You might be more apt to seek out a face-lift, a new nose, hair implants or a boob job if you’re a fan of posting selfies on social media, a new study reports.
But before going through with the procedure, you should know that selfies aren’t giving you the true picture, according to a study in the April issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).
How selfies contribute to facial distortions
When compared to standard photos, selfies cause the nose to appear longer and wider. This distortion has led to a spike in the popularity of cosmetic plastic surgery in recent years.
“There is a noted relationship between the increase in selfie photographs and an increase in rhinoplasty requests, particularly among younger patients,” Dr. Amirlak’s team adds.
Nose reshaping surgery (rhinoplasty) is one of the most common varieties of cosmetic plastic surgery. Over 352,000 rhinoplasties were performed in 2020 alone, according to estimates.
The study included 30 volunteers, who took a series of three standard photographs. The first two were taken with a front-facing smartphone camera 12 and 18 inches away from each volunteer, recreating the act of taking a selfie at different arm angles. While the last photo used a digital single-lens reflex camera at a distance of five feet. The team took all three photos in the same area, under standard lighting conditions.
Next, researchers compared facial landmark measurements (nose, lip, chin, and facial width) between each person’s three photos, looking for distortions in the simulated selfies. Participants were also asked to complete a survey about their personal satisfaction with their appearance in both the selfies and the clinical photographs.
The results revealed significant distortions among the front-facing smartphone photos. The average nose appeared 6.4 percent longer on 12-inch selfies and 4.3 percent longer on 18-inch selfies.
There was also an additional 12 percent reduction in the length of the chin on 12-inch selfies, causing a significant 17 percent increase in the nose-to-chin ratio. Many selfies also made the base of a nose appear wider in relation to the actual width of the person’s face.
When placed side-by-side, the facial distortions were clear.
Participants were 9.1 percent less satisfied with their nose in the 12-inch selfies than the