 67,563.

In general, this procedure is done for either cosmetic reasons or to correct breathing that is impaired due to the current structure of the nose.

4. Breast Reduction

Officially known as reduction mammoplasty, breast reduction surgery lands as the fourth most popular cosmetic surgery done on female millennials.

The 28,281 surgeries exclude men from the number and only include those done on female patients.

Typically this surgery is done to make breast size more proportional to a woman's body, or to help relieve the pain and discomfort women experience from having very large breasts.

A history of severe back pain is the most common reason why women get this procedure done. In many cases, this type of cosmetic surgery can be covered by insurance.

5. Ear Surgery

Female millennials had 13,882 ear surgery procedures performed in 2015. Typically these are done to correct the size, position or overall shape of the ears.

Top 5 Cosmetic Surgery Trends for Millennial Men

We can't forget men when it comes to cosmetic procedures.

Here are the top 5 procedures millennial men are having done.

1. Liposuction

Liposuction comes in at number 1 for millennial men, with 51,370 surgeries being performed in 2015.

Men have this done for many reasons, including fat removal from the stomach area.

2. Surgery on the Nose

Nearly half of millennial men value the size and shape of their nose as much as millennial women.

In 2015, 30,928 men had this procedure performed for a wide variety of reasons.

3. Eyelid Surgery

This procedure can be done to minimize the bagginess from lower eyelids while also removing excess skin from upper eyelids.

It can also be done to help improve overall eyesight. Eyelid surgery was a popular procedure in 2015, with 30,696 millennial men undergoing it.

4. Male Breast Reduction Cosmetic Surgery

Many millennial men have breast reduction done for the treatment of gynecomastia -- an overdevelopment of the male breast due to an excess of estrogen in the body.

You may not have known that men get breast reduction surgeries done, but in 2015 30,464 millennial men did just that.

The procedure typically takes 1 to 2 hours, and men can return to work within a week.

5. Facelifts

Wrinkles can start early in life, and don't discriminate based upon gender. As such, 13,726 millennial men had facelifts performed in 2015.

These typically require sedation and are one of the most invasive cosmetic procedures.

It's All a Matter of Personal Preference

As millennials, you want to look good. There's no shame in that.

Cosmetic surgery is a great way to personally shape yourself into the individual you want to be.

While these procedures certainly aren't for everyone, talking with us about your personal preferences and goals can help you make an informed decision that can help improve the rest of your life.

When you're ready, we'll be here to get you started.