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Recession botox

Lifestyle/Technology | A down economy affects cosmetic surgery, but Americans still spend billions

Issue: "O Jerusalem," April 10, 2010

If people had to pay the true cost of medical care, would they change how they use medical services? A recent report from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) suggests they would. Cosmetic surgery isn't included on most insurance plans. People have to pay out of pocket for all the nips and tucks they receive. And last year many people were still willing to pay to maintain the illusion of youth. People in the United States received almost 10 million surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures in 2009, a 147 percent increase since 1997. Surgical procedures increased 50 percent during that time, but non-surgical procedures increased by 231 percent.

Despite the huge increase in procedures since 1997, the Great Recession did have an effect, especially on more expensive surgeries, which decreased 17 percent in 2009 compared to 2008. Non-surgical procedures actually went up 1 percent. Fewer breast augmentations, liposuctions, eyelid surgeries, rhinoplasties (nose jobs), and abdominoplasties (tummy tucks) occurred. Botox injections, hyaluronic acid treatments, laser hair removal, microdermabrasion, and chemical peels remained popular.

Some of the numbers raise eyebrows: Americans spent $10.5 billion on cosmetic procedures during last year when the economy fell apart. The most likely recipient of most procedures? A white woman between the ages of 35 and 50. Two percent of the people receiving treatments were under 18 years old. Popular treatments for the high-school set: laser hair removal, microdermabrasion, rhinoplasty, chemical peels, and Botox!

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List servers

By Alissa Wilkinson

Never end up with two cartons of milk and no paper towels again. Like the grocery list on your refrigerator, ZipList lets you track what you need. But unlike that paper-based method, this free, web-based service lets you share your list with different people in different places-for instance, between family members or roommates. Household members can add items and check them off to avoid duplicate purchases, using email, SMS, an iPhone app, the website, or instant messenger. If your store is in ZipList's database, it will sort items by the store's layout. There's even an extensive recipe database from which you can add ingredients to your shopping list in a single click.

The buzz continues

By Susan Olasky

A helpful reader pointed out that since the last time I wrote about Buzz, Google has made further changes in how you disable the app from gmail. According to cNet, if you merely turn off Buzz, "all this does is remove active links, leaving your profile still publicly available, along with any public buzzes you might have made while trying Buzz out." Instead, follow Google's instructions: "If Google Buzz isn't for you, you can disable it in your Gmail settings. Click Settings at the top right of Gmail, and then click the Buzz tab. In the Buzz choices section, you'll see your options for disabling Google Buzz. Make sure to click Save changes when you've made your selection."

Clutter fixer

By Alissa Wilkinson

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Fact finder

By Susan Olasky

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By Alissa Wilkinson

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Homage to IKEA

By Susan Olasky

About a year ago a debate occurred over whether the Swedish home store IKEA was a problem or a solution. Some Green advocates worried that IKEA's cheap furniture ultimately ended up in landfills. Much better, they said, to buy used furniture. Others worried that IKEA, usually located in outer ring suburbs where land is cheaper, encouraged people to drive long distances, wasting precious fuel. I've not seen as much of that chatter recently. But I have discovered a subset of people who do creative things with IKEA products. On the website IKEA hacker (ikeahacker.blogspot.com) creative folks show how they turn watering cans into lamps or bookcases into a child's play kitchen. Since IKEA is an international company, contributions come from readers around the world. Some of the "hacks" are goofy, others are clever.

Susan Olasky
Susan Olasky

Susan pens book reviews and other articles for WORLD as a senior writer and has authored eight historical novels for children. Susan and her husband Marvin live in Asheville, N.C. Follow Susan on Twitter @susanolasky.


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