We all know how selfies have taken over the social media landscape. Since most people want to look their best whenever a camera is pointed at their face, is there any possibility that people who are self-conscious about their looks due to less-than-perfect selfies are more likely to go to a cosmetic surgeon?
According to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, this is happening. A recently released study states that a third of plastic surgeons have seen more people request procedures due to an increased awareness of their personal appearance on social media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram, and other programs.
Rising trends in cosmetic surgery
As a result of the selfie’s popularity, cosmetic surgeons have seen other changes in patient requests. Many of these physicians (about 13 percent) say this is due to a rising dissatisfaction with personal appearance and the popularity of photo sharing on social media outlets.
In recent years, cosmetic surgeons have gotten more requests for certain procedures. According to the AAFPRS study, plastic surgeons handled a ten percent increase in rhinoplasty (nose jobs) procedures from 2012 to 2013.
Increases in hair transplants (six percent) and eyelid surgery (seven percent) also occurred within this time frame.
Young people and plastic surgery
The study also highlighted an increase in requests for procedures among young people under the age of 35. For example, more than half (58 percent) of cosmetic surgeons fielded requests for procedures such as Botox injections or collagen procedures by young people 30 and under.
Some cosmetic surgeons say the increase is more due to increasing societal pressure to look younger than ever. Even though many of the requests are coming from women who want to have younger skin, men are not immune from the desire to look younger.
Cosmetic surgeons have also seen an increase in young men seeking rhinoplasties, chin implants, and the removal of acne scars.
Are these trends necessarily bad?
The rise of social media and its role in the bullying epidemic among young teens has gotten a lot of attention. Because of the public nature of online bullying, many teens look to cosmetic surgery as a solution. According to the AAFPRS, 76 percent of children and teens undergo cosmetic procedures because of bullying.
Edward Farrior, MD, president of the AAFPRS, does not necessarily think these rising trends are all bad. “Social platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and the iPhone app Selfie.im … force patients to hold a microscope up to their own image and often look at it with a more self-critical eye than ever before…. These images are often the first impressions young people put out there to prospective friends, romantic interests, and employers, and our patients want to put their best face forward.”
As long as the patient recognizes that a cosmetic surgical procedure isn’t a cure for all that ails them in life, the treatment can be largely a positive thing. Personal appearance will always be important in our society, so cosmetic procedures may be just the thing to boost a person’s sense of self-worth and yes, get better selfies in the process.