I heard it again today from one of my patients. “I can’t stand the way I look when I see myself online.”
This patient was referring to the way she looks on her iPhone when she’s video chatting with her sister in Texas. But in many cases my patients are referring to their social media profile photo as well as candid shots they see of themselves online. This phenomenon has become so popular it actually has a name. Some are calling it the “FaceTime Facelift,” a reference to the popular iPhone feature and others are calling it “Facebook Facelift” a nod to the growing number of photos they see of themselves online. It seems as a society we are scrutinizing our looks from a whole new angle.
The first time I heard these terms I applauded my patients’ creativity, but after doing a recent Google search, I discovered millions of articles referencing this new social media phenomenon. In fact, recent studies indicate that more and more patients are turning to cosmetic surgery to help them improve their online appearance.
After giving this more thought, I realized that iPhones, webcams and Skype have literally caused users to look at themselves differently. Most people are used to seeing themselves in a mirror where you look straight ahead at your reflection. When video conferencing online, users look down into the screen, an angle that is much less flattering, as it draws the chin inward and makes the face and neck appear loose and saggy.
And thanks to Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and a whole host of other social media sites, we are connecting in a much more visual way then ever before. Not so long ago, we’d pose for pictures, deliberately looking our best. But now, cellphone cameras have created a population of paparazzi who love to capture us 24/7 doing the most mundane activities, and sometimes even looking our worst. You don’t even need to be famous to see hundreds of photos of yourself online. It’s understandable that we’ve begun to scrutinize the way we look in a much harsher light.
Social media has now presented a second type of mirror for patients to view themselves. As long as my patients have healthy, realistic expectations for how plastic surgery will change their life, I can certainly do a nip here and a tuck there to make them more comfortable with their online appearance. As for me, I try not to look too closely. I also avoid FaceTime.
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Please note that unless you are actually my patient, in which case I have seen and evaluated you at JW Plastic Surgery, then I am technically not your doctor. These posts and responses to inquiries are provided for educational and entertainment purposes but cannot apply to any individual patient who has not been directly evaluated by myself or another Board-certified plastic surgeon.