Most of us take “selfies” and a large percentage of us filter and modify these images before posting them on our social media pages for all to see. Facial modification apps with filters are almost as popular as the social media pages they are posted on and the Cosmetic Physicians College of Australasia (CPCA) say they are seeing more and more patients experiencing a distorted sense of self leading them to launch the “Get Real” campaign.
Millennials leading the trend
Cosmetic enhancements, both surgical and non-surgical, are now widely accepted as part of the beauty routine. This trend is led by the Millennials but is also seen across a wide cross-section of society. CPCA say this is leading to a trivialisation of cosmetic procedures, contributing to damaged self-esteem and leading to unrealistic expectations when it comes to the results that can be achieved through those cosmetic enhancements.
New research suggests that selfies can distort reality by on average 30%. A study by JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery says any selfie taken less than 5 feet away will produce a distorted image with the size of the nose appearing up to 30% larger and other features such as the lips appear smaller! There has even been a label put on the unrealistic view one social media forum gives all it’s users, “Snapchat Dysmorphia”. In a study by American psychologists, it was found that the more often people used these social media sites, the more aware of and concerned by their “imperfections” they became.
CPCA say people are spending more time looking at themselves on social media. This, combined with selfie image distortion and facial modification apps, has contributed to the number of cosmetic enhancements rising quite dramatically over the last few years. People are trying to achieve the “perfection” they see on social media in real life. Plastic Surgeons and Aesthetic Practitioners are having to manage unrealistic expectations in more and more patients and widely agree that selfie distortion is real. In their press release, Dr Michael Molton, President of the CPCA says, “This selfie phenomenon and the associated physical and psychological side effects makes it even more imperative for patients to seek appropriate professional advice by trained and experienced doctors. CPCA members follow a strict code of conduct and uphold ethical standards, allowing them to make psychological assessments and thus, advise accordingly, putting patient safety first. The CPCA recognises the importance of helping patients understand that proportion in reality is different to proportion in selfies. We are doctors who are experienced and trained to listen to our patients and their concerns while making appropriate recommendations in line with realistic expectations. We are here to guide our patients to make informed decisions to achieve a desirable outcome.”
CPCA hope that the “Get Real” campaign will help create awareness amongst social media users and help patients understand the selfie distortion phenomena so they can recognise what’s real and what’s not and what may or may not be achievable through cosmetic enhancement.
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