That almost sounds unbelievable doesn’t it; the average millennial will take 25,700 selfies in their lifetime. This equates to one per day across their whole life. This is obviously clustered into a pocket of their lives when this really matters to them and during which the technology to take these and also platforms to share these selfies are right at their fingertips, but that is a lot of attention of people’s facial features.
It is statistics such as this that are fuelling the debate about selfies and people’s approach to taking and sharing photos of themselves. One study set out to look at this, with a focus on just how much editing young people do to the picture they take of themselves. Many people will confess to taking many attempts to get the perfect pout, the perfect eye contact, the perfect angle to the jawline… and this is just the start. Others will then apply easy filters from any number of apps that help enlarge their eyes, sharpen their contours, smooth out skin and accentuate favoured features.
Although finding a flattering angle is nothing new in the world of photography, there are concerns that some people are taking this craze a bit too far, and the quest for looking insta-perfect, could be damaging their self-confidence.
Fashion photographer Rankin is behind a project to explore the impact of imagery on our mental health, and says “it’s time to acknowledge the damaging effects that social media has on people’s self-image”. His project took photographs of 15 teenagers and gave them access to the raw files to assess how pleased they were with his work. Interestingly, he reports that “each one tinkered with their photographs, with the most common alterations being smoother skin, enhanced eyes and thinner noses. Not one left their image untouched.”
Cosmetic surgery and social media
The desire to filter and tweak imagery correlates with the interest in these areas is the cosmetic surgery industry too. There has been continued interest in procedures that smooth and firm the skin (which can be done surgically, or non-surgically, depending on what patients are looking to achieve) and also the procedures such as eyebrow lifts, fixing crows’ feet and removing bags from under the eyes.
The ability to tweak these things with a filter is one thing, but for many people being able to fix them with a little bit of help from a cosmetic surgeon is very appealing. It offers a longer-term fix for areas that people feel less confident with. Helping reverse the ageing process with some clever nips and tucks has been popular for many years and that trend is continuing.
A reputable plastic surgeon will always assess a patient’s mental health as part of the consultation process when they are considering any procedure and this due diligence helps ensure that the procedure is being done for the right reasons and that patients have realistic expectations about the expected outcomes.