A facelift will make you look younger—but will it make you more attractive? This is the question that many news outlets have been posing since a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that while facial plastic surgery does make patients look an average of three years younger, it doesn’t lead to a “statistically significant attractiveness improvement.”
But how did the study’s authors reach this conclusion? How do you quantify a quality as ephemeral and difficult to define as “beauty”?
The researchers who conducted this study decided that the way to do it was to have 50 people look at before and after photos of patients who’d undergone facial cosmetic surgery (either a facelift, a brow lift, or a neck lift) and have them write down how old they thought they were, as well as an attractiveness rating (on a scale from 1 to 10).
I understand the logic behind a study like this—and the data it generated is certainly interesting. But I would argue that it’s far from conclusive. For one, the study looked at more than just facelifts. As Dr. A. Joshua Zimm, the study’s lead author, said, “This study includes people who just had an eyelift or a brow lift.” These procedures can markedly improve a person’s appearance, it’s true, but the changes they make in a person’s face are relatively minor in comparison to the large-scale changes effected by a full facelift. To claim otherwise is misleading.
Even more important, however, is the fact that a static photo does nothing to convey the most life-changing result of a successful facial plastic surgery: increased confidence and self-esteem. Whether or not a plastic surgery has made someone more attractive has far less to do with what they look like in a picture than it does with how they see themselves. As Khalil Gibran wrote, “Beauty is a light in the heart.” And for some, getting a cosmetic procedure that makes them feel better about themselves can help them access that light, and it allows them to shine.
To learn more about facial cosmetic procedures, contact us for a free consultation!