78766987Despite the current economic climate, The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has reported that there’s been an increase in cosmetic surgery procedures among patients of color. In 2008, cosmetic procedures for non-white patients increased 11 percent while procedures among white patients dropped 2 percent. Latino’s comprised the largest increase, going up 18% since the prior year.

According to The ASPS, the most commonly requested cosmetic procedures for all cultural groups were Botox, injectable fillers and chemical peels. To be specific, Asian Americans made up 7% of minimally invasive cosmetic procedures; African Americans made up 8 percent and Latino’s, a whopping 10% since last year alone. ASPS President John Canady, MD speaks on this new trend…

“We’re seeing a rise in Hispanics opting for cosmetic procedures that coincides with the growth we’re seeing in the nation’s population. Less social stigma, as well as, advances in procedures allow patients to maintain their ethnic look. While the majority of patients continue to be Caucasian, the profile of the typical patient is changing.”

Although the ASPS seems to advocate that their patients seek to maintain some semblance of “ethnic purity,” it’s easy to speculate the real cause for the increase in cosmetic surgery for non-whites in this dire economy. One thing is for sure; there have been a number of advances that make it safer to treat pigmented skin. And it is highly plausible that the rise of Latino procedures directly reflects their rapidly growing population in the U.S.

Nonetheless, this new statistic is enough to give us pause and consider the implications.

Has the stigma of plastic surgery really started to diminish in certain cultures? Do women of color feel extra pressure to measure up to the European standard of beauty to compete for jobs in this stressful fiscal climate? There are surely more than a few factors that have led to the growth in these procedures, but in the end, what does it really mean?

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