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The Consequences of Beauty

How important is our appearance to our success, or to our happiness? Our appearance may be more important than we realize.

More and more people are seeking out medical procedures to improve their appearance - over 12 million facial cosmetic procedures are performed each year in the United States alone - but how does it impact their self confidence, or their quality of life?

A new study by researchers with Penn's Center for Human Appearance found scarce evidence to show whether facial cosmetic procedures actually improve psychological outcomes such as quality of life. "With the limited amount of well-performed studies, it is certainly premature to conclusively state that facial cosmetic procedures will not only make patients 'look better' but also 'feel better'," said senior study author Joseph F. Sobanko, MD, assistant professor of Dermatology.

While experts suggest that attractive people are more successful, ethical challenges of altered identity, or even transferred identity, are increasing. How can we cope with our personal self image when it changes, either for better or for worse? Or when beauty becomes more important to our success?

As they prepare for an upcoming conference on the confluence of appearance and identity, Penn Medicine's Jesse Taylor, MD, and Annenberg's Sharrona Pearl, PhD, sat down and provided a snapshot of the conference:


For more information on the Appearance ∞ Identity Conference on November 1-3 at Penn, please visit the Center for Human Appearance's website. The research round tables will discuss issues of self and identity, the impact of appearance on individual and corporate success, medical advances in facial aesthetics, as well as ethical and psychological considerations regarding appearance interventions.

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