Tips, Trends, and Observations About Treating Gen Z (Aged 21+)
How to address Gen Z’s interest in dermal fillers for lip augmentation
How popular are Medical Aesthetics treatments, especially dermal filler for lips, among appropriate Gen Z patients who are 21 years or older? For Medical Aesthetics providers, educating their patients on both the procedures and safety is an important part of the process. So how do aesthetic providers prepare their Gen Z patients?*
What appropriate Gen Z patients* might expect from their first aesthetic treatment.
Imagining an experience can be different from having the experience itself. As digital natives, these appropriate Gen Z patients* tend to research procedures online before entering an aesthetic provider’s office. Considering the spectrum of reliable information, there is a chance they may have unrealistic expectations. Providers can carefully set expectations by communicating clearly about what each aesthetic procedure entails. While a certain level of clinical detail may overwhelm younger patients, it’s often beneficial to provide a clear outline of the procedure and post-procedure expectations.1
The role of social media in generating appropriate Gen Z patient’s* interest in Medical Aesthetics.
The prevalence of aesthetic augmentations on social media may be a key factor in how younger people view aesthetic procedures. Part of this is due to the ubiquity of smartphones, with 98% of this generation owning a smartphone.2 According to a study, 48.5% of female Saudi Arabian Gen Z students* reported being influenced by social media to consider undergoing aesthetic or plastic surgery procedures.3
The tendency of Gen Z consumers* to actively engage with social media can also inadvertently attract interest from their peers, as Chicago-based Ashley Bohling, PA-C, revealed. “When an appropriate Gen Z patient* gets a lip filler, they usually aren’t shy when it comes to sharing on social media. They would tag me and take photos and post all over social media, without me having to even ask them to do anything—they do it just because it’s cool.”
The basics of treating patients in their 20s.
Although Gen Z* may be fond of researching treatments online and posting about them, only patients who are 21 or older are indicated to receive dermal fillers. Many experts who spoke to Spark reiterated that being an aesthetic provider isn’t about automatically catering to patient demand; it’s about advising patients on what is safest for them to achieve their aesthetic goals, especially if they’re young and may potentially be receiving their first Medical Aesthetics procedure. After verifying a patient’s age, an aesthetic healthcare provider will likely offer tailored patient education personalized to their areas of concern. For many patients in their 20s, the best treatments start with a skincare regimen.
As Denisse Serrano, PA-C, MS, with a Manhattan-based practice says, “My favorite thing to start a 20 year old on is a really good skincare regimen. That’s a priority of mine, and I have three simple steps: Number 1 is to wear sunscreen every day. Number 2 is to use an antioxidant serum. And number 3 is to use a vitamin A derivative at night, whether it be a retinol, retinaldehyde, or retinoid prescription from a dermatologist.”
Board-certified dermatologist Janet Allenby, DO, who practices in South Florida, agrees. “The foundation is always going to be skin care: keeping collagen growing, using growth factors, and using sunscreen every day. I encourage patients to live a healthy life—it’s kind of the key to everything. This age group wants to be preventative, and they’re willing to work at it.”
Lip augmentation may be their first aesthetic injectable procedure.
By definition, Gen Z patients* are young, so they may not be aware of the full variety of innovative Medical Aesthetics procedures available. For providers, educating them about other available treatments usually starts after the patient has received a lip augmentation treatment that they felt achieved their aesthetic goals. “A lot of my lip augmentation clientele is young, so they’re not necessarily thinking about doing other areas,” Ashley explains. “But after I give them a lip augmentation treatment, they trust me. I have a good bond with all of my patients who’ve had lip fillers. And it just leads to discussing other areas that may help them meet their goals, like contouring with dermal fillers. At some point, lips tap out: They can only do so much.”
When Denisse sees patients who request lip augmentation, she tells them, “‘Let’s also talk about other things that I think would make you look like your most-natural self.’ And if they could benefit from dermal filler in their lips, and I think it’s going to look natural on them, I will proceed with treatment. I’m also making sure that they’re thinking about other things like acne, dry skin, or other modalities that will be beneficial, even at that age.”
The importance of balancing patient education with responsible social media posting.
For Ashley, patient safety is an important part of her practice. “I really value integrity and having a place where patients feel safe. Many times, I have younger patients who know nothing about aesthetic treatments. We love to educate our patients and let them know about appropriate treatments that are right for them.”
This focus on safety extends to Ashley’s use of social media. Instead of posting videos that show the entire injection procedure, Ashley is careful to only show clips—viewers should never feel that they have enough information to try and inject themselves. “I post very small video snippets of the injection and not the whole thing because we never want to unintentionally teach someone who’s not medically licensed how to do it.”
Tips on keeping appropriate Gen Z patients* as long-term patients.
While dermal fillers, specifically lip augmentation, are currently highly sought after by appropriate Gen Z consumers*, this group won’t stay in this age forever. To that end, providers might benefit from focusing on educating their patients and prioritizing their safety today, so they might also build solid relationships that will withstand the test of time.
For Tennessee-based Amy Hatcher, APRN, the longevity of her patient relationships has only benefited her practice. “I do have some patients that have been with me for 15 years. Two things have always been important, which are results and the patient experience. I think if you can hone your craft, give great results, and treat people really well, why would they go somewhere else? You can keep treating them and develop those long relationships.”
*Patients aged 21-25 years.
https://aaams.net/articles/manage-patient-expectations-for-first-time-aesthetic-treatments/. Accessed August 12, 2022
https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2021/05/17/gen-z-and-the-rise-of-social-commerce/?sh=4c319425251d. Accessed August 9, 2022
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6756652/. Accessed August 9, 2022