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Medical Esthetics Treatments
The Impact of First Impressions
By: Steven H. Dayan, MD
Posted: June 17, 2008, from the July 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
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If such primal standards continue to persist in the modern-day human genetic makeup, can a person’s lot be improved by enhancing their appearance? In other words, can attractiveness be improved with cosmetic surgery, better skin care, expensive makeup, a new hairstyle or fancy jewelry? And if it can, will an individual receive better treatment solely based on how they look? Are they more likely to meet a mate?
Cosmetic surgeons, estheticians, makeup artists and hairstylists all are purveyors of image enhancement. They work toward the same goal of enhancing key facial proportions and body ratios. A waist-to-hip ratio of 85% in the female and 95% in the male appears to be associated with fertility, and is considered to be ideal.5 Liposuction and form-fitting outfits attempt to bring men and women closer to these preprogrammed ratios, which human eyes and brains may desire subconsciously. Those requesting injectable filler treatments, collagen injections, face lifts and eye lifts are attempting to portray a more youthful appearance. Nose jobs (rhinoplasty), which remove a large hump or narrow a wide nasal tip, generally result in a more conventional appearance. Hey, good lookin’
In a study published by Kirk Clark, MD, Allan Ho, MD, and myself in the November 2004 issue of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, we found that altering the facial physical appearance with cosmetic surgery—creating a prettier face—will result in better first impressions.
Our study revealed that, following plastic surgery, patients typically were thought to have better social skills, more dating and relationship success, and greater occupational and financial success. In addition, they were perceived to be more intelligent and to have attained higher academic achievement.
In reviewing the results of the study, first impressions that enhanced attractiveness, as well as dating and relationship success, were not surprising. However, other areas, such as academic and athletic success—although not significantly altered—also showed an increase in value. In no category was the post-operative cosmetic patient judged less favorably.