Lahore (Muhammad Yasir) Cosmetic procedures once used to be exclusive to Hollywood. Actresses used to get their facial features enhanced by a plastic surgeon. Plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures were once the open secret of Beverly Hills and there were many negative connotations attached to the act of going to a doctor to look beautiful. Times have changed, cosmetic procedures whether invasive or non-invasive have become a part of the beauty rituals all over the world.
According to a study published by American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 18 million Americans went under the knife for beauty purposes in 2018. As compared to 2017, there have been quarter a million more people who went under cosmetic surgery. Thus proving that these procedures have become commonplace all over the country after years of being frowned upon.
The reasons for such a huge change lie in the excessive use of social media. According to a study published in Current Psychology (2019), females show an increased desire of going under cosmetic procedures if they look at pictures of people with artificially enhanced facial features. The females who spend excessive amounts of time on social media and have followed multiple beauty related accounts are more prone to this impact. The explanation is simple, social media portrays a false picture of beauty and since everyone is an influencer nowadays and seems to have achieved that perfect standard of beauty, everyone thinks that they can get it too with money and access. Such false standards of perfection also raise unrealistic expectations of what it means to be beautiful and thus enable feelings of inadequacy and ultimately depression. As a result, with each day people especially females are becoming desperate to look a certain way and they are rushing towards dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons.
People of Pakistan have also jumped on the bandwagon and there is proof that over the past decade, Pakistanis from upper middle and elite class are getting more and more interested in cosmetic procedures for beauty purposes. A dermatology clinic has become the new beauty parlor.
According to Dr. Sania Javed who is a dermatologist in Lahore, 80% of her patients come to her for cosmetic and beauty procedures such as microneedling, PRP facials and chemical peels and only 20% of them come for medical issues related to skin and are expecting a prescription.
Not only this, a thorough research by oladoc-a digital healthcare company based on their internal and google search data shows that overall there has been an increase in interest among the Pakistani population when it comes to beauty procedures. A very popular procedure is microneedling that dermatologists all over the country are performing. Google’s historical search data shows that the searches related to microneedling first started appearing in 2014 (Pakistan region) and since then the trend has only been going upwards.
A similar trend is seen when historical search data for Botox, an anti-aging procedure is analyzed.
As visible from the image, Pakistanis have been searching more and more for botox as time has progressed. There is a considerable increase after 2017 which directly collides with the rising popularity of instagram.
Another trend that actually got introduced by celebrities like Kylie Jenner via instagram was fuller lips. People all over the world started chasing the perfect image of full lips. Everybody wanted lips like Kylie Jenner and the trend has been hitting Pakistan as well. Lip fillers are used to enhance lips and Pakistan’s historical search data for keyword ‘lip filler’ shows a considerably increasing search volume since 2017.
These are just a few examples. Almost all cosmetic procedures have gained popularity in Pakistan. oladoc’s internal data shows that Pakistanis are not only becoming increasingly interested in these procedures, they are also willing to go through with full blown surgeries when it comes to achieve that ‘plastic perfection’. oladoc has multiple cosmetic surgeons on its panel and by tracking their appointment data it is evident that the year 2019 saw a 150% increase (as compared to 2018) in people who wanted to consult with these cosmetic surgeons. The year 2020 has seen an even bigger increase and given the COVID-19 situation, it is bewildering to see that people were still worried about getting cosmetic procedures and 50% more so than 2019.
It is great to see that the Pakistani community is moving towards a more sophisticated approach to cosmetic procedures and are now looking at medical doctors to help them achieve their beauty standards but is a tilt towards unnecessary invasive procedures really worth it? The answer to this question is simple, it is important that the masses are at least aware of the possible repercussions of such procedures and how they can produce disastrous results.
oladoc has been continuously working to make sure that the process of awareness continues for the common public of Pakistan and thus has been publishing expert authorized videos and articles on its Youtube channel and website blog. Pakistan’s journey to plastic beauty needs to be regulated and oladoc aims to play an active role in it.