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Is the Perfect Age for Plastic Surgery 52 Years?

There was a time when turning 40 might have meant less pressure to look perfect. But now it seems that women approaching middle age are more determined than ever to look young.

One in three women over 40 are so concerned about their appearance that they would consider plastic surgery, according to a new survey. The average women now thinks the best time for plastic surgery is 52 years, 41 weeks and four days. If money were no object, a fifth of women between 40 and 60 say they would gladly get a face lift to smooth out the signs of aging.

And almost a third--29%--said they would rather look 20 years younger than be a millionaire. The survey asked which celebrity women thought was the perfect advertisement for looking great over 60, and the overwhelming choice for women over 40 was Twiggy.

Among those who said they did want surgery, a quarter said they would favor an eye lift to smooth wrinkles, while 29% would opt for a tummy tuck. And even among those who wouldn’t go under the knife, 29% said they needed Botox or chemical peels to keep themselves looking young.

The figures emerged in a study of 3,000 40 to 65 year olds, conducted by Superdrug.

Darren McKeown, MD, a cosmetic doctor based in Glasgow and London’s Harley Street said the research showed women were increasingly image-conscious well into their fifties and sixties. "Botox and dermal fillers are the most popular treatments at the moment," said McKeown. "The popularity of certain treatments is very celebrity-driven. When a famous woman is pictured with a ‘trout pout,’ then women will avoid lip enhancement, but when an A-list celeb is revealed to have had a specific treatment and they look great, then we see a peak in inquiries. Lip enhancement was once hugely popular, but this has waned as women are worried about the end result."

McKeown said women with careers were the most likely to feel pressure to stay looking young. "Every patient is different, but we’ve seen an increase of people who are looking for a procedure for work reasons," she said. "When you’ve been in a company for a long time and have younger colleagues snapping at your heels, the last thing you want to do is look tired. The average age of my client is in their forties."

The survey also revealed that women between 40 and 60 spent an average of £137.28 a year on anti-aging creams. Last month, a separate study showed that cosmetic surgery has almost doubled in a generation. Both men and women over 50 are now 10 times more likely to use sunless tanning lotion or sunbeds than their parents--and 14 times more likely to use anti-wrinkle cream.

Some 15% of women over 50 now admit to still wearing padded bras--five times as many as their mothers at the same age. The trend has been put down to changing social expectations, with 62% of women surveyed believing they are more likely to be judged on their appearance than previous generations.

Emma Soames, editor of Saga magazine, which carried out the survey, said it showed that today’s over-50s are "a generation that has successfully redefined attitudes to age" in the face of the present day "politics of beauty."

And she added that images of naturally shapely and age-defying actresses such as Dame Helen Mirren, 65, who was photographed in a bikini while on holiday in Italy in 2008, create added pressure for older women.

From Mail Online, December 7, 2010