Plastic surgery can make men appear more likable, trustworthy (and masculine)

Between 2000 and 2018, there was a 29% uptick in plastic surgery procedures among men, according to a 2018 report from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

It’s hip to have a square chin.

Men who get plastic surgery are perceived as more likable, trustworthy, and masculine by their peers, says a new study circulated by the JAMA Network. The study evaluated the effects of multiple cosmetic facial procedures, including blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery), rhinoplasty (a nose job), face-lifts, brow-lifts, neck-lifts, and chin implants.

Men with plastic surgery rated higher on social skills and trustworthiness.

Men who received all of these procedures scored higher in perceived attractiveness, likability, social skills, and trustworthiness.

Individually, these procedures had more specific effects. Face-lifts and upper blepharoplasties increased likability and trustworthiness. Lower blepharoplasties made men appear more risk-averse. And neck-lifts raised perceived extroversion and masculinity.

Men with wide faces are more likely to be perceived as untrustworthy, according to a 2010 study published in Psychological Science.

To determine these results, researchers conducted a survey that included before and after photos of 24 men who underwent cosmetic plastic surgery between the beginning of 2009 and the end of 2016. These patients were, on average, just under 50 years old.

Some 145 individuals — the majority of whom were men — completed the survey, rating the patients on attractiveness and perceived personality traits before and after they received surgery. The results mirrored the outcome of a similar study from 2015 in female patients. That study, conducted by the same researcher, found that women who received cosmetic facial surgery were perceived as more likable, attractive, and feminine.

Beauty comes with a price

It could land you a better job or simply make you appear more likeable and trustworthy, but plastic surgery is also expensive — and, in some cases, potentially dangerous.

In 2018, Americans spent a total of $16.5 billion on cosmetic plastic surgery and minimally invasive procedures, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. That’s up 65% from approximately $10 billion in 2011.

Individually, procedures cost thousands of dollars. The national average cost of a blepharoplasty comes in at just over $3,100. More expensive procedures, such as a facelift and rhinoplasty, can set you back upwards of $5,000.

Plastic surgery can also come with complications. These include infection, bruising, blood loss, and even nerve damage, according to Healthline. But generally, plastic surgery is safe, and complications occur less than 1% of the time, found a 2018 study that examined 25,000 cases.

Cosmetic surgery in men is on the rise

Between 2000 and 2018, there was a 29% uptick in plastic surgery procedures among men, according to a 2018 report from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Surgeries with significant increases included lip augmentation with a 433% rise; cheek implants with a 133% increase; and butt lifts, which saw a whopping 671% leap in men over the past two decades. Rhinoplasty was the most popular procedure among men in 2018.

“Just as women can turn to a suite of procedures, known as the ‘Mommy Makeover,’ more men are embracing their own set of treatments, the ‘Daddy-Do-Over,’” according to a statement by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

More men are embracing their own set of treatments, the ‘Daddy-Do-Over.’

“Men notice their body changes due to aging and parenting, and it starts to look completely different in their 30s and 40s. That is the point of a Daddy-Do-Over,” Alan Matarasso, the president of the Society, wrote.

“There’s been a significant uptick in men getting plastic surgery,” Sachin Shridharani, a plastic surgeon in New York City, told MarketWatch. Procedures like jawline surgery and chin implants can give a man a more masculine image.

Though the number of male plastic surgery patients is on the rise, women are still getting a lot more procedures than men. In 2018, men underwent a total of about 1,300,000 cosmetic procedures. That pales in comparison to the more than 14,000,000 procedures women received.

More men are getting liposuction to have a more youthful physique, and to look their best at work and play.

Social media, employment and a fading stigma

Facebook and Instagram FB, +1.81% among other social-media sites, have played a large role in the rise in plastic surgery, Matarasso told MarketWatch. “Social media does create some pressure. You connect with so many people and see so many people. There’s a pressure to look like you’re having fun and look good all the time,” Matarasso said.

In 2017, over 200,000 teenagers got plastic surgery, and an increasing number of teens are interested in botox. Doctors are saying the flawless appearances of celebrities and influencers on social media are part of the reason behind this.

Matarasso also noted that social media has made plastic surgery more mainstream and acceptable. Millennials take selfies in the recovery room and send them to their friends, he said.

“Historically, there has been a significant stigma associated with getting plastic surgery,” Shridharani said. “But society is allowing for it now, and we now know how to do surgery on men without feminizing the face.”

‘We now know how to do surgery on men without feminizing the face.’

—Sachin Shridharani, a plastic surgeon in New York City

Beyond the pressure to look good online, there’s also a need to look good at work. And those fearing age discrimination in employment may opt to go under the knife for a more youthful appearance. “People are changing jobs more, and looking your best is part of staying competitive in the job market,” Matarasso said.

It’s now common for college graduates to have changed jobs four times before the age of 32, according to a LinkedIn study. Twenty years ago, it was typical to change jobs just twice in the first decade out of college.

Matarasso noted that in some industries — such as media and entertainment — looking young is especially important. “But there are also many people outside of Hollywood who believe they need to look young to be competitive in the job market,” he said.

They may have good reason to be concerned: A majority of workers 45 or older say they have seen or experienced age discrimination, reported a 2017 study by AARP. Some of the most common procedures among these men are eyelid surgery and botox.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 banned employment discrimination against workers 40 or over. But a 2009 Supreme Court ruling weakened the Act, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), by raising the burden of proof on workers who feel they were unfairly treated due to their age.

Shridharani told MarketWatch that many of his clients are executives who “want to continue to look and seem relevant.” He added, “They feel great, and they don’t want to look fatigued.”

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