How Do Our Attitudes About Beauty Change As We Age?

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New Survey from the Two Leading Plastic Surgery Societies Reveals Surprising Answers

What people find beautiful about themselves may be different than what they find appealing in another person. That's just one finding from a recent consumer survey conducted on the BeautyforLife website (a joint venture of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery). Visitors were asked ''What aspect of physical beauty do you find most appealing in another person?'' In their 20s, 30s, and 40s, respondents look for a fit, well proportioned body; youthful skin ranked at the top for respondents in the 50s and 60s. When considering ''Which part of your body are you most concerned about?'' respondents ranked their abdomen/hips number one in their 30s. But surprisingly, respondents listed the face, not their body, as the most popular choice in the 20s, 40s, 50s and 60s.

"It is always important to understand what our patients are most concerned about at different stages of their lives. We want to be equipped to help our patients make the right decisions to maintain their beauty at every age -- no matter which type of cosmetic medical procedure they are interested in," said ASAPS President Renato Saltz, MD.

Additional results were revealed when answering ''Which part of your body are you most concerned about?'' While respondents primarily chose their face, significantly more respondents are concerned about their abdomen/hips than their breasts (chest) -- with the disparity increasing throughout the decades:

  • 30s - 37% chose abdomen/hips as their top concern while only 18% chose breasts
  • 40s - 32% selected abdomen/hips and only 10% breast
  • 50s - 25% chose abdomen/hips compared to 7% breast
  • 60s - 23% indicated concern about their abdomen/hips, while only 7% selected breast

Community members were also asked to consider ''The most important reason to maintain your physical appearance.'' ''To boost self-confidence'' was the top choice across all decades, with ''To attract potential partners'' a close second for the 20s. In the 30s and 40s, the second-most popular choice shifted to ''To increase professional opportunities,'' which remained the number two choice in the 50s, but by a much smaller percentage. In the 60s, increasing professional opportunities fell to third behind ''To help make friends.''

"The survey on the BeautyforLife website has provided interesting data about patients' attitudes, motivation and perception. Our goal is to provide useful tools for prospective patients to help them first decide if a cosmetic medicine procedure is right for them and then to provide information on how to choose an appropriate provider," said Dr. Richard D'Amico, past president of ASPS.

Another question asked members to contemplate ''The most important factor in maintaining beauty.'' While adherence to a healthy diet, regular exercise and skin care were popular choices, approximately one in five members felt that a cosmetic medical procedure was most important in the 50s and 60s.

This survey was conducted by The American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, via their Beauty for Life program -- a series of patient education tools, including the interactive website http://www.BeautyforLife.com -- designed to help people look and feel their best throughout their lives. More detailed survey results are available at by contacting the organizations.

To access the Beauty for Life survey results: http://www.surgery.org/private/download/BFLUserSurvey.pdf .

About ASPS
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is the largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons in the world. Representing more than 6,700 physician members, the Society is recognized as a leading authority and information source on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS comprises more than 94 percent of all board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States. Founded in 1931, the Society represents physicians certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. For more information, please visit the ASPS website at http://www.plasticsurgery.org.

About ASAPS
The 2,400-member American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) is the only plastic surgery organization devoted entirely to the advancement of cosmetic surgery. ASAPS is recognized throughout the world as the authoritative source for cosmetic surgery education. U.S. members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Canadian members are certified in plastic surgery by The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

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