Most Botox patients get the injections to look better at WORK

Most Botox patients get the injections to look better at work

Most Botox patients get the injections to look better at WORK because they think it gives them a competitive edge, survey finds

  • A Northwestern University team carried out the first multicenter poll of cosmetic surgery patients
  • They found the most common reason for patients getting Botox was to look ‘better’ in a professional context
  • Only a minority of respondents wanted it for themselves, rather than for others

The boom in Botox is being driven by patients wanting to look better at work, a small survey has found. 

Demand for minimally-invasive cosmetic surgery is rocketing in the US: a staggering 15.4 million procedures performed in 2016, and early tallies suggest that figure was easily eclipsed in 2017.  

To get a better idea of the trend, researchers at Northwestern University polled 511 people to get an idea of what’s motivating them, in the first multi-center observational study ever performed.

They found one of the most common reasons for patients getting Botox or fillers was to look ‘better’ in a professional context, while those who wanted the procedures for themselves were in the minority

Dishearteningly, the vast majority (69.5 percent) had turned to cosmetic surgery ‘not simply to look attractive, but to address serious psychological and emotional issues’.

A Northwestern University team found the most common reason for patients getting Botox was to look ‘better’ in a professional context. Few wanted it for themselves, rather than for others

Lead author Murad Alam, MD, a dermatology professor at Northwestern in Chicago, urges clinicians to look at these findings as a red flag that they should be identifying people who are adjusting themselves for the sake of others, and to try to defer treatment in favor of psychological counseling. 

‘Patients seeking cosmetic procedures were found to be motivated by factors much more complicated than vanity, including impairments in emotional, physical, social, and professional quality of life,’ Dr Alam and his colleagues wrote in the study, published today in the dermatology section of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

While previous studies about patient motivation have stuck to categories laid out in other published reports, this was the first to create new categories based on emerging trends and interviews with patients. 

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After speaking to each patient, they broke down the reasons for cosmetic surgery into a few broad categories: cosmetic appearance, emotional wellbeing, social wellbeing, physical health, success at work or school, and cost/convenience.

Aesthetic appearance was easily the most common reason, including the desire to have ‘clear-looking, beautiful skin’ and ‘a more youthful, attractive appearance’.

Psychosocial well-being was another common reason. Many said they wanted to feel happier or better overall, to improve their quality of life, or to feel rewarded. 

More than half of patients said they got the procedures to look good professionally (261 of 476, or 54.8 percent). 

More than a quarter (26.8 percent) said they believed it gave them an end of competition in their field of work.   

Dr Alam writes that there is a positive: clearly physical treatment can offer a boost for people suffering emotionally. 

However, cosmetic procedures are rarely – if ever – covered by insurance, putting patients in financial jeopardy, which could impact their woes.

They also carry severe risks, and perhaps defer acknowledgment of the patient’s underlying psychological issues.

Ultimately, Dr Alam and his team write, clinicians must continue cautioning patients that a simple injection may not solve all their problems.

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