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New Study Reveals One in Five Women Plan to Pursue Cosmetic Surgery.

As Consumer Attitudes Evolve and Access Improves to Trusted Information, Market Could Grow to Over $80 Billion

SEATTLE, Feb. 11, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- A new study found that among the 87% of US women currently unhappy with at least one area of their body, the trend to seek help from a cosmetic physician is on the rise by more than 200%.

The report, commissioned by RealSelf -the leading online community around elective cosmetic procedures-and conducted by a market research firm, explores the market of US women aged 18-64 who seek help beyond the beauty counter.

One in five women (20.2M) report they are currently pursuing, or are planning to pursue plastic surgery, with 7% of women having pursued it in the past. At today's rates, these women represent an estimated market of more than $75 billion. Additionally, the 24% of women who are planning to seek help to change a body part through less invasive means (via dermatologists and medical spas) represent more than $12 billion.

"While the total market has previously been calculated by the procedures performed in the past year, we can see that the total addressable market is actually far greater," said Tom Seery, CEO, RealSelf, who believes this is in part due to increased access to information and greater medical transparency. "As cosmetic procedures continue to become mainstream, millions of women are overcoming social stigma to pursue cosmetic changes they have been researching, often for years."

Younger women are most unhappy; acceptance comes with age As women age, they appear to be more likely to accept their perceived flaws. More than 90% of women 18-24 years are unhappy with at least one body part, compared to 85% among the 55-64 year range.

Despite the majority of women expressing unhappiness, less than half have invested in cosmetic help to change the appearance. Presently, 57% of American women 18-64 years old have not sought any help from retail, spas, dermatologists or plastic surgeons for products or services to change the appearance of a body part.

But 1 in 3 would consider it In addition to the 21% of women planning to pursue plastic surgery, the study found that more than 30% would be willing to go as far as a plastic surgeon's office to change the look of a body part.

The study found that young women, especially 25-34 year olds (86%) are most likely to pursue help to change a body part. In particular, they are also most likely to pursue surgery (40%). Future interest in pursuing help to change the appearance of a body part drops dramatically at age 45, with the exception of changes to the neck.

The research found that, regardless of age, race or ethnicity, women are more likely to be unhappy with their midsection than any other body part, with 65% citing their abdomen or back as their top problem area. Legs and thighs (49%), buttocks (45%) and skin (44%) follow.

Money and fear top barriers to considering cosmetic procedure Overall, the study found that 21% of American women would not visit retail, spas, dermatologists or plastic surgeons for products or services to change the appearance of a body part, no matter how unhappy with it they are.

One in four (25%) would stop at retail, but more than half of women (54%) are willing to go farther than the retail marketplace to change the appearance of a body part. Almost two-thirds (62%) of women who are willing to go beyond retail would be willing to go as far as plastic surgery.

Of those who would not see a plastic surgeon to change their appearance, the hesitancies and barriers cited are largely tied to debt (60%), with fear-driven barriers including fear of complications (58%), fear that it would hurt (51%), fear related to hearing negative stories (47%), fear that they might look worse (41%) and even fear that they might die (37%). Other hesitancies to plastic surgery include recovery/downtime (54%) and inability to find a doctor they can trust (40%).

Motivations center on confidence For those considering a cosmetic procedure, it isn't surprising that the top motivator across age, race and ethnicity is the desire to feel more comfortable with oneself (65%). One third (29%) of women considering cosmetic work cite a milestone life event as a motivator -- with a significant birthday as the deciding factor, rising from 30% in women 18-34 to 47% in women 35-44 and 66% in women between 45 and 64 years old.

When asked about how they expected cosmetic work to impact their self image, respondents identified their top expected outcomes:

1. Self-esteem

2. Overall confidence level

3. Overall happiness

4. Comfort having your photo taken

5. How you look when clothed

6. How you look when minimally dressed/naked

7. Your opinion of your sex appeal

8. Comfort posting pictures on social media

9. Confidence when center of attention

10. Sex life

Regarding the actual impact on women that completed the cosmetic work, the rankings remain largely the same, with sex appeal rising in the ranks, and pursuing romantic interests edging out sex life for a position in the top 10:

1. Overall confidence level

2. Self-esteem

3. Overall happiness

4. Comfort having your photo taken

5. Your opinion of your sex appeal

6. How you look when clothed

7. Confidence when center of attention

8. How you look when minimally dressed/naked

9. Comfort posting pictures on social media

10. Confidence pursuing romantic interests

Popular media influences consumer awareness With a growing number of treatment options leading to more consumer awareness of various cosmetic procedures, the study found that Internet (61%) is the primary source of treatment awareness across all age groups, followed by word-of-mouth (42%).

Increased focus on cosmetic procedures may also be related to the ongoing pop culture obsession with body image present in today's culture. Younger age groups are more likely to dial in to treatment awareness through popular media than are the older age groups. 41% of women 18-24 learn about treatments from reality TV shows, with older women more likely to learn from news reports and magazine articles.

Methodology This study was conducted via online quantitative survey from November 24 to December 2, 2014. Overall market sizing data included surveying a total of 5,053 women age 18-64 in the U.S. This sample included 2,140 nationally representative women, as well as sub-samples for African Americans (n=1,070), Asian (n=969) and Hispanics (n=874). All sample groups were reflective of national distributions for age (as provided by U.S. Census Bureau data) within their respective race/ethnicity. Within these sample frames, the error due to sampling for results ranges from +/-2.1% to +/-3.3%.

The study also included interviewing a subset of women in the U.S. age 18-64 that are willing to go beyond the retail counter to change the appearance of a body part. This component of the study included surveying a total of 2,200 women. This sample included 1,000 nationally representative women, as well as sub-samples of n=400 for each of African Americans, Asian and Hispanics. Within these sample frames, the error due to sampling for results was +/-3.1% among the national representation (n=1,000) and +/-4.9% among the race/ethnicity subsets (n=400)

Research was conducted on behalf of RealSelf by Zeitgeist Research. Respondents were contacted via online panel sample from Survey Sampling International (SSI).

About RealSelf Since its founding in 2006, RealSelf has created the world's largest community for learning and sharing information about cosmetic surgery, dermatology, dentistry, and other elective treatments. Our extensive collections of reviews, photos, videos and doctor Q&A make RealSelf the most trusted resource for those who are looking for help beyond the beauty counter.www.realself.com

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Date:Feb 11, 2015
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