Selfies distort face’s appearance, plastic surgeons warn

Plastic surgeons say that selfies or self-photographs can distort the face and make the nose look larger than it. They say they’ve seen an uptick in requests for cosmetic procedures from people who want to look better in selfies.

“Patients under age 40 take out their phones and tell me they don’t like how they look,” said Dr. Boris Paskhover of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark.

“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.”

According to a poll by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, 42 per cent of surgeons have seen patients who want procedures to improve their selfies and pictures on social media platforms.

Paskhover and colleagues explain in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery that the distortion happens in selfies because the face is such a short distance from the camera lens.

In a recent study, they calculated distortion of facial features at different camera distances and angles. They found that the perceived nasal width increased as the camera moved closer to the face. At 30 centimetres away, for instance, selfies increased nasal size by 30 per cent in males and 29 per cent in females. At 1.5 metres, however, the proportion of features is to real-life scale.