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Is a cosmetic procedure right for me?

Having a cosmetic procedure is a big decision, so it's important not to rush into anything.

All procedures have some risks. If you're disappointed with the outcome, this can also have an impact on your emotional wellbeing.

Some people look at a cosmetic procedure to solve life problems, or during difficult times in their lives.

Do not assume that a cosmetic procedure will make everything better. How you feel about how you look is only one aspect of your wellbeing.

Things like your lifestyle, social life, work and what you eat are also important.

Ask yourself some questions

If you're considering a cosmetic procedure, start by asking yourself:

  • What do I want to change and why do I want to have the procedure I'm considering?
  • How long have I thought about this procedure?
  • What's my current life situation? Am I expecting the procedure to influence my situation?
  • Why am I thinking about a procedure now? What triggered it?
  • Are there other ways I can achieve the changes I want?
  • Am I expecting the procedure to change my life as well as my appearance?
  • Do I want a cosmetic procedure for myself or to please someone else?
  • Am I expecting the procedure to improve my relationship, social skills or job prospects?
  • Can I afford the costs of the procedure and any future costs to maintain the effect?

Do your research

To help you make your decision:

  • find out as much as you can about the procedure you want
  • think about all the costs – including extra costs for aftercare, correcting things if something goes wrong, and future procedures you might need to maintain the look
  • try looking online or on social media for information about body positivity – the idea is you feel confident about how you look

Talk to an expert

Before deciding on any procedure, make sure you speak to a professional.

Book a consultation with the person doing the procedure.

They should:

  • ask you about what you expect
  • talk you through what will happen
  • explain how the procedure will affect you

Be clear about the change you want to see and the reasons why.

Read more about choosing who will do your cosmetic procedure

If you're feeling anxious about your relationships, social situations or work, counselling might help.

Talking to a relationship or careers counsellor could help you find ways to overcome these anxieties and build your confidence.

You can access talking therapies for free on the NHS.

Find an NHS talking therapies service

Take time to decide

Do not feel pressured or rushed into making a decision.

You should be given a cooling-off period after your consultation to decide if you want to go ahead.

Make sure you:

  • are not tempted by time-limited offers or deals urging you to sign up to a procedure immediately
  • are not pressured into agreeing to extra procedures or treatments you had not considered before arriving at the clinic
  • avoid any group treatments, or treatment events that involve alcohol
  • avoid mobile services where procedures are performed in private homes or hotels

If you're not completely comfortable with the practitioner or the procedure, you can walk away.

Your mental health

If you're having treatment for a mental health condition, talk to the person treating you about having a cosmetic procedure.

Make sure you also tell your cosmetic practitioner about any mental health problems you have had in the past or are still being treated for.

Page last reviewed: 3 May 2019
Next review due: 3 May 2022