Aesthetic appearance influences anti-aging and health

Aesthetic appearance influences anti-aging and health

My colleague and friend, Pr Jean-Paul Méningaud is a cosmetic and repair surgeon, but he is also passionate about anti-aging medicine. He firmly believes that improving the appearance of the body to counter the effects of aging also involves maintaining a state of optimal shape and health. In this article, he puts his finger on a reciprocity that is not often highlighted: improving one’s physical image can also contribute to a better health balance, and to better stay in shape despite advancing age.

He thus demonstrates a global approach to health and I congratulate him. In this regard, let us remember that traditional Ayurvedic medicine has always considered beauty and longevity as inherent parts of health…

Dr JL Morel

Cosmetic medicine or surgery procedures can improve physical appearance. But make no mistake about it, it will not be possible to obtain a significant and lasting result without going through an improvement in your state of health.

The physical appearance, the apparent age of the body, is largely conditioned by the state of health. Most of this site is devoted to it. It is not about the disease, but about health status apart from illness.

Is aesthetics a futility?

Appearance may seem like a trivial concern. In fact, many intellectuals, psychologists, organ specialists, religious, educators, consider physical preoccupations as frivolous. As a specialist in facial surgery, I have seen how many of my patients can suffer from it, whether it is a face mutilated by an accident, or simply affected by the imprint of time.

Everyone is free to change their appearance in this or that direction. A cosmetic doctor or surgeon must facilitate better control of physical appearance and health, without dogmatism. I remain convinced that the beauty of peoples comes from their diversity.

The body reflects health, shape and age

We have the age of our arteries, of our psychic performance, of our hormonal balance, of our chromosomes, but also of our external appearance. The appearance, especially of our face, is quite finely correlated to our chronological age.

My team was able to verify this in a recent study[1]. Unconsciously, everyone can estimate a person’s age with fairly good accuracy. If in addition, we receive a minimum training on the objective criteria of facial aging, the precision increases exponentially.

We deduce that at some point, an effective anti-aging treatment must end up favorably modifying the appearance. This treatment, if it is effective, will not be content to modify biological or blood pressure parameters, for example. It will inevitably have an influence on our outer envelope.

When appearance influences health

Conversely, it has been amply shown that interventions on appearance can have a positive effect on health in very concrete areas:

  • posture[2],
  • chronic pain (neck and back)[3],
  • smoking cessation [4],
  • improvement of lifestyle (weight loss, diet, physical activity, with impact on blood sugar)[5],
  • respiratory function[6]
  • visual field[7]

The interest of surgery and aesthetic medicine is no longer to be demonstrated on the psychic level: anxiety[8], [9]quality of life[10]self esteem[11]self-confidence and sexuality[12]. But one can also wonder if a direct action on the appearance, and therefore in particular on the psyche, will have an influence on the biological parameters of ageing.

Is a direct action on our body envelope only “cheating” or does it exert a positive retrocontrol, that is to say a mechanism of positive reinforcement on the general state of health? Several arguments plead for this positive feedback.

First of all, there is a general rule which states that life is made up of a set of systems which are long in equilibrium. At the molecular level, this translates into biochemical equations allowing a slight backtracking with negative (braking mechanism) or positive (reinforcing mechanism) feedback. The hypothesis of a positive feedback of appearance on biology seems consistent with the laws of nature.

Talking scientific studies

In addition, it has been shown that the improvement of psychological dimensions such as anxiety, self-confidence, or self-esteem, has an influence on the secretion of stress hormones.[13].

We have even been able to write that bodily attitudes could modify the secretion of our hormones. A team from Columbia University has published that a simple change in body attitude can increase testosterone levels and decrease cortisol levels in less than 2 minutes[14]. On a panel of volunteers, this team measured testosterone and salivary cortisol levels according to whether they went from a submissive attitude (curled up, arms and feet crossed, head down) to a more confident attitude (arms open, head straight, back held, etc.).

This work has been methodologically contested. We can nevertheless put forward the hypothesis that the medical or surgical procedures which make it possible to restore self-confidence on a lasting basis may have an effect on the chronic production of these hormones, and therefore on other biological processes involved in aging.

Finally, we now know that many new techniques in medicine and cosmetic surgery have a positive biological effect on the tissues in which they are applied. For example, a simple injection of hyaluronic acid has a local tissue-inducing (regenerative) effect, leading for example to an increase in collagen synthesis.

In surgery, lipofilling techniques (injections of the patient’s own fat) potentiated by platelet-enriched plasma, have a tissue-inducing effect that is sometimes stunning. Moreover, it cannot be ruled out that effects may occur at a distance from the treated area (paracrine effects for example).

In conclusion

The techniques allowing to modify the appearance must also be carried out with an anti-ageing objective which largely exceeds the technical gesture. The most important point is to do no harm, primum non nocere.

This Hippocratic principle is timeless. These medical acts must therefore be carried out by practitioners perfectly qualified and that the instructions are laid down reasonably.

Pr Méningaud anti-aging book

Article taken from the author’s book: “The anti-aging program of Pr JP Méningaud”


[1]La Padula S, Hersant B, SidAhmed M, Niddam J, Meningaud JP. Objective estimation of patient age through a new composite scale for facial aging assessment: The face – Objective assessment scale. J Craniomaxillofac Surg. 2016 Jul;44(7):775-82.

[2] Sapo et al. The Effect of Reduction Mammaplasty on Body Posture: A Preliminary Study. Plast Surg Nurs. 2020;40(1):29-34.

[3] Chao JD et al. Reduction mammaplasty is a functional operation, improving quality of life in symptomatic women: a prospective, single-center breast reduction outcome study. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2002;110(7):1644-1654.

[4] Van Slyke AC et al. Perioperative and Long-Term Smoking Behaviors in Cosmetic Surgery Patients. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2017;140(3):503-509.

[5] Narsete T et al. Large-volume liposuction and prevention of type 2 diabetes: a preliminary report. Aesthetic Plast Surg. 2012;36(2):438-442.

[6] Zoumalan RA et al. Subjective and objective improvement in breathing after rhinoplasty. Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2012;14(6):423-428.

[7] Hollander MHJ et al. Functional outcomes of upper eyelid blepharoplasty: A systematic review. J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2019;72(2):294-309.

[8] Moss TP, Harris DL. Psychological change after aesthetic plastic surgery: a prospective controlled outcome study. Psychol Health Med. 2009;14(5):567-572.

[9] Meningaud JP et al. Depression, anxiety and quality of life: outcome 9 months after facial cosmetic surgery. J Craniomaxillofac Surg. 2003 Feb;31(1):46-50.

[10] Litner JA, Rotenberg BW, Dennis M, Adamson PA. Impact of cosmetic facial surgery on satisfaction with appearance and quality of life. Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2008;10(2):79-83.

[11] Kouris A et al. Patients’ self-esteem before and after chemical peeling procedure. J Cosmet Laser Ther. 2018;20(4):220-222.

[12] Bruck JC et al [Increased self-confidence and decreased sexual discomfort after subpectoral mammaplasty]. Handchir Mikrochir Plast Chir. 2011;43(2):112-118.

[13] Liu SY et al. Self-esteem change and diurnal cortisol secretion in older adulthood. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2014;41:111-120.

[14] Carney DR et al. Power posing: brief nonverbal displays affect neuroendocrine levels and risk tolerance. Psychol Sci. 2010 Oct;21(10):1363-8.

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