The Public Face of Politics: is Washington D.C. an Expanding Plastic Surgery Market?

Man_whitehouse_MediumRecently, the Washington Post published an article exploring what it calls one of our city’s “worst kept secrets”: politicians returning from a weekend away looking refreshed and vibrant, but not thanks to rest and relaxation—instead they made a visit to the plastic surgeon’s office. The article suggests that cosmetic treatments are becoming a staple among politicians, with BOTOX®, fillers, and other rejuvenating treatments helping them address unwanted signs of aging.

Having been a plastic surgeon for nearly 30 years in Washington D.C., I can assure you that the desire to put one’s best face forward in the professional setting is nothing new; men and women in a variety of professions seek cosmetic treatments to help them correct signs of aging that they feel could negatively affect working relationships.

If there is anything unique about the motivation behind politicians getting plastic surgery, it’s not that these high-profile figures simply want to look attractive, but that they must do so to ensure that they look sharp and capable of handling the demands of politics. The Washington Post article calls this “staying relevant.”

It’s no wonder that most politicians need ongoing help from a plastic surgeon; if there is one lifestyle that can noticeably age a person, it’s surely that of a politician. The unique demands of a political career—frequent travel, high-stress meetings, and long workdays with little sleep—can accelerate the visible aging process, perhaps more so than any other career. Just compare photos of any recent U.S. President taken during his campaign to those from after just a few years in the White House. The results can be startling:

As is the case with any public persona, politicians are also constantly under the watchful eye of mass media outlets. Whether or not we like to admit it, we tend to judge our public figures on their appearance as much as we do on their voting record, taking their facial expressions as indications of their ability to handle tough situations.

Thus, it is quite understandable that a politician would be very interested in counteracting wrinkles that can easily give the wrong impression. For example, frown lines and brow furrows are typically among the first signs of aging to show on people with high-stress careers and these wrinkles are associated with an angry-looking expression. Loss of facial volume causes features to look sunken and drawn, making for a tired or haggard appearance. These issues are more conspicuous than ever with High Definition television and larger-than-life screens exposing our every imperfection.

Politicians are on to the idea that these signs of aging can be addressed through nonsurgical treatments administered just a few times a year—BOTOX injections to relax frown lines, fillers to rejuvenate sunken cheeks, or laser treatments to take care of skin irregularities. These treatments are particularly well-suited to the needs of politicians, who are far more interested in refreshing their appearance than making dramatic changes. With a skilled provider, a patient can achieve gradual, subtle improvements with little or no downtime, making it easy to look great while being discreet.

The Post article labels this emphasis on nonsurgical treatments a “minimalist approach” that is a trend specific to the political sector in the Washington D.C. plastic surgery market. However, the truth is that a vast majority of patients desire natural results with the least invasive treatments possible, regardless of where they live or what they do for a living.

In fact, nonsurgical treatments are by far the fastest growing sector of cosmetic surgery throughout the nation, making it clear that this “minimalist” approach isn’t exclusive to a certain demographic.

Whether your goal is to stay relevant with your constituents or simply to see a more refreshed reflection the mirror, I invite you to contact our office to set up a personal consultation. I’d be happy to explain your options and help you design a strategy to help you look your best in any arena.

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