Media Releases

Anti-aging techniques not yet viewed as acceptable U of T research shows

August 23, 2011

TORONTO, ON – 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 old­er adults (mean age 70) to mid­dle aged (50-years-old) or old­er (60- to 70-years-old) peo­ple who used mild (facial creams) or major (Botox) 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 pos­i­tive feel­ings 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.

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.



For more infor­ma­tion, please con­tact:


Ali­son Chas­teen, PhD
Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor
Depart­ment of Psy­chol­o­gy
Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to
Work: 416–978-3398, Cell: 416–721-7141

Jes­si­ca Lewis
Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to