One argument used by critics of cosmetic surgery is that it is medicine that does not seek to heal any injury. However, a new study by a University of Buffalo psychologist supports what cosmetic surgeons have long said in their defense: the injuries healed by cosmetic surgery are not physical, but they are very real. According to the study, men and women who were sensitive to rejection based on appearance were more likely to desire cosmetic surgery procedures.
The study was relatively small, with only 133 college-age subjects, but it showed a clear correlation between appearance-based rejection anxiety (the tendency to anxiously expect rejection based on one's appearance) and an interest in cosmetic surgery. The correlation was found to be independent of overall self-esteem, general rejection sensitivity, and self-perceived attractiveness.
The study also looked at the source of appearance-based rejection anxiety, which seemed to correlate with negative appearance comments. The negative comments were most often related to weight or the size or shape of a specific body part. In contrast, positive appearance comments were more often general, saying a person "looked good," without specifying what features made them look good.
This study hints at the very real injury that some people suffer as a result of their appearance, and at the possible curative nature of cosmetic surgery. Cosmetic surgery, by correcting specific features that attract negative attention (such as fixing the shape of a nose with rhinoplasty or gynecomastia with liposuction), can help people who are very sensitive to rejection based on appearance.
If your self-consciousness about a particular body feature is making you less likely to risk rejection, New York cosmetic surgeon Dr. George Lefkovits can help. Please schedule a consultation with Dr. Lefkovits to learn more.