Over the past three or so years, Angelica Kavouni has noticed a striking trend among her female clients.
The London cosmetic surgeon says increasing numbers of professional women have come to her with a common concern: the impact their appearance might have on their career prospects and employability.
“These women have concerns about how to stay relevant in their workplace, and fear being the ‘invisible’ older employee,” she tells Mamamia.
Generally aged between 40 and 65, these women hail from a variety of industries — Ms Kavouni says she’s encountered everyone from actresses to finance directors.
What they seek from her is a bit of help in disguising some of the physical evidence of their age, or to “turn back time” as she puts it.
“Not a lot, just a little, perhaps five to eight years,” Ms Kavouni explains. In a recent interview with UK newspaper The Telegraph, she added that her patients hoped to inhabit a “no age zone” of sorts, “where they could be anything between 35 and 55.”
Leading UK cosmetic surgeon Angelica Kavouni (Image supplied).
To meet their needs Ms Kavouni developed 'The Career Facelift' or 'Career Lift' — a suite of what she calls "tweakments", which address various signs of ageing.
"It's not my place to judge, and of course as an ageing professional woman myself, I fully empathise with their situation," she says of her patients.
"Rightly or wrongly, part of their solution is to find ways to turn the clock back and prevent looking their age."
Rather than creating a uniform result, her 'Career Lift' treatments are adjusted to meet each individual patient's concerns.
"Mainly the process tends to involve a SoftLift or Silhouette Soft Lift. This a great, lesser invasive way to give the face and jawline a natural looking, cleaner contour," Ms Kavouni explains.
This half-hour procedure, performed in the office, involves "mini threads" being placed in areas of the face exhibiting sagging skin, usually the mid cheeks and lower jaw.
Watch: Mamamia staff discuss whether "power posing" really is key to workplace confidence. (Post continues after video.)
Some of the injectable treatments offered include poly-L-lactic acid to stimulate soft tissue growth in the mid-face and temple areas, and hyaluronic acid, such as Juvaderm, which boosts volume in areas of the face showing "fat pad reduction".
This might include deepening lines between the nose and mouth, thinning around the temples and 'smokers' lines around the lips.
Ms Kavouni says the staple treatment for reducing the appearance of facial lines is Mini-Tox, or botulinum toxin.
"My clients don't like the feeling - or appearance of - being completely frozen so I use a 'sprinkling' of botox to remove lines but leave expression movement," she adds.
Some clients also request skin resurfacing, in which dead cells are removed and replaced with new ones and collagen is stimulated.
"I offer many ways to resurface the skin with varying costs and recovery time. The Rolls Royce treatment is Fraxel laser and the Vauxhall Astra is the chemical peel, with many options in-between," Ms Kavouni says.
Some might argue this is a drastic and/or superficial measure for women to take for the sake of their career, but it's not hard to see why their advancing age concerns them.
Women face ageism and sexism in the workplace. (Image: iStock)
Although it's illegal to discriminate against someone based on their age or gender, research indicates sexism and ageism are very much present in our workforce.
In a survey of 14,000 Australian women last year, almost half believed they had been discriminated against on the basis of their age, and more than 60 per cent believed employers were more likely to hire candidates younger than 40 years old.
This isn't purely anecdotal; the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission in Australia have previously reported the vast majority of age discrimination complaints received are related to employment.
Moreover, research by the Diversity Council of Australia in 2013 found that while women aged 45 and older comprise 17 per cent of the national workforce, their underemployment rate was higher than that of men in the same age group.
Ms Kavouni believes the changing nature of our workforce is adding to the professional pressures older women already face.
"We are being asked to work for longer and I really do think women are finding it difficult to adjust mentally and physically," she muses.
"Confidence plummets during menopause as it is, without having to compete with younger folk elbowing in at the workplace." (Post continues after gallery.)
According to a Sydney Morning Herald article this week, research indicates one of the main reasons women undergo cosmetic procedures is to ensure their employability.
Ms Kavouni says the ongoing improvements in their procedures might be encouraging more women to consider the option.
"The no-knife treatments are getting increasingly sophisticated with less downtime, and the subtle yet effective results means no-one has to look 'done' any more," she says.
Ultimately, Ms Kavouni understands where her patients are coming from and is glad her treatments offer them a source of comfort or confidence.
"I do feel sad that a large number of women feel insecure in their working surroundings, but no-one forces them to see me; they do so of their own volition," she says.
"Sadly, I don't think ageism will end any time soon. If I can help women feel better about themselves, then I'm pleased."
Have you ever felt conscious about your age in a professional setting?