About 1.1 million cosmetic procedures, both non-surgical treatments and plastic surgery, were performed on African-Americans last year, according to a survey released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).
Blacks accounted for about 8 percent of all cosmetic procedures conducted in 2011, a 6 percent increase from the previous year. This is quite notable since they belong to a minority once known for shunning plastic surgeries.
While there are still some pressure from the community and cultural stigmas, a growing number of African-American women are deciding to have cosmetic procedures and plastic surgeries.
Liposuction was the most popular plastic surgery among blacks last year, according to ASPS data. The procedure involves removing the “stubborn” fats that sit close to the skin and do not respond well to diet and regular exercise.
But unlike Caucasian women who want a slender appearance, most African-American patients express their desire to maintain their “curves.”
The second most popular procedure among black patients was breast reduction surgery in which the excess skin, fats, and tissue are removed through incisions made directly on the breasts.
In some cases, breast reduction is performed beyond cosmetic reasons; this is particularly true for women who are suffering from physical symptoms such as back and shoulder pain, discomfort, poor body posture, skin irritation, pain within the bra strap, and breathing problems.
If performed to treat discomfort, the procedure is more often than not covered by health insurance.
The third most popular cosmetic surgery was breast augmentation, which is the opposite of breast reduction. In this procedure, doctors use saline or silicone implants to augment the bust size of their patients.
While body contouring surgeries are increasingly becoming common among African-Americans, it seems not to be the case in facial rejuvenation procedures like Botox, dermal fillers, and facelift probably due to the characteristics of their skin.
The old saying, “blacks don’t crack,” may have some truth as their skin is not prone to “cracks” that cause wrinkles and fine lines. And because they have more melanin, which is a skin pigment that protects them from the harmful UV rays, and they produce more oil, they are less prone to skin aging.
But even a “strong” skin is not exempted from signs of facial aging, making dermal fillers, Botox injection, and microdermabrasion as the three most popular non-surgical enhancements among African-Americans last year.
Dermal fillers like collagen correct the gaunt appearance caused by loss of facial fats; Botox paralyzes the muscles to minimize the wrinkles and deep lines; and microdermabrasion removes the top layer of the skin to rejuvenate it.