By Aleksandra Vayntraub // SWNS
More than two-thirds (68%) of adults sometimes feel as awkward as they did in their teens, new research suggests.
A survey of 2,000 U.S. respondents ages 25–45 found that as teens, people were most self-conscious about their body shape (65%), hairstyle (61%) and smile (61%).
And many continue to feel this way, despite the average person feeling at their most awkward at age 17.
More men than women are currently self-conscious about their glasses/contact lenses (51% vs. 39%), height (54% vs. 42%), hairstyle (57% vs. 48%) and smile (55% vs. 49%).
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Smile Express, a doctor-monitored at-home aligner treatment for adults, results also found that only 30% usually stand in the front row when posing for a group photo, with fewer women than men doing so (24% vs. 34%).
That may have to do with their smile, as less than a quarter of respondents show their teeth when grinning (24%).
It’s not surprising, then, that selfies make some people anxious (41%) or stressed (36%), despite also feeling excited (36%).
What aspects of their appearance make them feel this way? Their smile (48%), body shape (47%), clothes (46%) and hairstyle (45%).
“Smiling is one of the top ways people show confidence, and studies have shown we perceive those who smile as being more confident and happier,” said Dr. Zachary Casagrande, founder and developer of Smile Express. “If you wore braces as a teen, chances are, you may not have always worn your retainer, potentially resulting in minor teeth shifting or misalignment.”
Half of the respondents have worn braces in the past, doing so for an average of 23 months.
However, 72% have had a “glow-up” since their teen years, resulting in clearer skin (53%), a better haircut (51%), fitter body (50%) and straighter teeth (49%).
And eight in 10 (83%) reported feeling more confident as a result.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t things people would still want to improve about themselves, though. Respondents shared they aim to have better eyesight (54%), an improved fashion style (54%) and physical fitness (53%), with 41% also wanting a better smile.
“People feel more confident when they can fully express themselves. That includes being able to smile without restraint or embarrassment,” Dr. Casagrande added. “As adults, straightening your teeth doesn’t have to be an awkward, time-consuming experience. There are at-home alternatives to traditional comprehensive orthodontic treatment that don’t require monthly clinic visits. Just be sure to choose a treatment that is monitored by a real orthodontist to ensure it is safe and effective and will have your smile looking refreshed and ready to share with the world.”
WHAT WERE PEOPLE SELF-CONSCIOUS ABOUT AS TEENS?
- Body shape - 65%
- Hairstyle - 61%
- Smile - 61%
- Voice - 58%
- Posture - 58%
- Braces/aligners - 58%
- Acne - 57%
- Height - 56%
- Glasses/contact lenses - 55%
WHAT ARE PEOPLE SELF-CONSCIOUS ABOUT AS ADULTS?
- Body shape - 55%
- Hairstyle - 53%
- Smile - 52%
- Height - 48%
- Posture - 48%
- Voice - 47%
- Braces/aligners - 46%
- Acne - 46%
- Glasses/contact lenses - 45%
This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 U.S. adults ages 25–45 was commissioned by Smile Express between Aug. 7 and Aug. 10, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).