Summary: There’s a new kind of photo on the prowl. Most of you probably know it. It’s the selfie. The picture you take of yourself with your cell phone (shortly before you post said picture to social media). Selfies are enormously popular and they’re influencing plastic surgery. Indeed, patients often know how to use selfies to talk about plastic surgery. This is helping surgeons give patients better results and facilitating communication overall. So while it may sound vain and silly, it’s actually a pretty good thing.
Patients Are Learning How to Use Selfies to Talk About Plastic Surgery
We’ve discussed quite extensively how celebrities influence plastic surgery. The old story is that a patient will bring in a photograph of their favorite actress—Megan Fox or Angelina Jolie, and so on—and use this photograph as a guide. The patient might request Fox’s lips or Julie’s hips. In any case, these celebrity photos would be used as a kind of guide, telling the surgeon what the final result should look like, at least, as far as the patient is concerned. After all, most plastic surgery patients are pretty happy with the way they look, except for one or two things they’d like to change (hence, the surgery).
That’s not always the case these days, and that’s thanks in large part to modern technology. The cell phone has become ubiquitous these days and, with it, the selfie. For those of you who don’t know, a selfie is loosely defined as a picture of yourself that you took yourself. It’s like the autobiography of pictures. It’s nothing new, really—people have been taking such snaps for a long time. But back then you had to wait to get the film developed, which made it a much riskier proposition. Today, every phone has a camera (a great camera) and photo editing software on it. This means that selfies can look both cute and polished with minimal effort.
On Social Media and in the Office
As a result, these photos end up all over social media. Why not share a cute picture of yourself? That’s what Facebook is for, after all. However, selfies have had a kind of double-impact on the realm of plastic surgery (and that’s not necessarily a negative thing). Instead of bringing in photos of celebrities, patients often bring in photos of themselves (of course, these photos are usually on their cell phone and they are usually selfies). The reason for this seems pretty clear: the photos are where you see the flaws in the first place. And they’re also where, after applying a filter or some editing, you see how much better you look with big lips.
There are, of course, some dangers in this. Selfies aren’t exactly the most reliable photographs in the world when it comes to photography. That has to do with the lenses used on cell phones—space is at a premium, so lenses tend to have a pretty large depth of field, and the image, therefore, tends to get a bit flattened. This can lead to a bit of distortion in your photograph. It’s not going to make your photos look any less stunning, and it’s a small price to pay for such fearsome technology, but it can definitely artificially emphasize your flaws.
Selfies Don’t Always Tell the Truth
In other words, you may look better in person than you do in your selfies. Your plastic surgeon will likely let you know whether you’re being a little overly sensitive or whether there is some merit to your insecurity. At the end of the day, plastic surgery is designed to make you feel more confident in yourself, and your selfies may be a source of confidence after plastic surgery.
The second thing we see selfies doing is increasing the pressure to look good. Photos have a way of making us feel great about ourselves or lousy about ourselves. The more photos we take, the harder it is to ignore such feelings. The solution, then, often plastic surgery. Whether you’re looking for an Englewood rhinoplasty surgeon to help transform your face or some Los Angeles Botox to take the edge off your wrinkles, patients will often feel better once their one problem area is addressed. After all, like we mentioned above, most patients feel pretty comfortable—it’s just that one spot they want fixed.
But They Can Be Useful Tools
Unfortunately, selfies can feel like they’re emphasizing that one spot. And with every selfie that you—or your friends take—it’s another reminder that you aren’t, for example, completely happy with your nose. Such feelings can certainly dampen your enthusiasm for selfies and all the fun that comes with them (or “fun,” depending on your perspective). In other words, most patients feel a lot better about selfies once they transform their problem areas into a point of pride. Plastic surgery helps many patients accomplish just such a transformation.
There’s no doubt, after all, that society is changing quite rapidly. One of those changes is thanks to the introduction of the cell phone and it’s called the selfie. My sense is that, while the selfie “craze” may be over, these photos are going to be in the cultural repertoire for quite some time. Luckily, plastic surgery can help you cope.