Rise of Cosmetic procedures in Pakistan: Oladoc Shares some insights on Pakistan's Journey to Plastic Beauty

Islamabad:-Cosmetic procedures once used to be exclusive to Hollywood. Actresses used
to get their facial features enhanced by a plastic surgeon. Plastic surgery and cosmetic
procedures were once the open secret of Beverly Hills and there were many negative
connotations attached to the act of going to a doctor to look beautiful. Times have changed,
cosmetic procedures whether invasive or non-invasive have become a part of the beauty rituals
all over the world.

According to a study published by American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 18 million Americans
went under the knife for beauty purposes in 2018. As compared to 2017, there have been
quarter a million more people who went under cosmetic surgery. Thus proving that these
procedures have become commonplace all over the country after years of being frowned upon.

The reasons for such a huge change lie in the excessive use of social media. According to a
study published in Current Psychology (2019), females show an increased desire of going under
cosmetic procedures if they look at pictures of people with artificially enhanced facial features.
The females who spend excessive amounts of time on social media and have followed multiple
beauty related accounts are more prone to this impact. The explanation is simple, social media
portrays a false picture of beauty and since everyone is an influencer nowadays and seems to
have achieved that perfect standard of beauty, everyone thinks that they can get it too with
money and access. Such false standards of perfection also raise unrealistic expectations of
what it means to be beautiful and thus enable feelings of inadequacy and ultimately depression.
As a result, with each day people especially females are becoming desperate to look a certain
way and they are rushing towards dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons.

People of Pakistan have also jumped on the bandwagon and there is proof that over the past
decade, Pakistanis from upper middle and elite class are getting more and more interested in
cosmetic procedures for beauty purposes. A dermatology clinic has become the new beauty
parlor.

According to Dr. Sania Javed who is a dermatologist in Lahore, 80% of her patients come to her
for cosmetic and beauty procedures such as microneedling, PRP facials and chemical peels
and only 20% of them come for medical issues related to skin and are expecting a prescription.

Not only this, a thorough research by oladoc-a digital healthcare company based on their
internal and google search data shows that overall there has been an increase in interest
among the Pakistani population when it comes to beauty procedures. A very popular procedure
is microneedling that dermatologists all over the country are performing. Google’s historical
search data shows that the searches related to microneedling first started appearing in 2014
(Pakistan region) and since then the trend has only been going upwards.

A similar trend is seen when historical search data for Botox, an anti-aging procedure is
analyzed.

As visible from the image, Pakistanis have been searching more and more for botox as time has
progressed. There is a considerable increase after 2017 which directly collides with the rising
popularity of instagram.

Another trend that actually got introduced by celebrities like Kylie Jenner via instagram was
fuller lips. People all over the world started chasing the perfect image of full lips. Everybody
wanted lips like Kylie Jenner and the trend has been hitting Pakistan as well. Lip fillers are used
to enhance lips and Pakistan’s historical search data for keyword ‘lip filler’ shows a considerably
increasing search volume since 2017.

These are just a few examples. Almost all cosmetic procedures have gained popularity in
Pakistan. oladoc’s internal data shows that Pakistanis are not only becoming increasingly
interested in these procedures, they are also willing to go through with full blown surgeries when
it comes to achieve that ‘plastic perfection’. oladoc has multiple cosmetic surgeons on its panel
and by tracking their appointment data it is evident that the year 2019 saw a 150% increase (as
compared to 2018) in people who wanted to consult with these cosmetic surgeons. The year
2020 has seen an even bigger increase and given the COVID-19 situation, it is bewildering to
see that people were still worried about getting cosmetic procedures and 50% more so than
2019.

It is great to see that the Pakistani community is moving towards a more sophisticated approach
to cosmetic procedures and are now looking at medical doctors to help them achieve their
beauty standards but is a tilt towards unnecessary invasive procedures really worth it? The
answer to this question is simple, it is important that the masses are at least aware of the
possible repercussions of such procedures and how they can produce disastrous results.

oladoc has been continuously working to make sure that the process of awareness continues
for the common public of Pakistan and thus has been publishing expert authorized videos and
articles on its Youtube channel and website blog. Pakistan’s journey to plastic beauty needs to
be regulated and oladoc aims to play an active role in it.

About Ali Raza

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