Photographed by Sarah Balch.
We love a good selfie as much as the next person, and yes, we're guilty of using filters to look our best with a camera phone lens within inches of our face. But, a lot of people are taking their appearance on social media so seriously, they're turning to plastic surgery to perfect flaws. Indeed, the age of the average plastic surgery candidate is getting younger, and social media has them flipping their phones to dial their nearest surgeon's office for an upgrade.
A recent study by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) stated that more than half of their members (who, you know, happen to be plastic and reconstructive surgeons) stated that more than half of their new patients (58%) were under the age of 30. One in three surgeons surveyed saw an uptick in requests due to patients' awareness of their "flaws" via increased social media exposure.
"It's all being driven by digital images," says Dr. Andrew Jacono M.D., F.A.C.S., director of The New York Center for Facial Plastic & Laser Surgery and J SPA Medical Day Spa, as well as a member of the group surveyed. "People can take and post hundreds of photos of themselves during a week or a month, and since you can see yourself from so many different angles, you're aware of your [perceived] deficiencies. Most use photo filters to enhance what they can, but some eventually come in to correct issues with their appearance."
Lack of control over their image doesn't help. "With photo-sharing platforms, you're less in control of your image since people can tag images of you without your permission or knowledge. This used to be the kind of problem only experienced by celebrities, but now everyone has that level of exposure."
The most common procedures? "I see a lot of light fixes: overly large noses, weak cheekbones, thinner lips, small chins, etc.," Dr. Jacono says. "Some men and women have weaker jawlines, and they want to strengthen them so they can look better in photos." He adds that most issues can be solved with simple injections, which is another reason for the rise in the number of procedures: "An injectable feels easier and less severe than a full facelift or surgery for people around their 30s, so they're more inclined to take advantage of them. You can get your cheeks and/or lips plumped and go back to work in the afternoon."
Quite a few who get an appearance alteration are repeat customers. "People take photos of themselves post-treatment and bring it back months later to tweak the results or get more of the same," says Dr. Jacono.
While you should do what you want to do, we feel like we need to point out that there are plenty of other solutions rather than knives and needles. There are tons — hear us on this, TONS — of makeup techniques to slim your face, shade your nose, sculpt cheekbones and a jawline, and more. Hit an online tutorial and maybe try some of those? They're cheaper, and, you know, less painful. Because, in the end, the operative word in selfie is "self," which is who you have to answer to when all those photos are gone, and it's just you and the mirror.
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