Summary: China’s plastic surgery boom is likely just getting started. With a population as dense as China’s, there’s a huge opportunity for plastic surgery markets of all sorts to find success. And while those successes will, in all likelihood, continue well into the future, the reasons for this vary—and are quite specific to China itself.
Investigating China’s Plastic Surgery Boom
Plastic surgery is popular the world over, but almost nowhere quite like China. See, China’s plastic surgery boom is turning heads all over the globe. The world’s most populous country is quickly becoming one of the most popular for plastic surgery too. That’s both in an absolute and a relative sense. More and more people in China are getting plastic surgery.
There are several reasons for this. And it can help illuminate several worldwide trends to discuss this particular Chinese context. Because the desires motivating Chinese patients are not all that different from the desires felt by patients in South Korea or Brazil or the United States.
Of course, the specifics will change. And those specifics can be quite interesting and certainly illuminating.
How Old is Too Old?
China is certainly not alone in venerating youth. Brazil, for example, has a strong youth-centered culture. And, of course, many western nations will also venerate the smooth skin of the young. It’s an unrealistic preoccupation, really, but it’s one that is shared across many borders.
According to some reports about the popularity of plastic surgery in China, the desire to hang on to one’s youth is a primary motivator. Indeed, it’s not uncommon for men and women in China to look at age 30 as a kind of middle age, especially if the woman in question has gotten married and started a family.
It’s the rush to forestall this middle-aged status that turns many people towards plastic surgeons. That the ideal of beauty is unrealistic—in this case, as it applies to youth—does little to stop it from influencing the lives of people. For many women in China today, plastic surgery is among the best options to keep this new “middle aged” status at bay.
A Growing Middle Class
The Chinese economy is sometimes discussed in glowing or resentful terms, depending on how you feel about its government (and to be fair, the Chinese government is quite involved in the nation’s economy—but that’s an article for a different website).
This growing middle class has expendable income and, thus, more money to spend on something like plastic surgery. As the middle class continues to grow, the popularity of plastic surgery procedures inside China will likewise continue to increase.
The Most Popular Procedures
Among the most popular plastic surgery procedures in China have been facial procedures. These typically include:
- Facelift procedures
- Brow lift and forehead lift procedures
- Blepharoplasty (eyelid lift)
- Rhinoplasty (nose job)
- Mini facelift
The purposes of these procedures vary considerably depending on the patient. In some cases, the procedures are used for aesthetic purposes, in order to achieve a desired overall look. In other cases, the procedures are used to rejuvenate the face by eliminating lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging.
Finding a Qualified Surgeon
Unfortunately, as there would be any place with a booming market, there are certainly people out there who would take advantage of the popularity of plastic surgery in China. That’s why finding a highly qualified surgeon to perform procedures is an important task.
But it’s also not that different from the task as undertaken in the United States or Brazil. National accrediting agencies will be important (as will global ones) and online reviews are always helpful.
Why is Plastic Surgery So Popular in China?
Ultimately, there are several reasons why plastic surgery is quickly becoming more popular in China. Likely, there are a variety of factors all conspiring at a single moment to create this boom. At a glance, those factors include:
- Increased popularity of Western entertainment and culture, leading to a more westernized ideal of beauty and attractiveness
- A bigger, more influential middle class
- Ever changing notions of aging and the definition of middle aged
- Larger trends within the medical community
- The availability of less expensive cosmetic treatments, such as injectables
The boom in plastic surgery in China certainly has some downsides. Some communities are coming to grips with issues such as fraudulent surgeons or plastic surgery addiction. And there is also added pressure to fit very narrow definitions of beauty.
But it’s unlikely that the popularity of these plastic surgery procedures is going to go anywhere. The bubble may diminish slightly, but it probably won’t burst. That’s because, for all it’s fault, plastic surgery is still one of the few ways to make certain changes to your look—and if you actually want those changes (for yourself), they can be quite effective and satisfactory.
To find out more about plastic surgery—whether you’re in China or a little bit closer to home (for us)—the best place for more information is a highly qualified plastic surgeon. China’s plastic surgery boom is just getting started—but it will likely have ramifications across the globe!