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PST 005: Plastic Surgery and Careers — Read the Transcript

March 12, 2018

Read the full transcript of Plastic Surgery Talk Episode 5: Plastic Surgery and Careers

Listen to the full audio here

Welcome to plastic surgery talk, with Dr. Steven Mulholland, brought to you by SpaMedica.

Hello and welcome. Dr. Steven Mulholland here in Toronto, Canada. And we’re here at plastic surgery talk with our latest podcast installment. It’s often said that the motivation for men in cosmetic plastic surgery is what I call the B&B. Not the bed and breakfast, but the bedroom and the boardroom. And so a lot of men will be motivated by the desire to look confident, to look like they are decisive, like they should be trusted to make a decision in finance or business. Or managerial … to be taken serious. They want to look fresh, rested, youthful. Not have a double chin. And be slim and trim.

And so many men cite that as a reason for having their cosmetic plastic surgery. Increasingly I’m seeing men that would use the bedroom also. The second part of the B&B, the bedroom was part of their motivation. Perhaps they’re off of first or second marriage. They want to date again. Everything is so visual nowadays. Online dating,, Plenty of Fish, Tinder. It’s a simple right or left swipe. And people make visual decisions on who they’re going to date on appearance. So getting that right picture to post without the double chin, without bags, without hooded lids, to look definitive, to look confident, to look more attractive. Often men will turn to cosmetic plastic surgery.

When it comes to women, there are far more women doing cosmetic plastic surgery than men. So women do cite professional reasons more often than men, but it’s much, much more common that women would say they’re doing it for themselves or because they are recently divorced. They want to start dating and feel confident about their inter-personal relationships and their intimacy with themselves. It’s very rare for women to use cosmetic plastic surgery or cosmetic procedures and to describe their motivation as being outwardly job oriented.

Now millennials, young millennials will use career advancement, first job placement, as a reason to, let’s say, start with Botox. Little soft tissue fillers. So non surgical photo rejuvenation, because they realize the job market is very tough and that the better they look, the more likely the chance for that economic opportunity and that job placement is going to be.

So economics and plastic surgery, jobs and plastic surgery, never been more tied, never has the job market been more … or the dating market been more competitive and so visually oriented, so orientated and a quick decision, attractive or not.

What about the younger generations and career advancement and cosmetic plastic surgery. Well, the millennials, we’ll call them, let’s say those 35 year olds and younger, have adopted aesthetic treatments, the non surgical step treatments, faster than any other generation. In fact, in my practice, I call it the 10 and 10 phenomenon. That the injection age, the first age of Botox has gone down 10 years in 10 years. What used to be 41 is now 31. So why are these young people, with barely a line, getting injected with Botox, judeverm, doing photo facials, doing radio frequency tightening, lipo sculpting with cool sculpting or sculpture, or laser hair removal, or any cosmetic treatment. One strong motivating reason. Economics.

Its never been harder to get a job. Millennials complain about it all the time. They’re living at home longer. There’s more competitive job interviews, 10, 15 people showing up for the same job. And millennials know that the nicer the cover of the book, more likely the books tend to get read. So what does that metaphor mean? It means that if there are two people that show up for the job with the same degree, the same intelligence quotient, and one is classically prettier or more handsome, we all know study after study shows that they will likely get the job.

So in a competitive world, the young millennials have turned to cosmetic enhancement, rightly or wrongly, to get a competitive advantage on their peers. There’s been a tremendous growth in men and cosmetic plastic surgery for a number of reasons. Well over 100% growth over the last 10 years. Women are still about 90% of the cosmetic plastic surgery market, both non-invasive and invasive. But men are upwards of 10% in some procedures 20% of the business now. Why is that? Well, culturally and historically, men could typically get bald, fat, gray and portly and be perceived as attractive, because the aphrodisiac for the baby boomer and the older generation was power and money. You could have power and money and not be typically attractive or traditionally attractive as a male and still make it.

Now, attractive males with power and money, they were the captains of industry and often who we see in Hollywood and iconic figures on television. Increasingly though, I have seen in the younger generations, the young baby boomers and the millennials, that men are being subjected to the same superficial stereotypes of beauty and the beauty paradigms as women. And so we see far, far more men getting laser hair removal, looking after their skin with skin care, getting micro derm abrasion and peels. More men doing Botox so they don’t look angry. They’ll look a little smoother, soft tissue fillers for deflation, especially if they’re exercisers and they lose some facial fat. Far more men doing liposuction for love handles and 50 year old male boobies and double chins. And far more men getting hair transplantation and other surgical procedures that will help them be more competitive.

So increasingly men are being judged by their skin appearance, by their attractiveness, by their physique and their hair. And being subjected to the same biases that women have been subjected to for over 100 years. Call it justification or retribution or “Come up its”, or just a fault in our very superficial culture, that men and women, young men and women are being judged more and more equally on their appearance, as well as their intelligence.

Increasingly, we’re seeing this phenomenon of men and economics, men in the boardroom, cosmetic surgery and power and money linked together. In, for example, the Forbes face lift. What is a Forbes face lift? It’s a very strong jaw line. A confident, Newt Rockne, very George Clooney-esque jawline, which gives the secondary perception of power, of money, of control and of confidence. And so it consists of a mini lift of the jaw line, some liposuction under the chin to get rid of that double chin or waddle. Which gives the impression of mainly being a little less effective, perhaps being a little less disciplined, maybe a little more sloppy. These are the subjective impressions we project when we lack that strong, masculine, dominant, “I can take you anytime” jawline.

By the same token, the Forbes lift is really just along the jawline and neck. We do not want to feminize a man’s midface or upper face. We don’t want to create adorable cheeks or wide open eyes. That’s really a feminization procedure. So the Forbes lift is a very strong definitive jawline. The kind of jawline that you want the chairman of the board to have.

What are the top five or six male cosmetic plastic surgery procedures? Well, number one is hair transplantation, by far. Followed by a liposuction of the love handles, liposuction for gynecomastia, a rhinoplasty, liposuction for a double chin, upper eyelid hooding and lower lid bags. These are the top five or six treatments that men do surgically. Non surgically, laser hair removal, Botox, soft tissue fillers and non surgical liposuction, particularly sculpture and cool sculpting of the love handles. So men are quickly becoming players in the cosmetic plastic surgery and non-invasive space. I think we’re going to see men in plastic surgery get more and more common. I don’t think they’ll ever rival women as the dominant force in aesthetic medicine. But as the culture changes, as we men get judged more superficially and more harshly like women, when we look at statistics where 60% of all baby boomers, those men born between 1947 and 1964, upwards of 60% are divorced and want to start dating again. There’s going to be a drive and a desire and a motivation to get a few tweaks. A few tweaks that make you more attractive or more employable. It’s inevitable, it’s demographics and it’s here to stay.

Common also to see tattoo removal patients who have economic motivations to do so. Some shocking statistics. There are 50 million Americans and 5 million Canadians now with a tattoo. For the first time in recorded history, women outnumber men in the younger demographics. The millennials. Those under 40. With tattoos. The new face of a tattoo is not Sons of Anarchy or you know, Orange is the new Black. It has ceased to be felons and bikers years ago. It’s a young yuppie who made a college decision after a few shots of Jagermeister to get a tattoo. And it’s not surprising there’s a 30% regret factor within one week of that tattoo on most people. When the decision is alcohol infused and usually at the not most mature age of your life, you’re going to pick something you may not find that is ego syntonic or fits the gestalt in you as you get older.

Especially on exposed surfaces. So when you have a distal forearm or wrist, back of the hand, a neck, an upper chest, and that tattoo becomes visible or you have a summer party, summer picnic with the firm and the company and tattoos are exposed. When it’s not a tattoo that fits you and what you want to say, it may have negative impact in the job market. When you are, let’s say a cocktail hostess or a bartender in an establishment and having to expose your forearms, your arms and there’s a tattoo that just doesn’t represent who you are or the company, you may not be employable. And so, tattoo removal may become a part of your economic decision and job search. And we’ve never been in a better space with tattoo removal, with the new picosecond tattoos, the picosure, the picoway. In six to nine sessions, we can get 60 to 90 percent reduction and eliminate or modify areas or whole tattoos that just don’t communicate the message you want as an employable, young professional.

I’ll often question patients about their motivation for surgery. And if their motivation is purely to get a job, I think they really need to re-evaluate that motivation, because sometimes you can make all the changes in the world physically, and the reason you’re not getting the job is how you interview. It’s your personality. It is your training. And to place so much emphasis on the physical part of how you present, is usually going to be a disappointment. And so, the best motivation for cosmetic plastic surgery, you’re doing it for you to feel better about you. And if that helps you feel more confident during an interview, if it helps you maybe look a little better when being judged for that interview, as part of a package, it makes sense. When it’s the sole motivator that you’re doing the surgery so you can get a job, get an advancement, get a raise, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

And so, just like a patient that presents and says, “I really am not dating much. I need to change how I look so I can be more attractive to others”, the reason you’re often not attracted is not physical, it’s mental. So I’m a big fan of patients working on the internal aspects of themselves. Make sure they’re not depressed, you’re not bereaving the loss of a loved one or a marriage, and that you have a healthy sense of self worth and that you’re doing it to enhance your life in a meaningful but small way, but your entire life, your entire economic prospects are not resting upon a cosmetic plastic surgery procedure.

So thank you for joining us here at plastic surgery talk. I’m Dr. Steven Mulholland here in Toronto, Canada. And if you enjoyed our podcast today on plastic surgery, economics and the job market, please share it across all your social media channels. And we look forward to seeing you back really soon.

Dr. Stephen Mulholland, MD
Posted by Dr. Stephen Mulholland, MD
has been practicing plastic surgery for over 20 years. He is one of Canada’s most renowned and best plastic surgeons in Toronto with his wealth of experience, artistry, and humbleness towards his patients.

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