With today’s networking websites, video chatting software, and smart phone applications, people have the ability to share images of themselves faster than ever before. While most revel in the un-restricted capacity for expression, a growing number of technology users faced with candid digital photographs of themselves are becoming critical of their appearances. Instead of just de-tagging an unflattering picture or sprucing up their look in Photoshop, many are turning to plastic surgery. Coined “Facebook facelifts”, various cosmetic facial treatments are seeing a massive boosts in popularity due to a new brand of digital vanity.
The rise of the internet and social media have transformed the way that people connect and evaluate one another forever. Employers will often look at an applicant’s Facebook or LinkedIn profile before scheduling an interview, and lovelorn singles are able to peruse photos and personal information about perfect strangers on dating websites like OKCupid.com before deciding to meet them. This trend, combined with the impossible standards set by digitally enhanced models in magazines and ads, has put an enormous pressure on people to look good online as much as in person.
ABC’s Nightline recently aired an episode about a 37-year-old woman named Triana Lavey who was motivated to undergo chin augmentation surgery due to her virtual presence. “I have been self-conscious about my chin, and it's all stemming from these Facebook photos,” Lavey told reporters. 'I think that social media has really changed so much about how we look at ourselves and judge ourselves…Ten years ago, I don't think I even noticed that I had a weak chin.”
And Lavey’s story is just one of many. According to statistics published by the American Society for Plastic Surgeons since 2010 there has been 71% increase in chin augmentations, a 36% jump in cheek implants, and an 11% rise in the number of forehead lifts, all procedures frequently lumped into the Facebook facelift phenomenon.
Dr. Adam Schaffner, Director of Plastic Surgery at JUVA in Manhattan, believes part of the trend has to do with people being confronted with their physical quirks outside of the bathroom mirror. “People will come in and say, ‘I saw myself in the mirror, but I didn’t really notice it until I saw myself on Facebook or on my iPhone or iPad,’” Dr. Schaffer commented in an interview with Mashable.com. “When you look in the mirror you’re seeing the mirror image of yourself. But when you see yourself on social media, you’re seeing yourself the way the world sees you.”
Weighing in on the Facebook facelift trend from a marketing angle, Erik Deckers, author of Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself, told BetaBeat.com, “Plastic surgery isn’t necessary, but I can see their thinking…a good picture is important in developing your brand. We want to project the very best image we can. Ultimately, social media has become our résumé. But if you’ve got something on the photo that you don’t want showing up, Photoshop is still much cheaper than plastic surgery.
While critics like Deckers see the Facebook facelift trend as a campaign to feed off people’s digital insecurities, it’s clear that many like Lavey get a real boost in confidence from their procedures. "It extends all the way from Skyping with people [to] having people tag me in a Facebook photo," Trina Lavey said to ABC. "If the camera comes out at a party...I am fine with it. I am excited to see [the pictures]. Before, I used to want to hold my chin, but now I want to show my face."
Are you unhappy with the way you come across in person or in photographs? Interested in plastic surgery or non-invasive skin tightening treatments? All of the doctors in our wide network of plastic surgeons offer free consultations when you book through PSP, so contact us to schedule your visit to a cosmetic clinic near you!