Older workers turn to cosmetic procedures

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ByAma Daetz via KGO logo
Monday, March 16, 2015
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Some in the Bay Area are focusing more on their looks to keep up with the younger and highly competitive tech sector.

The Bay Area's tech industry is tough. To compete you have to have the education, the skills, and networking capabilities. However, Bay Area doctors have noticed a growing number of people turning to cosmetic procedures to polish their looks, in a job market that seems to favor youth.

Dan -- who asked us to disguise his identity -- runs a commercial real estate business that often caters to tech companies, but lately he's noticed a disconnect.

"I go out, I'm meeting people in [their] 30's and I'm feeling like their grandfather," said Dan.

Kerry -- who also asked to remain anonymous -- says she noticed being ignored at meetings. She told ABC7 News, "They started referring to one of my colleagues, who was 10 or 15 years younger."

Kathy is a real estate developer that has had the same experience. She said, "I feel sometimes like they might discount my ideas because I'm the older one."

All three believe they're fighting the tech-effect -- a job culture increasingly slanted toward younger workers. And whether reality or perception, many are fighting back.

In fact, a number of Bay Area doctors we talked to say they're seeing an increase in older patients looking for quick cosmetic procedures and a subtle lift to help them fit in at work, or help in a job search.

"Now people come in because the job market is simply very competitive. They're competing with folks half their age," observes San Francisco dermatologist Seth Matarasso, M.D.

Matarasso says the eyes and jaw line are popular starting points for both women and men in their 40's to 50's.

While results from Botox and fillers are temporary, the procedures are quick and subtle. And less likely to draw unwanted attention from co-workers.

There are also procedures that use lasers and heat waves to smooth the skin. Kathy turned to dermatologist Sheena Kong M.D., and an ultrasound-based treatment called Ultherapy.

"It's Ultrasound based, to induce deep collagen production in the deep layer of skin, which will help the patient have eyebrow lift and a chin and neck lift," says Kong.

She says the results can tighten specific areas associated with aging.

Patients Dan and Kerry were willing to go a step further and choose a surgical option, which can be as simple as an eye lift. Plastic surgeon Carolyn Chang, M.D., says the key for working patients is to limit the down time.

"Especially if you're young. What's most important is to keep it subtle. What I recommend is to do less surgery, rather than more," says Chang.

And while a slightly more youthful look might not replace a killer resume, doctors say the best results reflect the youthful energy an employee or job seeker is already feeling on the inside.

"And I think part of it is just it gives people an internal confidence, as well as a better look," says Chang.

Popular procedures vary in price from a few hundred dollars for Botox, to $5,000 or more for surgical facelifts.

Written and produced by Tim Didion