Facial plastic surgery can certainly make one look and feel more youthful but did you know it can actually increase your likeability? A recent study, the first of it’s kind, finds that women who have undergone certain procedures are perceived as having greater social skills and are more likeable, attractive and feminine.

How has this been determined? Dr. Michael J. Reilly, and assistant professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Georgetown University School of Medicine set out with his colleagues to evaluate and quantify changes in personality perception following popular plastic surgery procedures such as facelift, upper and lower eyelid lifts, brow lift, and/or chin implant surgery.

The study included 170 participants who were asked to rate the perception of attractiveness and femininity, and personality traits of 30 women based on their pre and post operative photos. None of the participants reviewed both pre and post surgical photos so all were unaware of any facial plastic surgery. The personality traits they were asked to rate included extroversion, likeability, social skills, risk-seeking behavior, aggressiveness and trustworthiness.

There were four traits where improvement was detected in post procedure photos: social skills, likeability, attractiveness and femininity. While not a large increase, the study did show a trend toward trustworthiness as well.

“Having a facelift and lower eye lift were the two procedures that appeared to garner more favorable reviews after surgery, with the lower eye lift carrying a little more weight,” Reilly says.

He also noted in a previous study that the eyes are highly diagnostic for attractiveness as well as for trustworthiness. “This may explain why the patients who had lower eyelift were found to be significantly more attractive and feminine, and experienced improved trustworthiness scores,” Reilly says.

While many may consider this study somewhat superficial, the importance of facial appearance is rooted in evolution and studies suggest that judging a person based on his or her appearances comes down to survival. “Our animal instinct tells us to avoid those who are ill-willed and we know from previous research that personality traits are drawn from an individual’s neutral expressions,” says Dr. Reilly.

He does note that this study was small and only included analysis of 30 Caucasian women, potentially limiting its application for others.

“It’s reasonable to expect that patients would like to know how each surgical procedure could affect others’ perceptions of their personality traits. As we gain more specific knowledge about what these changes in perception are, we will be able to improve outcomes for our patients,” Reilly concludes.

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