In Brazil, Cosmetic Procedures Are the Norm

Investing in yourself can pay big dividends. Investing in your health can give you a better quality of life. It can also save you money in medical expenses later on. Investing in quality food can make you healthier. Investing in good skincare can make you feel more radiant. Investing in your looks can boost confidence. In Brazil, these feelings ring true. For some, they begin saving early.

They know that later they will want cosmetic procedures. These are not usually covered by insurance, so it takes savings. The culture there supports the idea that looking good can reap dividends. It can mean a better job. It could mean more dating opportunities. So, many women (and some men) save for cosmetic procedures, even if they don’t need them yet. As of 2013, plastic surgeries in Brazil outnumbered those in the US. In fact, there are more plastic surgeries performed in Brazil than in any other country in the world. (Note, however, there are still many more non-surgical cosmetic procedures performed in the US, such as Botox or other injections).


What’s Behind the Trend of Plastic Surgery in Brazil?

What drives the number of plastic surgeries in Brazil? There are actually several factors driving this trend. Let’s take a look:

  • There are more plastic surgeons in Brazil (per capita) than there are in the US. This allows many more procedures to be performed.


  • Women’s financial power in Brazil has been increasing in recent years. This means they have more disposable income than ever before. As such, there is more money available to use on elective procedures. Many women choose this option as an investment in their future.


  • The cultural norms in Brazil allow cosmetic work to be seen as a status symbol. Having money to take care of yourself is something that can be shown off. It’s not something to hide. This makes it more desirable.


There is also a charity organization that exists to provide cosmetic procedures to those who cannot afford it. (It is a teaching hospital in Rio.) They offer procedures either for free or with a large discount. They offer options like:


  • Botox
  • Breast implants
  • Breast lifts
  • Butt implants
  • Butt lifts
  • Nose jobs
  • Face lifts


Some would say that this cultural norm puts increased pressure on women to look beautiful. It’s seen as more of a requirement. There is an expectation to have a certain look. Women are pressured to conform to specific beauty standards. Another problem? The beauty standards are often based on norms that do not match the typical Brazilian’s body type. This means there is an expectation to make extreme changes to be considered beautiful. (And with this standard of beauty comes money, power, and a better life—or so the societal pressure would seem). The other side of the coin? Others say that the option to get work done can be empowering.

And having an option to have it subsidized allows anyone to achieve their ideal look. No one needs to hide having something done. What’s your take?



Dr. Michael J. Brown is a board-certified plastic surgeon who offers innovative aesthetic procedures for the face, breast, and body.


The Loudoun Center for Plastic Surgery 

45155 Research Pl
Ste 125
Ashburn, VA 20147

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