Study: One in Five Women Is Seriously Considering Cosmetic Surgery

Elective cosmetic treatments are becoming more acceptable, popular among women with body dissatisfaction

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Maybe it’s our selfie obsession, but bodily dissatisfaction is driving more women to consider plastic surgery to get the results they want.

Twenty-one percent of women are currently pursuing or planning to pursue plastic surgery, according to a new study commissioned by RealSelf, an online community devoted to cosmetic procedures.

In addition, there’s an increased interest in all types of elective procedures.

“We were surprised that among women 25 to 34 years old, 86 percent said they were interested in seeking help for a body area of concern beyond the beauty counter, which includes spas all the way to plastic surgeons,” Tom Seery, founder and CEO of RealSelf, tells PEOPLE.

The study, which was conducted by an outside market research firm, surveyed 5,035 U.S. women between the ages of 18 to 64 and found that the trend to seek help from a cosmetic physician has risen more than 200 percent among respondents who say they are unhappy with at least one area of their body.

And much of that group is made up of young people. A staggering 90 percent of women ages 18 to 24 report being unhappy with at least one body part.

“The younger bracket is super influenced by reality TV and what kinds of bodies they are seeing presented,” says Seery, alluding to the study’s finding that 41 percent of women in that age bracket learn about treatments from reality TV shows. “They think, this is what appearances are today and the aspirations we should have to look our best.”

But if hating your love handles is nothing new, why are so many more women considering cosmetic procedures? Consumer attitudes may be changing thanks to advancements in technology and the introduction of non-surgical procedures that are less invasive and cheaper than traditional plastic surgery.

Take cool sculpting, for example, a liposuction alternative that has only been around for a few years that freezes fat to make it go away. “It doesn’t require any downtime and can be done in 45 minutes over a few treatments for just several thousand dollars,” says Seery. “We are seeing a lot of interest and growth in things like that.”

The RealSelf study seems to prove that the hush-hush stigma surrounding plastic surgery is slowly dissipating.

“This aspect of mainstreaming is validated by our data,” says Seery. “Through education, awareness and more comfort with this conversation, we re going to have to get over it and stop worrying so much about what other people are choosing to do to feel their best or be their best selves.”

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