The self-portrait of the digital age, the selfie, has become a global phenomenon. People of all ages all over the world have caught onto the selfie craze, capturing moments of themselves at any time and at any place. It is part of our modern culture that we all engage in without any significant thought.

Why? Well, because it is simply a fun way to capture a moment with friends, document a personal digital journal, or just show everyone on multiple social media platforms (ie Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, etc.) exactly where you are, what you are doing and who you are with.

 

The link between the selfie and facial plastic surgery

 

Up close and personal

But only at an arm’s length distance, self-portraits are predominately close-up and personal. Your face appears exaggerated on a typically hand-held sized smartphone, and the facial imperfections can be easily seen with a more self-critical eye. According to a survey by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) selfies have heightened the growing awareness to our personal appearance which makes us think and consider surgical and non-surgical procedures to look and feel better.

In 2014 AAFPRS showed that one in three facial plastic surgeons surveyed saw an increase in requests for procedures due to patients being more self-aware of their looks on social media. “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,” said 2013-2014 AAFPRS President Edward H. Farrior.

Increase in youth

There is no doubt that social media plays a particularly influential role in the lives of teenagers and young adults today, feeding the need to improve self-esteem and any confidence challenges. In 2014, 64% of the member facial plastic surgeons experienced an increase in cosmetic surgery or injectables in those under age 30. In an age where photos are uploaded onto social media with a simple click, teenagers and young adults are feeling the pressure to look their best.

The 2015-2016 AAFPRS President Edwin Williams III stated, “The teen and young adult years are a highly impressionable time and the more consumers are inundated with celebrity images via social media, the more they want to replicate the enhanced, re-touched images that are passed off as reality.” AAFPRS members predict that the biggest trend for the future of facial plastic surgery amongst young adults is early maintenance to delay and/or avoid more serious and costly procedures later in life.

Popularity rise in BoNT

In 2015 there were approximately 14.2 million cosmetic minimally-invasive procedures performed, and Botox® made up an astounding 53 percent of these procedures. According to a press release dated in 2016 by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Botulinum Toxin Type A was on top of the list with 6.7 million procedures, up 1 percent from the previous year and 759 percent since 2000. Soft Tissue Fillers came in second with 2.4 million procedures, while chemical peel, laser hair removal and microdermabrasion rounded out the top 5.

 

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The selfie crazy              

Since the introduction of the front-facing smartphones, starting with the introduction of the iPhone4 in 2010, the selfie craze ignited and did not take long to go viral. According to the Oxford English Dicionary, 2013 was the year of the selfie. Everybody has caught on to the selfie craze, from President Obama, Pope Francis to TV host Ellen DeGeneres. Even after 6 years it is evident that the selfie craze is not only a craze, but the mainstream and part of our everyday culture. The correlation between the selfie and facial plastic surgery is undeniable, and the link between the two is likely to grow even stronger.

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