Everyone has the right to beauty, says Dr Lisa Chan, who outlines a range of cosmetic procedures for all ages.
I’ve always believed beauty should be accessible to everyone, regardless of their stage in life. My own patients range in age from eight to 80 years old, and it’s interesting to see the span of aesthetic concerns across the generations.
Baby boomers (pre-1965) want to look as young and full of joy on the outside as they feel on the inside. They tend to seek cosmetic procedures to address visible signs of ageing, such as wrinkles, loss of volume, sagging skin and age spots.
Procedures can range from surgeries such as facelifts (rhytidectomy) and eyelid surgeries (blepharoplasty) to non-surgical treatments such as botulinum toxin injections, dermal fillers, thread lifting, energy-based devices and laser therapies. Surgery may be more effective in severe cases of skin sagging or where not many aesthetic treatments have been done previously.
Generation X (1965-1980) is more pragmatic when it comes to beauty procedures. Their goal is to age gracefully and they’re interested in looking healthier and fitter. Surgical procedures in this age range include eye-bag removal, breast augmentation, liposuction and tummy tucks.
This group shows a preference for non-invasive procedures such as botulinum toxin and dermal fillers, which can help smooth out dynamic wrinkles and restore facial volume without the need for surgery. High energy-based devices and thread-lifting can also help to tighten early sagging skin and stimulate the growth of collagen. Besides contouring of the face and body, other areas of concern include skin pigmentation and hair loss, which can be treated with a variety of creams, lasers and light therapies.
Millennials (1981-1996) are an influential group in the beauty procedure market. This generation is more open to sharing their cosmetic journeys on social media. They’re proactive about health and wellness, viewing cosmetic procedures as part of a broader self-care regimen. They tend to focus on preventative treatments and non-surgical procedures, reflecting their desire for minimally invasive solutions.
According to the Aesthetic Plastic Surgery National Databank Statistics, millennials are particularly interested in botulinum toxin to delay the onset of wrinkles. Other minimally invasive procedures include mesotherapy (fat dissolution injections) and laser hair removal, as well as skin treatments like chemical peels and laser skin resurfacing. Common issues include warts, excess fat, acne, scarring, pigmentation and unwanted hair.
Generation Z (1997-2010) is the newest group to enter the beauty-procedure market. Although many are still too young to be significantly active in this sphere, early trends suggest a focus on self-expression and individuality. They prefer to enhance their natural features rather than conform to a specific beauty standard, and are more likely to display gender fluidity without subscribing to typical male or female characteristics.
Gen Z is more concerned about affordability and cost-effectiveness. Procedures include light therapies to improve skin radiance, minimise the appearance of scars and injections or microwave energy to reduce excessive sweating. Natural-looking results are important and there’s a heavier focus on minimally invasive methods for dark circle reduction, nose jobs and lip fillers.
Generation Alpha (2010 onwards) occasionally get seen in my clinic and their parents are mainly concerned about acne, scarring, moles and warts. Parental education is necessary to improve compliance to medications, creams and knowledge on post-surgical wound care.
A comprehensive consultation with a thorough discussion of risks, benefits and realistic outcomes is necessary in all age groups, especially as there may be pre- existing medical conditions that need to be taken into account.
As I age, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of holistic and preventative approaches. Skin health and a natural result should be paramount, and lifestyle factors including sun protection and a healthy diet will be essential to maintain results.
DR LISA CHAN, MBChB (CUHK), MScPD (Cardiff), PgDipPD (Cardiff), PGDipClin- Derm (Lond), DipMed (CUHK), DCH (Sydney), is a general practitioner with a keen interest in aesthetic medicine. She also holds a Master’s in Practical Dermatology with Distinction at Cardiff University