Selfies are driving up the demand for cosmetic treatments and procedures even though they may sometimes offer a distorted image.
With the rise in social media photo-sharing platforms, we are now more than ever seeking makeovers because we don't like the way we look in photos published online.
But consultant plastic surgeon Marc Pacifico warns that selfies can be unrealistic, because of the distortion of faces.
He says: ‘Often there is a “fish-eye” distortion if taken too close. More and more clients are coming to consultations armed with selfies as evidence that they “need” surgery. This is particularly true of people with concerns about their faces, such as rhinoplasty patients.
‘I certainly think the millennial generation have been impacted on noticeably in my practice and it is important clinicians have a very sensitive antenna for detecting patients who might not have realistic expectations.’
He has also seen a rise in the number of us using Photoshop-type programmes on our smartphones in a bid to try to alter actual photos to address the areas with which we have concerns.
He says: ‘There has been an impact from the software apps that allow people to alter their photos, which seems to be leading to an upward spiralling of expectations in looks and appearance.’
‘But, it is important for a plastic surgeon to be honest, realistic and show clear “before and after” photographs to illustrate what is achievable.’
London ‘lip queen’ Dr Rita Rakus comments: ‘We live in a world now where everything is digital or photographed and that makes us more aware of how we look and how our looks make us feel.’
Recently, cosmetic dentists also suggested that the 21st-century imaging phenomenon was driving more people into dental surgeries, with some suggesting that many of us look to fix what we wrongly believe are ‘horsey’ teeth, created by misleading up-close images that make the two front teeth appear as if they protrude.
Cosmetic dentist Rahul Doshi confirmed that patients come in with selfies as evidence for cosmetic denal treatments.
He says: ‘Selfies are an important influence as patients have more of them taken than conventional photos.
‘Exposure to an increasing number of smile makeovers online has also increased the emotional desire to look better, so the net result is increase in cosmetic demand.
He adds: ‘Whether it is simple cosmetic dental treatments they are seeking or a more complex course of orthodontics, all options should be explained to patients with the advantages, disadvantage and limitations of options, so the patient has all the information to make their own choice and decision.’