By Valerie Gibson

Forty-plus women want to look as good as they feel

If there’s one thing the boomers and post-boomers crave, it’s eternal youth. Or at least the look of it.

And they’re increasingly focusing their attention for this on the rapidly advancing world of cosmetic surgery, cosmetic dentistry and dermatology.

Cosmetic surgery in particular is enjoying an unprecedented boom, among women- and men. Especially those 40-plus.

In fact, over 100,500 surgical procedures were performed on Canadians in 2003 with a 325% increase in practices offering non-surgical facelifts.

Of those obtaining elective treatments, 87% are between the ages of 35-50.

A major reason this age group is focusing on image enhancement is they’re experiencing, in increasing numbers, a divorce or separation. And far from seeing this as an end to their per­sonal life, they view it as a new start and want a new-relationship.

More competitive

This means a lot of mid-life single people nowadays are dating. Or at least exploring the dating and relationship world. And many find it tougher and far more competitive than they expected. After exiting long-term marriages or relationships formed usually in their 20s, they’re shocked to find the dating world ruthless and competitive rather than fun and exciting. They can find it very image-based, which undermines their self-confidence, even for those used to overcoming new challenges.

As single, 40-plus people are now one of the fastest growing demographics, the marketing world is gearing up with self-help books, fitness equipment, skin care creams and vitamin supplements.
But what many mid-life singles are demanding is a sure and visible way to improve their image.

So they’re increasingly turning towards cosmetic image enhancement, surgical or otherwise. Dr. Stephen Mulholland of SpaMedica, is a top cosmetic plastic surgeon in Canada and the U.S. and one of many professional surgeons, physicians and anti­aging experts appearing at The New You Show in Toronto, Jan. 13-15 at the Metro Convention Centre.

The show, the largest of its kind in Canada, offers information and demonstrations in the fields of cosmetic enhancement, anti-aging procedures, cosmetic dentistry, skincare, wellness and fitness.

He says his patient experi­ence confirms that over the past five or six years the 40- plus single is a growing segment of the cosmetic enhancement market.

“I find it’s mostly recently divorced or widowed women. Some single males,” says Dr. Mulholland, He says they’re looking for “more confidence” and a “more youthful look to match how they feel”
“At 40-plus they prefer to try the less-invasive procedures such as Botox, FotoFacials, the Pan-G, ThreadLift and derma fillers for deep grooves,” he says.

When they reach their 50s and 60s, the procedures need to be more invasive as muscle tone decreases, he explains.

Dr. Lancelot A. Brown agrees that there has been an increased demand in the past few years from 40-plus people for enhanced dental services. He’s a cosmetic dentist with a clinic in Yorkville.
“Their focus is on full mouth work, especially the titanium implants that can replace a tooth immediately he says. “They’re well aware their smile is totally connected to their image and is an excellent way to upgrade their appearance.”

He adds that he finds his patients’ views of themselves change by getting such work. “They have a whole new approach to life and more confidence.
Dermatologists are also experiencing an unprecedent boom in recent years from 40-plus singles.

“A lot of it is to do with the advances that have been made in treatments and procedures,” says Martie Gidon, a Toronto dermatologist, who is giving a seminar on skin analysis at The New You Show.

“Many of my patients don’t want a surgical facelift,” she says, “but they want to be more attractive and have radiant skin.

She says there’s a wide variety of excellent procedures to choose from now, plus the arrival of Botox changed the approach to non-surgical face work by making it easier and more accessible to everyone.

Restylane, the long-lasting leading derma filler that trumped collagen and plumps outlines and lips has also “changed the face” of non-surgical face work.

“Botox and the fillers can make a sad, angry face a happy face,” states Dr. Gidon.

It’s an irresistible lure increasingly embraced by those determined to defy the aging process and improve self­confidence, no matter what their age.

And also land that date.

Less invasive surgery brought about real changes

“I hated the way the lines on my face made me look sad and angry even though I wasn’t,” says Mayna Fabry, 57, of Toronto, a widow and mother of four. “People used to ask me why I was so unhappy!”

She had the ThreadLift procedure with Dr. Stephen Mulholland. This is where threads with small barbs on the end are inserted beneath the skin to hook onto the inner flesh and give a light lift. It is done under local anesthetic and is less invasive than a surgical facelift with far less recovery time.

Fabry says she “definitely feels more confident and looks younger” since the procedure, her first.

Actively dating, she says she’s now attracting more attention from men, both her own age and younger. “I even had a marriage proposal recently,” she exclaims, but although interested she’s not sure she wants to be exclusively attached anymore.

“The work I had done made me feel good about myself and I’m more relaxed about getting older. I feel it has given me more time and I’m now taking a fresh look at what I want to do with my life.”

Turning the clock back

  • Over 42,000 people in Canada used injectable fillers last year – up 23% from the previous year.
  • Practices offering non­surgical facelifts increased 325% in 2003.
  • Botox injections have increased 19% from 2002; other injectables are up 23%. More than 100,000 Botox injections have been given to 50,000 patients in 2003.
  • In Canada, 85.41% of all cosmetic procedures are performed on women with 42% residing in Ontario, 26% from British Columbia, 12% from Alberta and the reminder are spread throughout the country.
  • Most popular procedures in Canada are liposuction 24% {up 16% since 2003); breast augmentation 17% (up 17%); facelift 2% (up 52% from 2002-2003).
  • Eighty-seven percent of patients are aged 35-50; 11% of practices have clientele between 19•34; two percent of practices have a majority of clientele over 50 years.

Data supplied by Medicard, Canada’s top medical procedure finance company ( and The Rotman School of Business, University of Toronto, from a 2004 survey.

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