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Does plastic surgery really make you look younger

Reviewed by Marta August 31, 2013 3 Comments

I was recently alerted by a beauty journalist to a just-released study on perceptions of the results of plastic surgery. The aim was to evaluate whether people who have had a face lift are deemed by others to look younger and more attractive. The study’s self-proclaimed results were “aesthetic facial surgery was effective in reducing the apparent age of patients but did not consistently improve their attractiveness.”

Well at least they looked younger. Or did they? When I looked more closely at the study's results I saw that the number of years younger on average was three. Was that all! I should explain at this point that the study gave photos of 49 post-cosmetic surgery patients to 50 raters, who were asked to guess the age of each patient and rate their attractiveness.

Just think about this, in the eyes of the beholder the average number of "years saved" (true age minus guessed age) was three. That's after going under the knife, having an expensive, invasive and potentially dangerous procedure. You could get to look three years younger by having a good night's sleep, a romantic weekend away from it all, a detox.... fill in the blank.

I can't possibly agree with the study's conclusion that the "surgery was effective at reducing the apparent age". Even the upper range of "years saved" was only nine years. Which isn't so fantastic either.

If someone has cosmetic surgery and it makes them feel good about themselves, then the outcome certainly justifies the means. But it seems that the perception of others does not.

  • September 5, 2013

    by Cristina

    Please remember there is something called make-up and photoshop. You cannot truly believe in a picture. Beware!

  • September 5, 2013

    by Julie

    I love that Realself.com website, Dennis.
    It gives real people's experiences with all sorts of cosmetic procedures. So interesting and helpful!

  • August 31, 2013

    by Dennis

    I think a lot of it has to do with the talent of the surgeon. I've seen some facelifts where I just though "meh" but some are incredible. for instance, I think this Doctor in Florida is performing miracles. He's pulling these women back 15-20 years http://www.realself.com/find/Florida/Tampa/Plastic-Surgeon/Christian-Drehsen#photo-252901

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