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Aging Gracefully

How much younger will a plastic surgery procedure make you look? A new study puts a number on it.

| February 20th, 2012
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Aging Gracefully

Forget the Botox and lasers: If you’re the type to fight wrinkles and sags by getting “a little work done,” well, you might consider going ahead and getting a lot.

At least, that’s what new findings from the University of Toronto seem to suggest.

According to the study just published by the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, the more surgery patients had done, the younger they were perceived to be (up to about nine years less than their actual chronological ages, in fact).

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The study participants included 60 patients (all but six of whom were female), between the ages of 45 to 72, divided by three distinct levels of nips and tucks. Group one had undergone face and neck lifts; the second also had face and neck lifts but added upper and lower eyelid work to the menu; and the third were no strangers to the surgical knife, having had all of the above performed plus forehead lifts as well. Medical students were then asked to estimate the patients’ ages by studying photographs of them.

Surprisingly (or not, depending on your perspective), the students perceived those in the first category as appearing 5.7 years younger (on average), but for the second and third groups, surmised the patients were a whopping 7.5 and 8.4 years younger, respectively.

While it might make sense that the more plastic surgery one gets the younger they look—that is the point, after all, isn’t it?—there may be another key reason why the latter two groups seemed to have shaved off so many years: They both had eye procedures done.

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“Having been doing this for about 25 years, I have definitely observed that eyes are the part of the body that begin to show age first, and they’re certainly the most apparent,” says YouBeauty Cosmetic Surgery Expert Arthur Perry, M.D., F.A.C.S. “Necks and jowls can be hidden a little more easily.”

But he cautions that people shouldn’t necessarily read the study and take away the idea that more surgery equals greater results. While he asserts that when it comes to anti-aging, a small improvement made to the eye area can give you “bigger bang for your buck,” the goal shouldn’t be racking up procedures.

After all, looking younger isn’t everything. “The goal of good surgery is not to look younger, it’s to look better,” says Perry. “We’re not necessarily trying to restore people to age 30.”

MORE: Anti-Aging Tips for Eyes

And as he wisely points out, too much work shows (Joan Rivers may look younger, but...), and at a certain age, no wrinkles at all looks unnatural. “You only have to watch next week’s Oscars to see what I’m talking about,” he laughs. Good point sir, good point. There isn't a whole lotta "natural" walking that red carpet.

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