July 24, 2024

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How First Impressions Can Be Optimized For Professional Success

Dr. Lara Devgan is a renowned plastic surgeon and the founder of luxury medical-grade skincare line, Dr. Devgan Scientific Beauty.

“Pretty privilege,” the societal advantage that people deemed more physically attractive experience, can significantly impact professional careers in various ways. Research shows that attractive individuals often receive more favorable treatment in the workplace, including higher lifetime earnings, better job opportunities and more frequent promotions. I believe this bias stems from a general perception that attractiveness is associated with positive traits such as competence, intelligence and sociability. Consequently, attractive employees may have greater access to networking opportunities and mentors that advance their careers. However, this privilege can also lead to unrealistic expectations and increased scrutiny regarding performance and abilities. While pretty privilege can open doors, it can also create pressure to conform to specific aesthetic standards, potentially overshadowing an individual’s actual skills and qualifications.

While this should never be the case, in the world of business, first impressions matter. From the moment you step into a boardroom or log on to a virtual meeting, your appearance can significantly influence how others perceive you. There’s a prevailing notion that focusing on your appearance might undermine your intellectual credibility, perpetuating a false dichotomy between beauty and brains. However, in my experience as a board-certified plastic surgeon, I’ve seen firsthand how professionals can excel in their careers while also presenting their best selves to the world.

While substance inherently matters more than style, and this is certainly where the vast majority of energy should be invested, professionals are increasingly asking me how to best present themselves to the world in order to be more effective at work. The idea that one must choose between being a person of substance and caring about their appearance is outdated and limiting. It’s not about vanity; it’s about projecting confidence and competence.

Opting for aesthetic changes is a personal decision, but it can be the right one for some. Here are 10 tips for embracing aesthetic principles, borne out of plastic surgery concepts, to enhance your professional image:

1. Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight is not just about aesthetics; it’s also about overall health. A balanced diet and regular exercise can improve your physical appearance and boost your energy levels and confidence.

2. Healthy Sleep: Quality sleep is essential for overall health and well-being. It can help to reduce stress, improve concentration and avoid signs of aging in the skin. I advise patients to aim for at least seven to eight hours of sleep per night, to sleep on their backs to avoid positional wrinkles from creasing the face, and to invest in a high-quality mattress to allow maximal physical offlay of pressure on the body. While executives are often time-starved, it can be easier to efficiently use your time when you’re rested.

3. Hydration: Drink plenty of water throughout the day, as research shows it may positively impact your skin. I advise my professional clients to do what has served me well personally: to create a cadence of hydration in my life built around daily scheduled breaks.

4. Hair Care And Hygiene: Your hairstyle plays a significant role in your overall appearance. Regular haircuts, proper grooming and the use of quality hair products can ensure that your hair looks its best.

5. Mindful Makeup: If you wear makeup, choosing quality products and learning techniques that enhance your natural features can create a polished look. Less can often be more for creating a professional and natural appearance, so a minimalistic approach can be helpful.

6. Confidence, Poise And Wardrobe: Ultimately, the way you carry yourself speaks volumes. Good posture, a confident demeanor, eye contact, a projected voice, a smile and a clean and situation-appropriate wardrobe can be helpful here.

7. Medical-Grade Skincare: Investing in medical-grade skincare products can help you improve the health and appearance of your skin. These products often contain higher concentrations of active ingredients and are designed to address specific concerns, such as aging, hyperpigmentation and acne. Some ingredients my patients have found helpful include retinol for fine lines, vitamin C for pigment irregularity, and hyaluronic serum for skin quality.

8. Use Of Injectables: Neuromodulators such as Botox and injectables such as fillers and biostimulators can be used to subtly enhance your features and reduce signs of aging. The bone structure of the facial skeleton regresses over time, and the three-dimensional and strategic use of minimally invasive injectables can help to restore it. While injectables are often misunderstood, and poor quality work is certainly present, in skilled hands, cosmetic injectables can be helpful for addressing deep wrinkles, tissue descent and atrophy of soft tissue.

Incorporating these principles can help you project a professional image that complements your skills and achievements. It’s about embracing the idea that you can be both smart and stylish, confident in your abilities and comfortable in your skin. In the end, presenting your best self to the world can empower you to achieve your professional goals with confidence and grace.

The information provided here is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for advice concerning your specific situation.


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