Debra Beasley, of Farmville, Virginia, needed something to restore her spirit and her attitude. She was fast approaching her mid- 50s and was increasingly bothered by the fact that it had really started to show. Debra believed that her face was looking haggard and tired, but she had put off visiting her dermatologist. She was not worried about actually having any cosmetic procedures, this was the exciting part; Debra, was worried about how her actions might be perceived.
“I didn’t want people to think I was conceited,” said Beasley, a fair-skinned African-American professional who takes pride in her appearance. Black women historically did not encourage visits to the cosmetic surgeon. “Once I got over that first visit, I started to feel better.” Her fear of what others would think quickly subsided, as no one pointed out her work, only that she was looking refreshed and renewed.
Debra’s story is not unusual. The African-American population is just one of the many groups that have shied away from the cosmetic surgery office, stereo-typically the place of white, upper-middle class women. That is all changing, though. Improvements in technology, decreased stigma, and the general desire to look good and feel their best, are the main reasons that black women like Debra are contributing heavily to the $11.8 billion cosmetic procedure business.
In 2010, 1,047,420 cosmetic procedures were performed on African-Americans, an increase of almost 10% since 2008. Most popular are less invasive procedures such as Botox Cosmetic, injectable fillers, and chemical peels. The top surgical procedures for Africa-Americans, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, were liposuction, rhinoplasty (nose job), and breast augmentation.
Changes in public perception have opened new doors for many people, who may have once feared the backlash for cosmetic procedures. Outspoken celebrities have helped to remove the stigma. Women like Wendy Williams, Janet Jackson, and Vivica Fox have been very open about their procedures. Real Housewives of Atlanta’s NeNe Leakes recently wrote an article for Essence Magazine about her dramatic improvement in appearance through cosmetic surgery. The remarkable benefits, and natural looking results, undeniably make cosmetic surgery a valuable option for anyone.