People might like you more if you don't have surgery or get injections to look younger, a new study suggests.
The results show that study participants felt more warmth toward a woman, and said she was less vain, if they were told she fought the signs of aging by staying out of the sun or using face cream than if they were told she had used the cosmetic drug Botox or had a face-lift.
"This is important because it shows that despite the emphasis on looking younger in society, there are possible negative social consequences to fighting the signs of aging," using more extreme methods, said study researcher Alison Chasteen, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto.
"Despite the rapid expansion of the anti-aging cosmetic industry, the present findings suggest that age concealment has not yet become universally accepted," the study authors wrote.
In one experiment, researchers asked 260 women to read about a woman who was in her 50s, 60s or 70s, who used either facial cream or Botox injections to look younger. Half of the participants were young (their average age was 18) and half were older (their average age was 70).
The older participants had more positive feelings toward women who used any type of anti-aging techniques than the younger participants did. But all participants felt more warmth toward the woman they read about, and said she was less vain, if they were told she used facial cream rather than Botox.
In a second experiment, 100 female participants read about women who had used one of four anti-aging techniques: avoiding the sun, using facial creams, getting Botox injections or undergoing a face-lift.
Again, the less that a woman had done to try to look younger, the more the study participants said they liked her.
The study also showed that although middle-aged adults are most likely to use some type of anti-aging product, people may view them less favorably than older adults who do.
People who are tempted to fight the effects of aging "should consider the possibility that they may encounter other, unanticipated, social consequences," the researchers concluded.
The study was published in July in the Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences.
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