Let’s face it: Selfie photos are just a part of modern-day life. They’re not going away anytime soon, and people of every age—from tweens to grandparents—are taking these headshots every day. The question is how does this cultural phenomenon apply to facial plastic surgery—and self-worth?
There’s certainly an uptick in people who reference the ubiquitous selfie when booking plastic surgery consultations. The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the world’s largest specialty association for facial plastic surgery, recognized and called out this tendency several years ago.
Statistics have only trended upward since then. In fact, in 2017, some 55 percent of facial plastic surgeons reported seeing patients who wanted to look better in selfies. That finding was up a significant 13 percent from the year prior.
Not surprisingly, Dr. Brent J. Smith handles similar desires at his Denver practice. Some requests are directly related to a patient’s appearance in selfie portraits, especially those who use social media or image-driven apps regularly for dating or even marketing an independent business.
However, it’s important to note that smartphone cameras have a way of distorting reality. Flipping the camera on your face brings all the focus to the center of the screen, making anything in the middle look larger and distorting reality in the process. Selfies are not a productive way to judge yourself.
Ironically, using technology for increased amounts of time and posing for selfies has added another layer of concern for people considering plastic surgery on their face. Social media mavens are starting to see the effects of “tech neck”—a premature wrinkling and loosening of the skin around the neck area. For example, Smith Cosmetic Surgery recently worked with a patient who first noticed her tech neck as an unsightly daily reflection in her iPhone and iPad.
Making statements and showing off
That said, social media, selfies and the sharing economy have also created a new sense of solidarity, for better or worse. In many cases, A-list celebrities and everyday Joes are using face photos in two different ways. The first is posting images without makeup on—those “just woke up” images—to make a statement about natural beauty and sometimes the empowerment of women of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds.
Alternately, people from all over the world are posting freely about surgical work that they have had and are proud to show off. From lip injections to cheek implants to mini facelifts, nothing is off limits anymore, and there may be value in that honest approach as well.
Happy or unhappy with your appearance?
Either way, “selfie”-awareness is only becoming more prominent and raises some interesting questions about why people choose to have plastic surgery in the first place.
Several past studies have shown that plastic surgery can work effectively to boost self-confidence for patients of all ages. One of the most comprehensive followed 98 women and two men for a couple of years after plastic surgery.
Nearly 90 percent of participants reported being either “somewhat satisfied” or “extremely satisfied” with their procedure each time they filled out the researchers’ questionnaires. Even after two years, 93 percent said that they would have the surgery again.
That may have measured post-surgical feelings about overall appearance, but what about overall happiness related to having plastic surgery?
A large 2012 study found that at least among younger patients surgery did not improve overall self-worth.
Of 1,500 young women in the study, which followed prospective patients over 13 years, 78 of the girls who followed through with plastic surgery procedures tended to have a history of poorer mental health to begin with, and having cosmetic surgery did not make them happier.
How to draw the line
These contrasting findings seem to show that patients need to draw an important line when making the life-changing decision to have facial plastic surgery.
For those with solid self-esteem and healthy lifestyle habits, facial plastic surgery could be that choice that takes life to the next level. For those concerned only with boosting their online status or who already suffer from signs of waning self-esteem, it may not be the smartest choice, at least at a younger age.
It’s important to ask yourself questions like these:
- Is improving your online profile or social media status playing a significant part in your choice to enhance your facial features?
- Were you considering a facelift before you became more involved in image-driven social media such as Instagram or Facebook?
- Do you have deeper concerns about your self-worth that could be related to personal issues such as history, relationships and destructive behavior?
Only you can make that decision, but a qualified, board-certified plastic surgeon such as Dr. Smith can become a helpful ally in making the most informed choice possible.
With 30 years in the business of restoring natural beauty to the face, Dr. Smith has had every conversation imaginable with prospective patients. He and his staff are well versed in guiding people of all ages and backgrounds into both surgical and non-surgical enhancements that are the right fit for each individual.
Are you considering facial plastic surgery? Schedule a complimentary consultation with the exceptional and trusted team at Smith Cosmetic Surgery. We are here to support you in making the decision that is best for you.