The Results Are In: The U.K. Aesthetics Interest Survey

U.K. Aesthetics Interest Survey Reveals 40% of U.K. Adults Are Considering a Cosmetic Treatment in the Next 12 Months, Outpacing the U.S.

The Results Are In: The U.K. Aesthetics Interest Survey

1024 512 The RealSelf Team

In case you missed it, RealSelf shared a press release last month revealing the results of the U.K. Aesthetics Interest Survey. Conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of RealSelf, the survey took a close look at which surgical and non-surgical treatments consumers are considering and what influences their decisions.

Top level results:

  • Just over 3 in 4 U.K. adults (76%) want to change at least one part of their body
  • U.K. millennials are nearly three times more likely to have had a cosmetic procedure in the past than adults 35+ (40% vs 14%)
  • More U.K. adults are considering non-surgical cosmetic treatments than surgical treatments; interest in both is significantly higher among millennials
  • Fear of complications or a bad result is the top concern among those who would ever consider a cosmetic treatment

Interest in medical aesthetic treatments is piquing in U.K. society. 40 percent of U.K. adults are considering a surgical or non-surgical cosmetic treatment in the next 12 months, with 37 percent considering non-surgical treatments and 22 percent considering surgical. The number of U.K. adults planning a cosmetic procedure in the next 12 months slightly exceeds that of U.S. adults (37 percent).

Millennials appear to be driving the U.K.’s high interest in aesthetic procedures. Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of adults 18-34 are considering non-surgical treatments in the next 12 months (vs. 28 percent aged 35+) and close to half (44 percent) are considering surgical treatments in the next year (vs. 14 percent aged 35+). This age group is also significantly more likely to have had a non-surgical or surgical cosmetic treatment in the past (40 percent) compared to their older counterparts (14 percent of those aged 35+). Though age appears to be a major variable, interest among men and women in the U.K. remains generally balanced. Only slightly more women (41 percent) than men (38 percent) are considering a cosmetic treatment in the next year.

“Younger generations are a key force behind the U.K.’s growing interest in cosmetic procedures, due in large part to the new technologies and treatment options that have made aesthetic treatments accessible to a wider audience,” said Dr. Lara Devgan, RealSelf Chief Medical Officer and board-certified plastic surgeon. “Many millennials look at cosmetic enhancements as part of their larger self-care routine, not unlike going to the gym or taking care of their skin. They are more open to the idea that beauty is a feeling of confidence rather than a particular physical feature, and it can be unique and customized for every individual. This survey reinforces the trends and motivations we see on RealSelf, where millions of women and men research treatment options and doctors in order to make confident decisions.”

Top Treatment Considerations Are for the Teeth, Tummy

Cosmetic dentistry (43 percent) and laser hair removal (29 percent) are the top treatments among adults in the U.K. who are considering non-surgical procedures, while tummy tuck (31 percent) and facelift (28 percent) are the most popular surgical treatments under consideration. Cosmetic dentistry tops the list for non-surgical treatments in both the U.K. and the U.S., but interest is significantly higher in the U.K. compared to the U.S. (36 percent).

U.K. adults considering cosmetic treatments also show greater interest in facelifts (28 percent) than those in the U.S. (16 percent). American adults are twice as likely to be considering non-surgical fat reduction treatments compared to U.K. adults (29 percent vs 14 percent).

Confidence Is the Number One Motivator

Motivations for cosmetic treatments are very similar across both the U.S. and the U.K. Among adults in the U.K. who have had cosmetic treatments or are considering them in the next 12 months, the top motivation was/is to improve self-esteem and confidence (43 percent). Other motivations are to look as good as one feels (35 percent) and to help with weight loss or fat removal (26 percent).

Appearance in the Workplace, Milestone Birthdays Also Influential

Life events also influence U.K. adults to pursue cosmetic work with three in five (60 percent) of those who have had a cosmetic treatment or are considering one in the next 12 months reporting a life event influenced their decision. This is significantly greater among men (70 percent) than women (51 percent). Work-related events were cited most often, with nearly one in four (23 percent) influenced by the desire to appear youthful at work and/or looking for or starting a new job, followed by a milestone birthday (18 percent), upcoming vacation (14 percent), and starting dating or a new relationship (13 percent).

Men are nearly twice as likely (19 percent) as women (10 percent) to say an upcoming vacation influenced their decision and nearly three times more likely to say getting divorced or ending a relationship influenced their decision.

Top Concerns: Fear of Complications or Bad Results and Cost

Among U.K. adults who would ever consider a cosmetic treatment, nearly all (92 percent) admit having at least one concern related to the procedure. The top cited concerns are fear of complications/bad results (53 percent) and paying for the procedure (48 percent). By comparison, the biggest concerns among U.S. adults are paying for the procedure (52 percent) and fear of complications/bad results (48 percent).

Body Areas Most Cited for Change: Teeth and Midsection

More than three in four adults in the U.K. (76 percent) want to change at least one area of their body, compared to 80 percent of U.S. adults. Adults from both countries cite teeth and midsection as the top body areas they want to change, but in different order. In the U.K., teeth (35 percent) and midsection (34 percent) top the list and in the U.S., the midsection (47 percent) leads followed by teeth (33 percent).

In both countries, women are significantly more likely than men to want to change their body in some way. In the U.K., more than 4 in 5 women (83 percent) want to change at least one area compared to 69 percent of U.K. men. In the U.S., 85 percent of women and 74 percent of men want to change their body in some way.

These findings support consumer interest trends observed by RealSelf, most notably the growing interest in non-surgical cosmetic procedures. In 2017, a record 94 million people visited RealSelf to research elective cosmetic treatments, and for the first time ever, half researched non-surgical treatments. To view the complete report, please visit

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of RealSelf from July 10-12, 2018 among 1,030 U.K. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 862 have had cosmetic treatments or are considering them in the next 12 months. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact RealSelf.