Population Attitudes to Ageing Skin : Health or Beauty?

Galapagos Turtles – copyright Steve Barton 2019

As part of our 2018 study on attitudes to skin and ageing in the UK population*, we wanted to determine which was more important as a consequence of skin changes with age – Health or Beauty?

Why we asked this

  • There is currently a debate about the relevance of “beauty” as a way of promoting skincare to an ageing society.

  • Some opinion formers  – such as dermatologists and campaigners promoting body confidence – argue that unrealistic images of beauty have a negative impact on the population, preferring to focus on skin health.

  • Many of the products and procedures available to counteract ageing skin are promoted using images of “beautiful” models, often younger than the target consumer.

  • Professionals realise that maintaining skin health is of vital importance in an ageing population and evidence is growing that a healthy outer appearance correlates well with health of many internal organs.

  • We wanted to know which attribute the general population believed to be most important to them – health or beauty?

How we asked

  • The approach was not to force a choice between health and beauty, but to rate the importance of each separately.

  • We asked people to score themselves on how their skin changes with age influenced the way they feel about themselves on a scale of 1-10

  • Scores were separately recorded for health and beauty.

What we found out

  • 55% scored “health” greater than “beauty”.

  • 12% scored “beauty” greater than “health” .

  • Analysing the average difference between the scores showed health was significantly greater than beauty (by 1.3 on the ten-point scale).

  • Respondents’ age did not significantly influence the scores but the difference in scores was greater in men than women.


These observations are generally in line the growing professional opinion that maintaining skin health is important. The results do however show that the picture is more complex, with many (45%) valuing beauty on a par or greater than health. The differences between sub-groups and potential influences behind them will be dealt with in a deeper analysis underway and to be published separately.

Want to find out more? 

For a summary of the other findings in our survey email us at this address:-


*our survey of responses from over 7000 UK residents was conducted between Feb and May 2018. Some of the results were presented at Summit Events Anti-Ageing Conference in London June 5-6 2018