The first thing to go in the last recession was the country club membership. This time around, it's Botox, boob jobs and teeth whitening.
The cosmetic surgery industry, once one of the fastest-growing businesses in the nation, is beginning to show its own set of wrinkles as the housing crisis, coupled with high gas and food prices, drains people's bank accounts, according to analysts.
Mentor Corp., one of the biggest makers of silicon and saline breast implants, has seen its stock sag more than 35 percent in the last six months.
After reaching more than 60 percent in the second and third quarters of last year, the growth rate of silicon breast augmentation procedures has dropped to negative levels in the current quarter and may not return to positive territory for some time, according to an analysis by Cowen & Co.
"Mentor has been hurt by slowing patient demand due to economic weakness," said Cowen analyst Eli Kammerman in a recent note.
"We have a low level of confidence in an anticipated rebound in augmentation procedure demand in the [fiscal fourth quarter] with procedures rising by 4 percent year-over-year after successive year-over-year declines."
Plastic surgeons from Florida to California, two hotspots for breast enhancements and Botox treatments, said they have recently seen customer demand sink and believe the trend could continue for at least another year.