3 MIN READ | Mental Health

Ellen Diamond

How Physical Beauty Affects a Person’s Self-Esteem

Cite This
Ellen Diamond, (2021, September 29). How Physical Beauty Affects a Person’s Self-Esteem. Psychreg on Mental Health. https://www.psychreg.org/physical-beauty-affects-person-self-esteem/
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Physical beauty can be defined in many ways. However, no matter what definition is used, everyone has their own opinion of whether it applies to a specific person or not. Physical beauty commonly includes a person’s skin tone, hair colour, and style, body shape, weight, and size. Physical beauty affects everyone. It is one of the most important factors people consider when they are trying to make themselves look good. In many situations, physical beauty has an effect on a person’s self-esteem. Here are the ways in which physical beauty affects a person’s self-esteem. 

What is self-esteem?

Self-esteem is defined as how confident a person feels about their own abilities and qualities. Self-esteem can vary in high or low amounts depending on many factors including, but not limited to: intelligence level, physical appearance, social skills/popularity, family background and work ethic.

First impressions

Physical appearance is one of the first things people notice about others. This means that it has a large impact on first impressions, which can lead to affecting how others feel about you on an emotional level. People tend to have higher opinions of those who are more physically attractive than those who are less physically attractive. For example, if someone is exceptionally beautiful, they will likely be given more opportunities in life than someone who is not as beautiful. Also, people tend to associate physical beauty with positive characteristics such as friendliness, warmth, and confidence. On the other hand, physical unattractiveness is often associated with negative characteristics such as unfriendliness, coldness, and negativity, sadness, or weakness.

Self-esteem at work

Being beautiful gives certain advantages over others, in the sense that other people will act differently around them than they would if they were unattractive or “ugly” looking. For example, a job interview is a situation in which people want to make the best and most favourable impression on their interviewer. Unfortunately for some, an interviewer’s first opinion of a job applicant is based mostly on how they look and not necessarily their personality or qualifications. For this reason, it can be difficult to get a job without looking like one of the popular models on the cover of magazines such as Vogue or Elle. It’s little wonder that people improve their appearance for job interviews with makeup or surgical procedures like dental implants. If you factor in full mouth dental implants cost, this is worth it. This is because dental implants are a great way to improve a smile, which is an indicator of physical beauty. 

Even if an unattractive person gets hired for a job where physical appearance does not matter, such as retail, customers will still treat them differently than someone who looks more attractive. When customers fuss at an ugly or less appealing worker, managers have every right to believe that said worker did something wrong because bad customer service is inexcusable no matter who the worker is. On the other hand, good-looking people generally get more breaks and can do things that less attractive people cannot at work. This is bound to affect self-esteem. 

Self-esteem in relationships

Physical beauty is a trait that many people consider when searching for potential relationship partners. A person’s level of physical attractiveness contributes to the level of attraction they receive from other members of the opposite sex, as well as their self-esteem. In general, those who are less physically attractive tend to have lower self-esteem and confidence than those who are more physically attractive. Thus, a physically unattractive person might be more likely to engage in behavior such as ignoring personal hygiene or dressing sloppily because they know they will not receive much attention from others. On the other hand, someone who is very attractive will likely take extra care with their appearance because they know that it will make an impression on others and increase their likelihood of receiving attention from those around them.

Self-esteem and eating disorders 

People suffering from eating disorders are often influenced by the messages that are portrayed in popular culture about what is attractive and acceptable. The messages that are sent through life, on television, magazines, billboards, music videos, etc., tend to be very constricting when it comes to body image. People who feel especially pressured by society’s messages sometimes develop negative feelings toward their bodies. They may have low self-esteem or confidence, which can lead them to turn towards food for comfort or control. 

When it comes to self-esteem, physical attractiveness is often considered more important than other traits. This can be seen through the different ways in which people treat those who are attractive and unattractive. People with low self-esteem may try to improve their appearance because they believe that physical beauty will equate to popularity, success, and happiness. The effect of society’s messages about what is beautiful and acceptable on people with body image problems has also been well documented by researchers investigating eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa.


Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She is interested in mental health and well-being.


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