Botox Is the New Lipstick


Cutting back on driving and lattes is one thing, but now Americans are letting things get out of control. Plastic surgery, gym memberships, and diet product sales are all down according to this article by Laura Petrecca. Is this really such a good idea? Aren’t we depressed enough? Let’s not get ugly.

Put Down Your Scalpel

According to a recent survey by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, more than 50% of plastic surgeons are experiencing a slow down. Liposuction and breast augmentation -staple of the industry were down 30% percent in the first quarter San Diego’s Scripps Mercy Surgery Pavilion. People are reluctant to spend the money on procedures, and they also watching those personal days. Few can afford extra days off at work to recover from a major facial overhaul.

Does this mean my local medi-spa will soon run a special on Botox?

As reported in the LA Times, cheaper procedures like Botox and Juvederm increased by 7% in 2007. I’ve always read that lipstick sales held steady during the great depression. Women needed that inexpensive pick-me-up. If 60 is the new 40, then Botox and the other [relatively] inexpensive injectable enhancements are the new lipstick. 

Wide Economic Impact

Cosmetic surgery, which used to be the exclusive territory of the rich and famous, has gone the way of designer clothes and high end cars. Everybody does it. The desperate housewife next door has only to watch an extreme makeover on TV to get the idea that plastic surgery is not quite a luxury, but a necessity.

Cosmetic surgery doctors pulled in over $12 billion in fees last year. That doesn’t include nurses, anesthetists, operating rooms, materials and other costs, which nearly doubles the figure. 

“No one can have a practice built on the ultra-wealthy, because there aren’t enough of those people to go around,” said Dr. Robert Kotler, a Beverly Hills surgeon who specializes in the face. “The reality is that cosmetic surgery became popular when the middle class became enamored of it: flight attendants, professional people, businesswomen – people whose appearance is important to them.”

The good news about this weak economy is that our weak dollar makes our plastic surgeons more attractive to the international crowd. Outside of LA, doctors are looking to diversity into reconstructive surgery, which is often is covered by insurance.

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As for me, I’ll be sticking to lipstick for now. And no, that’s not a euphemism for Botox. Not yet.