It’s no secret that a large number of Americans are unhappy with their image. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, there’s been a dramatic rise in the number of cosmetic procedures performed over the last 15 years. But could the last decade’s boom in social networking actually be related to the boom in plastic surgery? According to some doctors, yes — Facebook is driving people under the knife.
It’s not just Facebook that’s giving people anxiety over their appearance, of course — doctors cite the increase of video chatting tools such as Skype and FaceTime as well. Explains Dr. Adam Schaffner, a New York plastic surgeon, “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.’ 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.” And the prevalence of tools like Photoshop aren’t helping. By making everyone else look more attractive, image editing tools make you feel less so when you view yourself in your natural state.
This new, social media driven vanity is driving plastic surgeons to cater to the growing market. Schaffner performs a surgery called the “Lifestyle Lift,” a minimally invasive procedure to tighten up the face. One doctor in Virginia is even offering what is being called a “FaceTime Facelift,” a procedure designed to make people appear more attractive during FaceTime conversations.