Patients believe that cosmetic procedures affect their quality of life: An interview study of patient-reported motivations

Abigail Waldman, Amanda Maisel, Alexandra Weil, Sanjana Iyengar, Kaitlyn Sacotte, Jake M. Lazaroff, Sasha Kurumety, Sara L. Shaunfield, Kelly A. Reynolds, Emily Poon, June K. Robinson, Murad Alam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: Although treatments to address cosmetic concerns are common, patients’ self-reported motives for considering such procedures have not been systematically explored. Objective: To develop a framework of categories to describe patients' self-reported motivations for undergoing minimally invasive cosmetic procedures. Methods: Face-to-face, semistructured patient interviews were conducted with adult participants who had undergone or were considering minimally invasive cosmetic dermatologic procedures. A qualitative constant comparative approach was used to analyze interview transcripts, yielding themes and subthemes. Results: A total of 30 interviews were completed. Most patient-reported motivations for cosmetic procedures could be subsumed under 8 general categories (themes): (1) mental and emotional health, (2) cosmetic appearance, (3) physical health, (4) work and/or school success, (5) social well-being, (6) cost and/or convenience, (7) procedural perceptions, and (8) timing of treatment. Many individual motivations in these categories were unrelated to desire for physical beauty. In particular, participants wanted to avoid being self-conscious, enhance confidence, reduce the time and expense required to conceal physical imperfections, and be perceived as capable at work. Limitations: Only English-speaking patients in the United States were interviewed. Conclusion: Patient-reported motivations for cosmetic procedures mostly pertained to physical and psychosocial well-being. Indeed, a desire for improved cosmetic appearance was only 1 of the 8 themes revealed through the patient interviews.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1671-1681
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • affect
  • appearance
  • believe
  • cosmetic
  • emotion
  • interview
  • motivations
  • patient
  • patient-reported
  • procedures
  • qualitative
  • quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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