By: Katharine Griffiths
Created on 07th June 2010
The latest statistics show a record number of over 60s indulging in nips and tucks. We investigate the growing penchant for plastic surgery among UK pensioners
Even a decade ago, an OAP conjured up images of a blue rinse accompanied by twin set and pearls. But now there are a growing number of women over 60 acting as wrinkle-free role models. No longer do older women have to give up on a radiant complexion and toned tum in their twilight years, as a growing number of women are discovering.
A recent survey has shown a huge increase in over 60s indulging in nips and tucks, with over 15 per cent of Botox patients in the UK now in the 60+ age bracket. Influencing factors include longer lives, bigger bank balances and a plethora of senior celebs looking bikini beautiful.
Statistics released from Transform show that as well as hitting the Botox, the number of pension-aged women indulging in dermal fillers, skin peels, breast implants and facelifts also have increased by a third. Figures from Bupa Hospitals similarly reveal that older Britons are turning to cosmetic surgery - nearly one in ten people undergoing procedures are now over 61.
Silver surgery is booming as the older generation prove that looking good is no longer the domain of the young. It's not just about covering up grey hair these days; more and more Britons are choosing to roll back the years with cosmetic surgery.
"Over the last five years there has certainly been an increase in patients over 60 seeking advice on treatments," says Dr Simon Withey of London Plastic Surgery Associates. "Patients of 60 are not elderly; they are still active, many work and most are medically very fit, which means patients' self-esteem, aspirations and expectations are greater."
Harley Street-based aesthetic nurse Hannah Flindle agrees: "We have definitely seen an increase in the number of requests from women over 60 looking for non-surgical solutions to combat their ageing. Enquiries are up around 20 per cent on last year in spite of the recession."
Top procedures for this age group are eyelid surgery, facelifts and brow lifts, as well as noninvasive facial rejuvenation to regain a youthful appearance. This is closely followed by tummy tucks, liposuction and breast surgery.
"Year on year there has been a steady rise in the number of over 60s seeking face and neck rejuvenation surgery," says Dr Stavros Eleftheriou of SurgicalArt. "We are now seeing a 15 per cent jump in enquiries when compared with this time last year."
However, surgery over 60 does come with increased risks. Undergoing surgery in later life comes with a greater possibility of complications, and the results can also be less reliable. The success of surgery among over 60s depends on the thickness and elasticity of the skin, as well as the patient's general health. However, a good cosmetic surgeon will consider your physical health, the type of surgery, and your expectations when recommending procedures that can help you achieve your goals. As with all surgery, it is essential that potential patients are equipped to make an informed decision.
Helen Williams, 62, says: "When my sagging skin and wrinkles really started to get me down and affect my self-esteem, my daughter actively encouraged me to take matters into my own hands." And indeed she did, with a facelift complimented with some dermal fillers. "Now I feel fantastic again. As well as looking younger, the boost in confidence has me feeling years younger too."
This is a common story in Eleftheriou's clinic. "Today's over 60s have increasingly healthy lifestyles, feel much younger than their years and want to reflect externally how they feel internally," he says. "This age group know what they want and have the funds to go about getting it. Many over 60s find themselves single again after bereavement or divorce and feel more confident to date again after their rejuvenation surgery."
And mere mortals are not the only ones getting in on the action. A plethora of stunning senior celebrity women, including Jane Fonda, Jane Seymour and Lulu, are leading the march to the surgeon's table. Even those who have not submitted to the scalpel are providing older women with a new ideal by flaunting their fantastic figures - who could forget the sight of Helen Mirren in that red bikini...
These gorgeous grannies peeking out from magazines, billboards and TV are largely responsible for driving a new demand for cosmetic treatments. However, women could not indulge without the necessary funds, and the recently retired undoubtedly have more disposable income than ever before, which is helping to fund the habit.
"I used to shell out a fortune on expensive face creams, hair cuts and manicures every month," admits Helen. "So indulging in a more permanent solution seemed to make good financial sense too."
"This age group do seem to have an increasing amount of disposable income and many are enjoying a new-found freedom after their children have left home," says Flindle. "These ladies want to maintain their looks and feeling attractive is important to them. I do think a majority have a celebrity with whom they compare their own ageing process. I hear the name Helen Mirren mentioned quite a
The continuous rise in the number of procedures carried out on over 60s suggests that even during the credit crunch women still want to look good and are happy to spend money on their appearance. People are now living longer than ever before, so a nip and tuck is an investment rather than a luxury.
In addition to having more time and disposable income, the improvement in the treatments on offer has also been a contributing factor in the rise of over 60s seeking surgery. A range of more sophisticated treatments, with fewer complications and a more natural result, have had women searching out accomplished surgeons.
Eleftheriou agrees: "Gone are the ‘wind tunnel' facelifts of the 1980s; surgery now aims to refresh rather than alter facial features. Innovations in surgical techniques combined with anaesthetic refinements means patients know they can now achieve subtle, natural looking results with reduced time under anaesthetic, which makes every procedure that much safer."
As treatments become increasingly sophisticated and women live longer, it looks like the trend for cosmetic surgery among those in their later years is likely to become more commonplace. Time to bin the twin set and pearls, ladies...