Are you considering getting a facelift but are unsure how others’ will react? Is your sagging facial skin and wrinkles making you look angry or sad?
Between cell phone cameras, social media, and selfies, it feels like there’s more pressure than ever to look our best. But is looking good just a self-esteem booster, or does it actually affect how others view and treat us?
Looking your best can actually make you more likeable to others, says a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Facial Plastic Surgery.
Plastic surgeons at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital took photos of 30 women before and after facial rejuvenation surgery, procedures that included face-lifts, upper and lower eye lifts, brow lifts, neck lifts, and chin implants. They asked 170 people to rate either the before or after photo based on their perception of attractiveness and femininity, and personality traits such as extroversion, likeability, social skills, aggressiveness, and trustworthiness.
The “after” photos elicited improved responses for four traits: social skills, likeability, attractiveness, and femininity.
So does this mean that society is superficial? Not quite! According to Michael J. Reilly, MD, assistant professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Georgetown, “Our animal instinct tells us to avoid those who are ill-willed, and we know from previous research that personality traits are drawn from an individual’s neutral expressions.” Droopy eyelids can make us look untrustworthy, and a furrowed brow can suggest unfriendliness.
Before you run out and schedule a procedure, here are some important tips to keep in mind before going under the knife.
Do Your Research. Make sure your doctor is qualified (e.g., a board certified plastic surgeon or board certified facial plastic surgeon) who performs a lot of these procedures and is willing to show results. Also confirm that the facility where the surgery will take place is safe and certified. Go in for a consultation and get a feel for yourself.
Check with Insurance. Your medical insurance may cover procedures like drooping eyelids that can affect vision or deviated septum that can interfere with breathing.
Be Realistic. Plastic surgery isn’t a miracle that will make you look 30 years younger or like your favorite celebrity’s twin. Having realistic expectations about results will prepare you better and increase the likelihood that you will be happy with the outcome.
Don’t Rush In. Plastic surgery results are long-lasting, and often, permanent. It’s not one of those decisions you can reverse, so make sure you’re not being impulsive. Take your time and consider all your options so you’re absolutely certain it’s what you want to do.
Don’t Do It for the Wrong Reasons. Sometimes, we feel pressured by friends or loved ones to look a certain way. But guess what? You’re the one who has to live with the results! Make sure you’re in control of your decisions and that you’re doing it to make YOU happy.
Don’t Do Too Much. Doing too much at once is a common mistake. The goal of good plastic surgery is to improve or enhance in a natural and aesthetically pleasing way. Don’t go in looking to get your face pulled too tight, your lips plumped too much, or your breasts enlarged to impractical proportions.
Don’t Let Cost Decide. Financial considerations are always important; however, don’t choose a doctor simply because he offers the lowest price, because it doesn’t mean you are `getting a better deal. Look into all the details and research you’ve done, since the quality of the procedure is the most important factor. Like the saying goes, “You get what you pay for!”
Considering getting something done? Find a surgeon in your area by viewing VitaMedica’s Physician Locator. To find a board certified plastic surgeon in your area, refer to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery or the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery websites.
What’s been your experience after having a facial procedure? Do your friends and family think you look more refreshed or better rested? Do strangers smile back at you more often? Let us know!
David H. Rahm, M.D. is the founder and medical director of The Wellness Center, a medical clinic located in Long Beach, CA. Dr. Rahm is also president and medical director of VitaMedica. Dr. Rahm is one of a select group of conventional medical doctors who have education and expertise in functional medicine and nutritional science. Over the past 20 years, Dr. Rahm has published articles in the plastic surgery literature and educated physicians about the importance of good peri-operative nutrition.