Cosmetic surgery is increasing in popularity. Demand for cosmetic operations to improve our appearance increased by over a third to 22,041 last year, according to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. Eyelid lifts, which usually from £2,000 were up 50% and nose jobs which cost from £3,200 were by 35%. The number of operations for men increased by just under 50% to 2,440.
A survey by market analyst Mintel shows almost 700,000 cosmetic procedures will be performed this year, at a cost of £539m. By 2009 the total number of cosmetic procedures is expected to exceed one million, at a cost of almost £1bn. Botox, breast enlargements and facelifts are said to be the most popular cosmetic enhancements.
The sharp increase in demand for cosmetic surgery was beaten only by people taking out a loan to pay their tax bill with the Inland Revenue, which saw an increase of 68% on the same period last year.
Getting married was also a major contributor to Abbey's personal loan figures. The number of people borrowing money to pay for a wedding jumped by 32% compared with 2005.
The number of loans taken out to cover medical costs were 21% higher, and 10% more people borrowed money to pay for a funeral. But at the same time there was a 14% fall in the number of people taking out a loan to buy a new car, while borrowing to pay for a divorce was 5% lower.
Loans for debt consolidation remained largely static, rising by just 1%, although it still remained the top reason people borrowed money. The second most common reason people took out a loan was to buy a new car, followed by spending money on their home, either through home improvements or buying furniture.
Paula Ickinger, Abbey's head of personal loans marketing, said: 'Only two or three years ago, the number of people borrowing for cosmetic surgery would have been very few and far between, but now it's become a more regular occurrence.