In March 2018, a study revealed that selfies distort the appearance of facial features, with the nose being most misrepresented by the camera’s lens.
The report, ‘Nasal Distortion in Short-Distance Photographs: The Selfie Effect’, found that a face-on portrait taken from 12 inches away makes the width of the nose appear about 30% larger – compared to width of the face – than it really is.
Not only that, but the tip of the nose also appears 7% bigger when compared to the rest of the nose than it is in reality. When the photo is taken from five feet away, the facial features appear in the same proportions as they would in the flesh.
Photo credit: JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery
The impact of the selfie effect
In the UK, data from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) found the number of rhinoplasties performed in the UK had increased by 3% between 2017 and 2018. This follows a 2% rise between 2016 and 2017.
While this may not seem like a significant growth, the figures from BAAPS do not include the increasing numbers of individuals who are choosing non-surgical options such as liquid nose jobs, a cosmetic procedure that uses dermal fillers to alter the shape of the nose.
Additionally, in a survey published in January 2018 by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 55% of facial plastic surgeons reported that their patients wanted a procedure in order to improve their looks in selfies. This is an increase from 13% in 2013.
Boris Paskhover, co-author of the study and a facial plastic surgeon at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, said "Young adults are constantly taking selfies to post to social media and think those images are representative of how they really look, which can have an impact on their emotional state.
"I want them to realize that when they take a selfie they are in essence looking into a portable fun-house mirror."
Is a rhinoplasty the best option for you?
It is our view at Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors that cosmetic surgeons must do their due diligence and ensure that prospective patients are fully informed of the selfie effect before any operation is committed to.
Our concern is that people will seek to over-correct the shape of their nose because they perceive it to be larger than it really is. Any kind of rhinoplasty, whether surgical or non-surgical, is not a minor procedure - both types of procedure would involve a considerable physical, emotional and financial cost, which could otherwise be avoided.
The other issue is that if a patient undergoes a rhinoplasty based on their perception of their nose as seen through the lens of a selfie, then they may continue to experience levels of dissatisfaction following the operation as their nose will still be subject to the same issues of camera distortion.
How to take a selfie that flatters your nose
If you are unhappy with the way your nose looks in selfies, then it is worth reviewing how you take photos before exploring options for a rhinoplasty. In essence, the further away the camera is, the more true-to-life your nose will appear. To achieve this, try extending your arms as much as possible, employing the use of a selfie stick or asking a friend to take your photograph.
If you are sure that an operation is the best option for you, make sure to review our guide on how to find a safe cosmetic surgeon.
Get in touch
You can also find out more about our services in seeking compensation following a negligent rhinoplasty here. For more information about making a claim, get in touch by calling 0808 252 7176 or use our contact form.