Nearly half of all U.S. adults have taken a selfie. These selfies are then often posted on social media websites, where people try to look their best. After taking a selfie, many begin examining themselves closer to determine how to improve their looks. Selfies can lead to plastic surgery when one finds dissatisfaction with his or her appearance.
The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) conducted a study which determined that one in three plastic surgeons are noticing a rise in the number of patients wanting facial procedures in order to look better online. Social media sites, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are often where people, particularly young people, post selfies. Individuals then examine the pictures of themselves they put on the social media sites, and if they are disappointed they may decide plastic surgery is an option they wish to explore.
In the study, 13 percent of AAFPRS members surveyed said that photo sharing, and the patient’s displeasure with their image, has led to an increase in facial surgeries. Social media sites are causing selfie takers to be more critical of themselves than ever before. It allows them to look at one’s self microscopically. Because social networks are commonly used by young people, this could be the reason behind the increase in younger patients as well.
The study found that 58 percent of the AAFPRS members who were surveyed noted an increase in patients under 30 who were requesting surgery and injectables. The women in the under 30 age group tended to ask for things that would keep their skin younger looking for longer. Men under 30 asked for procedures to remove acne scars, rhinoplasty, and chin implants.
President of the AAFPRS, Dr. Edward Farrior, explained that selfies on social networks are often the first impressions that young people give others. He added that these young people want to look their best. Wanting to give the best impression in selfies may lead to plastic surgery. Between 2012 and 2013 the members of AAFPRS saw a 10 percent increase in rhinoplasty or nose jobs. There were also increases reported for hair transplants and eyelid surgeries.
Women made up 81 percent of all treatments, both surgical and non-surgical in 2013. The nose job is still the most requested procedure for men and women under the age of 35.
Why all the selfies? Some experts claim that selfies can actually help in finding one’s self. It gives the individual a chance to shape his or her identity. Jennifer Oullette, a science writer who recently authored Me, Myself, and Why: Searching for the Science of Self, states that everyone has a need to put one’s self forward in the world. She continued that everyone also has a need to grasp who they are in the world.
If selfies are a way to create one’s identity, than plastic surgery may also be contributing to the creating of an identity. As more young people want to have better selfies to post on social media, plastic surgery may continue to rise if disappointment leads the individual to plastic surgery.
By Ashley Campbell