“Will you marry me?” are four words some women look forward to hearing their whole lives. For many, the moment it happens is something they’ll want to relish, first with their partner, then with the world. These days, most of us are finding out about our friends’ engagements not from hyperventilating phone calls or caps-lock Facebook status updates, but from Instagram selfies of sparkling rings with hashtags like #WereEngaged, #SaidYes, and #PutARingOnIt.
But despite the happiness and security that comes with finding a life partner, this new visual platform for engagement announcements is also stirring up some major insecurities. Hands are one of the first places on the body to age, and apparently Instagram filters that smooth out our skin while simultaneously making the scenery look like a 1970s French film are just not cutting it. “Hand lifts” have been gaining in popularity of late, especially for brides-to-be. Yes, hand lifts. NYC dermatologist Dr. Ariel Ostad says the procedure is not new, but he estimates that he’s had a 40 percent increase since the rise of social media and selfies.
“As we age, the skin on the hands can lose fat, becoming more thin and bony with prominent veins and wrinkles,” says Ostad. “Social media has certainly led people to be more concerned about their appearance and how they present themselves, so if women can receive a quick procedure to make themselves feel better and younger, it’s something that they are willing to do.”
Ostad injects Juvéderm (which can also be used on the face) into the hands to smooth out wrinkles and plump the skin with instant results. The procedure takes 10 minutes, costs around $1,200, and will last about nine months. Juvéderm does not freeze muscle movement like Botox, rather it treats wrinkles by restoring lost volume. The patients can move their hands right after they receive the procedure.
So the question remains: Are women preemptively getting these procedures before they think their man is going to pop the question or are they simply taking the “Insta” out of the Instagram? In a recent segment on Pix11, Alexandra Berry, a patient of Ostad who got the hand lift post-engagement, explains “I always thought my hands were a little boyish growing up, so I thought why not. Engagement photos are coming up in about a month.” She added that her fiancé thinks it’s “hilarious.”
Hand lifts are not the only surgery to gain popularity because of technology. Ostad has also had patients come in to fix their “tech neck” or the wrinkles and fine lines in the neck caused by constantly looking down at a phone and computer. A recent study by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery revealed that one in three facial plastic surgeons surveyed have experienced an increase in procedures because their patients say social media has made them more aware of their looks. NYC facial plastic surgeon Sam Rizk, MD, FACS, has seen a notable spike in rhinoplasty requests, betrothed or not.