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Ageism And Plastic Surgery4 min read

Facelift Virginia
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Dr. Phillip Chang

Board Certified By The American Board of Plastic Surgeons.
Voted Top Plastic Surgeon in Loudoun, Virginia
Offices in Leesburg, Virginia.

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“Top 10 Ways to Look Younger!” “Want to Look Younger? Click Here!” “How to Stop Aging!” We’ve all seen these headlines. They express a common feeling among adults — people just don’t want to look old. People use anti-aging creams, exercises, skincare routines, and cosmetic surgery to keep a young, youthful appearance. But why? Why do people strive to look young? Oxford released a report suggesting “Ageism” as the reason.

What Is Ageism?

The Oxford report “Ageism and Health in Patients Undergoing Cosmetic Procedures” defines ageism as “a common form of prejudice that negatively affects the health of older adults.” Basically, ageism is when someone discriminates against an older person simply because they’re older.

For example, Betty is a 65 year old lady applying for a job as a hotel receptionist. She has all the credentials, has all the necessary experience, and has great social skills. She lost the job to a youthful-looking 26 year old woman who neither meets all the credentials nor qualifications. Betty may feel that she is a victim of ageism — that she was discriminated against because of her age. 

Oxford interviewed 50 patients from a single cosmetic surgeon center in attempts to discover whether ageism was the reason these people searched anti-aging treatment. They found that”36% of patients reported feeling excluded by friends/family/coworkers, being teased or mocked, or having negative assumptions made by others about them due to age. Twenty percent of patients also reported being fired or denied a job or promotion due to age.” They found that most people who felt effected by ageism reported it mostly occurring in interpersonal interactions and at work.  So, did Oxford discover that ageism, or the fear of ageism, is truly the reason why people want to look younger?

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Why Do We Want To Look Younger?

When asked to rate the reasons why they were seeking cosmetic surgery, the patients in Oxford’s report found that the reason most commonly cited for trying to look younger wasn’t actually because of ageism. Here is the list of what people cited as reasons, as patients rated from most important to least important:

1. To feel better about themselves
2. To look more attractive
3. To improve social interactions
4. To look as young as they feel
5. For a romantic partner/dating
6. For work/employment
7. To conceal true age
8. For family

The top two highest rated answers concerned the patient’s personal comfort: how they felt about themselves, and their desire to look more attractive. Reasons concerning ageism were often lower priority than the patient’s personal preferences. Interestingly enough, cosmetic surgery for romantic reasons was quite low on the list too! It seems that, most commonly, people want to look younger for themselves and their own personal preference.


The study concluded that “A significant minority of patients seeking cosmetic treatment reported everyday instances of age-based discrimination.” While traces of ageism sprinkle some of the patients’ reasons for getting cosmetic surgery, most of the time patients seek cosmetic procedures for their own comfort and personal preference. Of course, Oxford acknowledged that there should be more studies to investigate further, but for now, their conclusion is pleasantly surprising.

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Do you want to look as young as you feel?

Whether you’re seeking cosmetic procedures for your own personal preference, to look more attractive, or any reason, we invite you to simply come in for a complimentary consultation with Dr. Chang or one of the cosmetic laser and injection nurses to explore what we can do to help you feel best you can. To find out more whether Aesthetica can help you, contact us online or at 703-729-5553 to arrange an appointment. Dr. Phillip Chang is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Northern Virginia near Leesburg, Virginia and an expert in a wide variety of cosmetic treatments.

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