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Beauty Perceptions Shift as People Get Older

Posted: August 14, 2009

A survey conducted jointly by the American Society for Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aestheti Plastic Surgery shows how people's appearance preferences shift as they age.

What people find beautiful about themselves may be different than what they find appealing in another person. That's just one finding from a recent consumer survey conducted on the Beauty for Life Web site, a joint venture of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS).

Visitors were asked "What aspect of physical beauty do you find most appealing in another person?" In their 20s, 30s and 40s, respondents look for a fit, well-proportioned body; youthful skin ranked at the top for respondents in the 50s and 60s. When considering "Which part of your body are you most concerned about?" respondents ranked their abdomen/hips No. 1 in their 30s. But surprisingly, respondents listed the face, not their body, as the most popular choice in the 20s, 40s, 50s and 60s.

"It is always important to understand what our patients are most concerned about at different stages of their lives. We want to be equipped to help our patients make the right decisions to maintain their beauty at every age—no matter which type of cosmetic medical procedure they are interested in," said ASAPS president Renato Saltz, MD.

Additional results were revealed when answering "Which part of your body are you most concerned about?" While respondents primarily chose their face, significantly more respondents are concerned about their abdomen/hips than their breasts/chest—with the disparity increasing throughout the decades:

  • 30s: 37% chose abdomen/hips as their top concern while only 18% chose breasts.
  • 40s: 32% selected abdomen/hips and only 10% breasts.
  • 50s: 25% chose abdomen/hips compared to 7% breasts.
  • 60s: 23% indicated concern about their abdomen/hips, while only 7% selected breasts.