Many women and men go under the knife to improve their appearance, and specifically, to look younger. Now, a new study shows that plastic surgery may make others see your personality differently as well.
To investigate how facial surgery may impact how others judge your personality, Michael J. Reilly, M.D., and fellow researchers at the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, compared photographs of 30 white female patients who had facial plastic surgery, including face lifts, upper and lower eyelid surgery, brow lifts, neck lifts and chin implants. Outside raters were asked to score the photographs on six personality traits — aggressiveness, extroversion, likeability, trustworthiness, risk seeking — plus attractiveness and femininity.
The results, published online in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, reveal that there was significant changes in personality perception after patients had work done — specifically, they had improved ratings of likability, social skills, attractiveness and femininity, in the “after” photos. In othe words, they were seen as having more “inner beauty” after having had work done.
But Reilly tells the Washington Post that surgery doesn’t always bring the results you hope for; four of the women in the study were actually rated worse after surgery. “Each individual is taking on the potential risk of negative results,” he said. “You might come out looking less likable, or less socially skilled, which can obviously have lots of impacts in someone’s daily life.” Which is why you shouldn’t make a haphazard decision about plastic surgery — if you’re considering it, talk to your doctor about all your options and do your research.
Samuel M. Lam, M.D., of Lam Facial Plastics in Plano, Texas, was not involved with the study, but commented:
“Accordingly, I believe it is important to be artistic and to help patients try to look better not only to themselves but also, even more important (in my opinion), to others. This goal is why I commend the article in this issue by Reilly et al that squarely addresses these broader psychosocial perceptual renderings that truly should underscore the reason why we as surgeons do what we do.”
Sure, many people get facial surgery to look better for themselves and feel more confident, but don’t you want to know that others see the results, too? Being perceived in a more positive light post-surgery is great validation that it was worth all the pain and money it took you to get there.
READ MORE: Will Plastic Surgery Make You Happier?