A survey of members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons last year found that social media was driving more plastic surgery requests than any other social influence: more than TV, movies or magazine photography. People are simply spending more time looking at themselves.
But selfies also mislead people about how they look.
Smartphone cameras get better each year, but photos taken at arm’s length or closer often produce a “fish eye” effect: Whatever’s at the centre of the photo is bigger, and things on the periphery are smaller.
The self-taken photograph is warping the confidence of many younger people in unsettling ways.
Don’t trust a selfie and here’s why:
One of the first things I do in a consultation is take a photograph from a reasonable distance, with professional lighting.
This has persuaded hundreds of my potential patients that there’s no reason for surgery. One young woman, on whom I’d already performed a rhinoplasty, forwarded me a selfie, along with a note saying that her eyebrows sagged in an unflattering way.
She included a photo of Kylie Jenner and said she wanted her eyebrows to look like Jenner’s. But she was taking her selfie from an unusually high angle.
I persuaded her to look at some standard photographs before moving forward, and she decided not to have the work done.
- Dr Daria Hamrah is a facial cosmetic surgeon at Nova Surgicare in McLean, Virginia.