Recent grads are more likely to “find themselves” in doctors’ offices than on the road, Kerouac style. “Cosmetic treatments as graduation gifts are definitely on the rise, and in my experience, they’re not without merit,” says New York City dermatologist Shereene Idriss. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, millennials aged 19-34 accounted for 17.6 percent of the total aesthetic procedures performed in 2016.
Underlying the celebratory procedures is an intended confidence boost, she notes, sharing the case of one patient, whose parents gifted him a series of laser treatments to remedy the acne scars that had always held him back socially. In dermatologist Whitney Bowe’s New York City office, fat-freezing CoolSculpting sessions are a popular present — be it for double chins that have “dramatically affected a child’s self-esteem,” she says, or stubborn body bulges that even a healthy diet and regular exercise can’t bust. “Modern parents are very open to helping their children feel good about their bodies, especially when the downtime and risks are so minimal, and the results can really increase self-confidence,” she says.
The transition from college to career — and that (potential) break in between — also allows for more significant transformations, granting the downtime they may demand. “Rhinoplasty [a.k.a. a nose job] is a huge graduation gift — my summers are booked solid with young people getting this surgery before starting a new gig,” says Dara Liotta, a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon in New York City. Those footing the bill — usually parents or grandparents — often tell Liotta that the patient has forever been preoccupied by how his or her nose looks at certain angles, and they want their loved one to “enter into the next phase of life feeling confident and strong,” she says.