Plastic surgery – can it actually make you look prettier?

plastic surgeryPeople turn to plastic surgery when they want to improve their appearance. Sometimes this is used for restorative reasons, like after a serious burn or a car accident. Most often, it is used by people who are unhappy with some aspect of how they look. They feel that plastic surgery can fix their perceived problems, and they may get a face lift, liposuction, a thread vein removal procedure, or nose job in order to look better. But can plastic surgery actually make you look prettier?

Types of plastic surgery

This is a developing field, and every year there are new techniques in plastic surgery. One of the most common types of plastic surgery is liposuction. This involves removing excess fat from different parts of the body in order to eliminate cellulite and leave the body with more attractive contours. Another common surgery is a breast augmentation, which will increase the size of a woman’s breasts.

For the face, some people get a rhinoplasty (also referred to as a nose job) when they want to change the shape of their nose. Face lifts are widely used by people who want to minimize wrinkles and reduce the signs of aging. Other people get plastic surgery to change the shape of their eyelids. These are just a few of the myriad plastic surgery procedures available.

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A new study on plastic surgery and prettiness

With all of the plastic surgery done every year, how much do these procedures really affect prettiness? A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association attempted to measure this. The study had participants rate the attractiveness of people before or after plastic surgery, including procedures such as face lifts, brow lifts, and neck lifts. They also estimated the age of the people before and after the procedures. Each participant saw images of either the before or after photo of a person, not both.

The study showed that after plastic surgery, participants looked an average of 3.1 years younger, however there was little to no improvement in attractiveness. On a scale for attractiveness from 1 to 10, the people who underwent plastic surgery got an increase of just 0.08, not a statistically significant improvement.

This means that if you started out as a 7.0 on the attractiveness scale, you could spend $6,000 or more on a facelift, and end up at 7.08, the slightest of improvements. If you hope to become prettier as a result of getting your face lifted, then you shouldn’t expect to see any big results.

Psychological benefits of plastic surgery

Though other people’s perception of your attractiveness may not change much as a result of plastic surgery, one of the biggest impacts of a procedure can be the psychological boost that it gives a person. Other studies have shown that patients are generally highly satisfied with the results themselves. A study in 2005 showed that 87% of patients were satisfied with the results of their own procedures, and felt that they were more attractive afterwards.

This perception by patients that they are more attractive can boost their self-esteem, and reduce problems such as anxiety and depression. These people often feel better about themselves, and more confident socializing with others. The change in their approach to people and their willingness to put themselves in social situations can improve their quality of life.

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Plastic surgery – prettiness brought to extremes

Though there is little evidence that plastic surgery can make a person prettier in the eyes of others, it can certainly make a person perceive themselves as more attractive. There can be significant positive psychological benefits to this.  Plastic surgery is not for everyone, and it cannot fix all the problems in your personal life. However, it can boost self-esteem and confidence, and make people happier about themselves.

Prior to going under the knife, make sure that you understand both benefits and risks of plastic surgery. Some interventions are less invasive than others, however it’s impossible for a procedure to be 100% safe and secure. While there are clear benefits of cosmetic surgery, patients should understand that such interventions can’t make you look perfect. Searching for perfection through plastic surgery can only lead to surgery addiction.


Today’s guest blogger, Edward Francis is an avid writer on plastic surgery- its benefits and its shortfalls. This post has been co authored by him and Cosmetic Surgery Clinic, UK.


All views expressed in this blog post are the personal opinions of the guest blogger. The photos in the blog post have been sourced by the guest blogger himself. doesn’t favor any particular skincare brand or take advertising from any of them. Our scientific algorithm is entirely unbiased based on your skin profile.
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