The constant presence of social media in our lives certainly has its upsides, but more downsides keep emerging, including lower personal growth, Pinterest stress, and, now, an increase of plastic surgery, according to a poll from the American Academy of Facial Plastics and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS).
The survey asked 753 AAFPRS board-certified facial plastic surgeons to describe trends they were seeing in reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. One finding stuck out: Surgeons are seeing a 31-percent increase in plastic surgery requests as a result of how people want to present themselves on social media accounts.
“We live in a very visual world, and have come to expect that we will be ‘Googled’ or ‘Facebooked’ even before actually meeting someone socially or professionally,” Sam Rizk, M.D., an AAFPRS member and director of Manhattan Facial Plastic Surgery in New York, told Time. “I see a lot of men and women who are executives or high-profile so they are in the public eye. Their photos get taken all the time and they never know where they may end up. Between high-definition television, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram, how you look in photos and video clips has definitely become a driver for all cosmetic procedures from Botox to neck lifts.”
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The survey noted that while breast augmentation remains the most popular cosmetic surgery option, surgeons are seeing an increase in procedures such as botox, upper-arm lifts, rhinoplasty, and facelifts.
It's not entirely surprising to hear that the advent of social media might affect how people feel about their looks. In October, SHAPE partnered with SheKnows.com to find out how readers felt about their body image and self-esteem. Forty-two percent reported that social media made them feel less confident about their looks.
"Social media sites center around photos," New York-based plastic surgeon Matthew Schulman, M.D., told SHAPE in an earlier post. "Everyone wants to see how their high school girlfriend or boyfriend looks now, and no one wants to be perceived as ugly or old."
Dr. Schulman also told SHAPE that he has seen a significant increase in plastic surgery requests from people who are worried about how they appear online, which is consistent with the AAFPRS survey.
Still, going under the knife for a good profile pic is a drastic step! What do you think? What would you do for a perfect profile pic? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @Shape_Magazine.