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Some older job applicants resort to cosmetic surgery


Seasoned professionals have been turning to botox injections and other minimally invasive cosmetic procedures to buff up their career prospects.

Dr. Leonard Miller, a plastic surgeon who teaches at Harvard Medical School, said career pressures are a major reason why resorting to such procedures has increased substantially over the past five years.

"People want to stay competitive," Miller said. "So, we're seeing business people who are in their 40s, 50s, 60s."

Television shows such as ABC's Extreme Makeover and FX's Nip/Tuck have helped make cosmetic restructuring more acceptable to the public.

A recent survey by Monster.com of 21,552 online visitors found that 53 percent said they believed that undergoing cosmetic procedures such as dental veneers or plastic surgery would enhance their careers.

Older professionals who might shy away from extensive surgeries with lengthy recovery times are turning to minimally invasive or nonsurgical procedures to lift sagging skin, remove under-eye bags, and plump up laugh lines to help them hunt for jobs or compete at work.

Kathleen Woodward, author of the book Aging and Its Discontents, said baby boomers are vulnerable to the suggestion that a shot of botox or a partial face lift will make them more attractive to recruiters.

"They know they will be judged by people who are younger, and that is making them more likely to adopt these types of cosmetic procedures," Woodward said.

But some observers are critical of the trend.

Virginia Blum, author of Flesh Wounds: The Culture of Cosmetic Surgery, attributes the increase in such procedures to plastic surgeons themselves.

By creating affordable "quick fixes," she said, they are able to target individuals who normally couldn't afford to purchase a full face lift, but might spend $1,000 to $9,000 on dental veneers, mini-lifts, and a range of other less invasive procedures.

"Plastic surgeons are selling these small interventions to make more profits and increase their patient base," Blum said. "But people are going to age. It is fiction that you can defend against it. You can't."