Are you hoping to shave ten years off your appearance by doing expensive and painful shit to your face? Before you get on the operating table, you might like to know that a new study suggests the visual effects of plastic surgery (specifically: face-lifts, brow-lifts, and eyelid surgery) are not nearly as dramatic as we’ve been led to believe.

According to The New York Times, the newly published study tested the visual effects of plastic surgery by asking respondents to assess the attractiveness of various “after” photos without giving them any context as to what the study was about. They also had a group of people (controlled for various factors) assess the attractiveness of the “before” photos. The difference in perceived attractiveness was “minimal.” They also asked respondents to assess how many years younger various “after” photos looked than their “before” photos. The findings were not drastic:

“The raters estimated patients’ ages to be about 2.1 years younger, on average, than their chronological age before surgery, and 5.2 years younger after surgery, an overall difference of 3.1 years, with minimal changes in attractiveness”

The explanation for these un-dramatic results? If you look at it one way, the patients simply hadn’t gotten enough surgery, as the procedures studied do not address the “loss of plumpness,” “wrinkles”or “age spots” that tell you someone’s not in college anymore. “They’re looking at a face that looks older in some ways, and younger in some ways,” said psychologist Nancy Etcoff. “It’s difficult for the raters, and confusing.”

If you look at it another way, this study just confirms what I’ve always believed, which is that, short of some kind of massive face transplant, plastic surgery is much more for the ugly that is in your head than the ugly that is on your face. “But I’m not doing it for how others see me!” you may say. “I’m doing it for myself!” To which I ask: if you are getting elective surgery, the stated purpose of which is to change your appearance to be more conventionally attractive, and the only thing that actually changes is how you think you look (please note that “looks” are still the primary concept at play), there are far less invasive ways to achieve the same effect, like saying daily affirmations in the mirror or #posting #mad #selfies. Worked for me!

(Via The New York Times)

Photo: Shutterstock