selfieWell, it turns out that all those selfies might be driving people to get more plastic surgery. A recent study by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (or AAFPRS) found that the average candidate of elective facial surgery is getting younger, and that up to 58% of new patients are under the age of 30.

Every year the Academy polls the practices of their 2,700 members. This year when they surveyed surgeons about their patients, they found that one in three reported that more patients were coming in due to a heightened awareness of their flaws because of social media.

Edward Farrier, the president of the Academy explained:

“Social platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and the iPhone app, which are solely image based, force patients to hold a microscope up to their own image and often look at it with a more self-critical eye than ever before. These images are often the first impressions young people put out there to prospective friends, romantic interests and employers and our patients want to put their best face forward.”

This photo obsession is a fairly recent development based on the widespread usage and instant ease of smart phones. Technically, people have been taking selfies since the dawn of the camera, but it has been estimated that these days people take as many photos in two minutes as were taken in the entire 1800s. Yeah. The whole century.

Even ten years ago when film cameras were still being used we didn’t see the end result of a photo until it was developed, so the concept of tweaking a pose didn’t hold as much weight. It was likely that in those family photos, at least one of you has their eyes closed.

Now with the instant access we have more options, and might feel more of a pressure to keep up with our photo feed of everyone looking like supermodels. (Even if we know people use extreme photo editing apps.) Celebrities have classically fallen prey to the pressure with the constant camera to the face (just Google celeb nose jobs), but now people of all professions are strangely under the lens. Or at least think that they are.

Despite the increase in trips to the plastic surgeon, 75% of the procedures in 2013 were of the low-invasive variety. Some of the popular treatments that the younger people are coming in for is for dermal fillers and Botox injections, since they require little to no downtime, are less invasive than going under the knife, and can make dramatic adjustments to an appearance.

But altering your face for the sake of Instagram…? Unfortunately this is the sort of trend that has the ability to grow exponentially. But is there a breaking point? Until our culture’s obsession with youth and perfection abates perhaps you can quell your urge to alter your appearance by cutting down on your selfies.

Landscapes are always cool.



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