Love it or hate it, the selfie has gone a long way since it first started popping up on our newsfeeds, and it’s here to stay! Starting as a niche online term, to becoming the subject of debates about vanity, and finally, to being the kind of picture taken at least 93 million times per day, these digital self-portraits make huge waves on different groups. Case in point: the world of plastic surgery.
At a glance, it makes absolute sense—before social media was even a thing, people would show doctors their ideal face or body through magazine cutouts, so the desire to look picture perfect isn’t new at all. But in what ways did the emergence of social media boosted the cosmetic industry?
Go online, and you won’t have to scroll far to stumble upon the first selfie on your feed. These pictures are so common in our digital and everyday lives that it’s way past the point of just self-expression; it’s also a way to communicate about everything from the most mundane likes and dislikes to personal opinions and experiences. Despite a lot of communication happening through pixels and screens, people still want to keep things face-to-face. Taking selfies is something that literally anybody with a camera phone can do, and it’s making it more widespread for people to think about how they want to present themselves to the world around them.
Have you ever wondered what you would look like with a different hairstyle or eye color? What about a different nose or higher cheekbones? Chances are, you can find out through an app that’s already on your phone. Makeover programs have been around for ages, but having that feature integrated into popular social media apps is changing the game for plastic surgery.
For people who want to get work done, selfies and social media make it a lot easier to figure out the kind of improvements they want to make on their physical appearance to gain more confidence. With more and more people using selfies as a reference for cosmetic changes, the plastic surgery industry is starting to take a deeper look into their impact.
In 2017, a poll revealed that 55% of facial plastic surgeons encountered patients who wanted surgeries to look better in selfies. Studies are exploring how these photos are making people more aware of how they look and, most importantly, broadening what’s perceived as beautiful and attractive. In a way, selfies in social media are driving people to seek the kind of technology that would give them their desired look.
But keep in mind, you shouldn’t always believe everything that your front-facing camera tells you. Dr. Boris Paskhover of Rutgers University pointed out that people’s faces get distorted depending on the position of the camera, so be sure to check all angles!
Ordinary individuals aside, selfies are practically social media currency for celebrities and influencers. It’s easy to think these are the people who get to dictate the way others want to look, but it wouldn’t be fair to pin everything down as narcissism! Selfies are motivated by people’s desire to control how they look and how they’re perceived, which is so much harder to do in person rather than online.
Sharing and posting selfies on social media is empowering for a lot of people, and plastic surgery is just one of the ways they can bring their ideal depictions of themselves to real life.
Between the social media world’s developing idea of beauty and plastic surgery’s progress, the most important point at the end of the day is confidence and self-love. The journey to finding those things is different for every person, and having a ton of options to achieve it is something that everyone should have.
So post a selfie, and be unapologetic about it! You never know who you might be helping find their confidence to do the same thing and go after what’ll make them feel good about themselves. At the end of the day, social media may be helping out the world of plastic surgery, but its very pulse still comes from the idea of self-improvement.