Research shows anti-aging techniques not yet viewed as acceptable

August 23, 2011

Studies from the University of Toronto's psychology department show that people who use more invasive anti-aging methods such as Botox injections or surgery are viewed more negatively than those who use milder techniques such as sun-avoidance and facial creams and younger adults are more negative about using anti-aging methods than older adults.

"These results suggest that despite the rapid growth of the anti-aging cosmetic industry, age concealment has not yet become universally accepted," said lead author and associate professor, Alison Chasteen. "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 by engaging in cosmetic age concealment."

The first study assessed the reactions of 122 younger (mean age 19) and 123 (mean age 70) to middle aged (50-years-old) or older (60- to 70-years-old) people who used mild (facial creams) or major () anti-aging methods. They also assessed the participants' perceptions of the middle aged or older adults' vanity and typicality to their age group.

The study found that older adults had more towards those who used any type of anti-aging techniques than the younger adults did. Both groups viewed mild methods more favourably than major methods and both groups considered middle aged people to be more "typical" of those using anti-aging techniques.

The second study broadened the age range of the age concealment users as well as the types of anti-aging methods used. A total of 51 younger (mean age 19) and 49 older adults (mean age 70) were randomly assigned to read about either four middle-aged adults (40s) or four older adults (60s) who used either natural (avoiding the sun), mild (facial creams), major (Botox) or extreme (brow lift) anti-aging methods. Participants again indicated their overall reaction, how vain they thought the individuals were, and also how typical they felt the adults were of their age group.

The study found similar results to the first, but also that younger adults considered those using the natural and mild methods to be vainer than older adults did. Older adult participants viewed older users of anti-aging methods as more typical than middle-aged users, but young adult participants viewed the middle-aged and older users as equally typical.

Explore further: Study: Our brains compensate for aging

More information: The paper "Age and Antiaging Technique Influence Reactions to Age Concealment" was authored by Chasteen and co-authored by graduate student Nadia Bashir and undergraduate students Christina Gallucci and Anja Visekruna. It was published in the Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences on July 12.

Related Stories

Study: Our brains compensate for aging

April 4, 2006

Yale University and University of Illinois scientists say they've determined our brains compensate for aging by becoming less "specialized."

New study examines memory, learning and aging

August 20, 2007

Many older people complain about their memory as they age. With almost 35 million adults age 65 or older living in the United States, it is a problem that needs to be addressed.

Research finds aging is satisfying

June 16, 2008

University of Queensland research is turning conventional wisdom on its head when it comes to grumpy old men and women.

Old as you want to be: Study finds most seniors feel younger

December 2, 2008

Older people tend to feel about 13 years younger than their chronological age. That is one of the findings of a study forthcoming in the Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Science. The researchers analyzed the responses ...

Recommended for you

Psychosis associated with low levels of physical activity

August 25, 2016

A large international study of more than 200,000 people in nearly 50 countries has revealed that people with psychosis engage in low levels of physical activity, and men with psychosis are over two times more likely to miss ...

Sleep makes relearning faster and longer-lasting

August 22, 2016

Getting some sleep in between study sessions may make it easier to recall what you studied and relearn what you've forgotten, even 6 months later, according to new findings from Psychological Science, a journal of the Association ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.