Many of us know the frustration of taking a selfie on our phones, looking at the result and being unhappy with it. It’s normal to feel like what you see in your camera doesn’t match what you see in the mirror, and that’s because it doesn’t! According to plastic surgeons, your selfie doesn’t actually show the real you.
Selfies Are Causing People to Change Their Faces
According to Dr. Boris Paskhover of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, “Patients under age 40 take out their phones and tell me they don’t like how they look … They literally show me a selfie of themselves and complain about their noses. I have to explain that I understand they’re not happy but what they’re seeing is distorted.”
In fact, a poll by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons found that 42 percent of surgeons have seen patients who want surgeries to improve their selfies for social media.
How Much Do Selfies Distort Our Appearances?
A recent study by Dr. Paskhover and his colleagues sought to determine exactly how much selfies distort our appearances – in particular, our noses. They accomplished this by determining a mathematical formula that calculates the distortion of facial features from certain camera angles.
Researchers modeled an average looking male and female face from a random sample of racially and ethnically diverse participants around the U.S. Using these models, researchers calculated the relative distortion of various facial features seen by a camera at 12 inches and five feet away.
They found that photos taken 12 inches away made the tip of the nose look 7 percent wider and the base of the nose 30 percent wider. Photos taken from 5 feet away saw almost no difference from appearance in real life.
“At that standard portrait distance of five feet, everything evens off,” Paskhover said. “That’s a classic portrait distance, which is fascinating. Photographers have known this for decades.”
Don’t Let Selfies Affect Your Self-Confidence
Dr. Paskhover recommends, “I really think we need to be self-aware that our cameras are skewing what we see. It’s not true… The younger generation needs to be aware of it — social media is everywhere.”
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