Plastic Surgery has always been a booming industry, with celebrities having a major influence over beauty trends. However, recently the concept of celebrity has somewhat changed, and social media personalities are gaining a bigger influence over current trends, particularly towards the UK's attitude on plastic surgery.
According to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), in 2016, cosmetic procedures in the UK had fallen by 40%. They suggested that financial constraints influenced this decline, while celeb-conscious fashion industry insiders suggest that this is linked to social media influencers' focus on "relatability" over appearance.
Writer and former model Natasha Devon, a co-founder of the Self-Esteem Team, stated, "The models who get booked are the ones with the largest Instagram following," and that top influencers such as Zoella were setting this agenda. Fellow co-founder, and entertainment journalist Nadia Mendoza said, "The vloggers and the "Insta-famous" have risen to the surface, and instead of trading on looks they trade on relatability."
Although cosmetic surgery may be declining in the UK, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) reported US cosmetic procedures had risen by 132% between 2000 and 2016.
Almost 31,000 cosmetic procedures were performed in the UK compared to a whopping 17.1 million operations in the US last year; despite the stark numerical contrast, there are similarities between the surgeries being performed. Breast augmentations remain highly popular, with 7,732 and over 290,000 surgeries performed in the UK and US respectively.
Plastic Surgeon Dr Forrest Roth believes that in the last 10 years, surgical and technological advances have created different approaches to procedures. Dr Roth offers three different types of reconstructive breast surgery, which is dependent on both patient health history and body type. Breast augmentations are also adapting in the UK, with the Private Clinic of Harley Street predicting that 2017 will see a rise in "low profile" breast implants, which offer a more natural look compared to the Playboy and Glamour model aesthetic of the past.
Mendoza also highlighted that celebrities such as Victoria Beckham, who choose to have their implants removed, "sends out a powerful message to fans". Indeed, as non-surgical procedures and make-up trends such as contouring offer an alternative to invasive surgery, there are now different options available as opposed to going under the knife.
However, the "natural" look is not necessarily the ideal aesthetic trend. In the US, buttock augmentations had risen by 26%, which could arguably be influenced by reality TV stars such as the Kardashians. Similarly, Mendoza stated that the UK's decline in procedures could be subject to change thanks to the influence of British reality TV stars, with many younger fans planning to undergo plastic surgery in later life. There is still something of a glamorous appeal to surgery, which fits in with the lifestyles of the rich and famous.
While both social media stars and the financial climate could be influencing the type of cosmetic procedure undertaken, technological advances have allowed plastic surgery trends to adapt over time, offering different procedures that produce better results.