Why Do So Many Have Plastic Surgery to Look Younger?

Before and after facelift by Dr. David Santos, plastic surgeon in metro Seattle Washington

A growing number of people are getting plastic surgery procedures, such as a facelift, neck lift, eyelid surgery, laser skin resurfacing or facial fat transfer. What moved them to take this step?

Editor’s Note:  Dr. Brian Machida is a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon who practices in Ontario, CA, part of California’s Inland Empire.  He has an exceptional level of experience and taught for years at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine.

Facelift and neck lift in Inland Empire by Dr. Brian K. Machida, MD facial plastic surgeonThe Washington Post reports:

The number of people 65 and older getting facelifts and cosmetic eyelid surgeries has more than doubled over the last two decades, with much of that increase occurring over the last five years…Around three quarters are new to plastic surgery.

Why are so many people in “the golden years” (like Peggy, 65, a patient of Dr. David Santos shown in the large photo above) getting surgical and nonsurgical procedures to help them look younger?  And what about people in their 40s and 50s?  Why are large numbers who are still active members of the workforce getting the same procedures?  There are several good reasons.

Age Discrimination at work

American society today is highly youth-oriented.  Maturity and years of experience, once considered valuable assets, are now seen by some as identifying a person who is out-of-touch.

Long-term unemployment, defined as being jobless for 27 weeks or longer , is markedly worse for workers over age 55 than for the general population. At a time when conditions have vastly improved for women, gay people, disabled people and minorities in the workplace, prejudice against older workers [age-ism] remains among the most acceptable and pervasive “isms.” The Washington Post

New employers are prohibited by law from asking an applicant’s age.  Interviewers tend to look at a potential new hire’s face, neck and hands to gauge how old they are.  Existing bosses are unlikely to consult a valuable employee’s personnel file to see if they’re aging past their prime.  An energetic and proficient team member who doesn’t look too old will often retain their value – and their job.

Staying in the Game

Maria, a divorced 68-year old from Sacramento, said in The Washington Post:

I’d lost the looks of men.  I’d walk by men and men would probably go, “Yeah, there’s a cute grandma.”

After thinking about it for months, she consulted a plastic surgeon and had a neck lift.  After that, she said:

 I got so excited about the difference that it made that I was like, ‘Oh my god, I want more.  No 30- or 45-year-old guy is going to ask me, ‘Hey, what’s your number, honey?’ But a 60-year-old will.

Facelift and neck lift by Dr. Brian Machida, facial plastic surgeon, Inland Empire, California - Before & After
Theresa Before & After facelift and necklift by Dr. Brian Machida

People automatically tend to put others in categories when they first meet.  Those who look old are often put in the “senior citizen” category.  They are frequently not considered for jobs or romantic relationships.  But often that’s exactly what they’re looking for.  “Rolling back the clock” with a facelift, neck lift, eyelid surgery, facial fat transfer or another nonsurgical facial rejuvenation procedure can help them stay in the game.


“People are making a calculated decision, trying to escape the stigma of aging and buy a little time, be in the world and not be sidelined because of their appearance”

Bill Thomas, geriatrician as quoted in The Washington Post

Feeling better about yourself

Another reason many want to improve their appearance is that looking their best boosts their self-esteem.  Linda, a cancer survivor highlighted in The Washington Post decided to get a complete facelift after undergoing a mastectomy.  Afterwards, she said:

Things had been taken away from me personally, because of the cancer, and this was something I wanted to do for me…I wanted to wake up in the morning and feel better about myself!

Her younger look was not the only reason Linda was happier after her facelift.  Her husband, initially against the idea, ended up liking her new look.  And, Linda observed:

As I became older I had noticed that the general public isn’t as interested in what you have to say, but afterwards I noticed a big change in how people react to me.

Looking their best lets those from 45 to 70 “stay in the game” at work and in their social lives. Along with the boost in self-esteem and happiness that comes from looking their best, this motivates many to visit a facial plastic or plastic surgeon to learn about their options.  Could you benefit from a personal consultation?

Facelift and necklift by Dr. Brian Machida, facial plastic surgeon, Inland Empire California
Christine, Before & After facelift and necklift by Dr. Brian Machida

About Dr. Brian Machida, MD, FACS

Dr. Brian K. Machida, MD, FACS is a double board certified facial plastic surgeon. He has an exceptional level of experience, having performed ( read more )

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