I Just Hate My…

Ever looked in the mirror and thought I really hate my …(insert feature here) Why do we tend to focus on one particular feature that we would like to change? Some interesting new research may tell us why.

Facial aesthetic treatments are among the most popular cosmetic procedures around the world, but why do so many women want to change what they see in the mirror? And what features do they most like or dislike about their faces? A group of researchers, seeking to understand women’s motivations for having plastic surgery, found that women in their 20s focused most on their nose and skin as the features they most wanted to improve. For women in their 30s and 40s the facial feature of concern was the skin, particularly the skin around the eyes. For women in their 50s, the skin in the eye and jawline areas were the main facial focal points.

The research was published in “Mirror on the Wall: A Study of Women’s Perception of Facial Features as They Age,” and appeared in the May issue of Aesthetic Surgery Journal. The researchers’ aim was to “…better understand why patients desire to alter their facial features. What is it that leads them to seek so-called perfection?…We found that many women are not at peace with what they see in the mirror. When women look in the mirror, they primarily focus on the parts of their face they most dislike or desire to change. Not surprisingly, this dissatisfaction is the strongest motivator for seeking facial aesthetic treatments.”

The most interesting aspect of this research shows that the as we age the facial features we focus on also change.   The study revealed that women focused on the areas of their face that they disliked the most, leading to a desire to change those features. The participants also indicated that, regardless of their own age, they generally focused on the facial features of women in their 20s and 30s where they perceived their own flaws, but did not focus on those features when looking at older women.

“This study is very interesting because it clearly shows that most women tend to compare their appearance to that of younger women,” said Foad Nahai, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Aesthetic Surgery Journal. “This has strong implications for patient selection and satisfaction, reminding us that we need to both understand why patients are seeking treatment and ensure that they have a realistic understanding of aesthetic outcomes.”

If we compare our facial features to those of women much younger than we are, we are obviously setting ourselves up to be disappointed as there is no substitute for youth.  Prospective plastic surgery patients need to understand their desire to alter their faces and have realistic expectations of the results of cosmetic surgery in order to be satisfied with the outcome of the procedure.

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