Does my nose look big in this selfie? Snaps are driving plastic surgeries

02 March 2018 - 10:09 By Dave Chambers
Image: Thinkstock

Selfies are driving people into plastic surgeons’ offices for nose reductions‚ according to new research.

The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons says 55% of surgeons report patients requesting cosmetic procedures for improved selfies.

Now an academy member has developed a mathematical model to show how noses are distorted by photographs taken at arm’s length‚ because he believes the way selfies are driving people’s self-image has become a public health issue.

“Young adults are constantly taking selfies to post to social media and think those images are representative of how they really look‚ which can have an impact on their emotional state‚” said Boris Paskhover‚ an assistant professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and a specialist in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery.

“I want them to realise that when they take a selfie they are in essence looking into a portable funhouse mirror.”

Paskhover sought a better way to explain to patients why they cannot use selfies to evaluate their nose size so they can improve their self-perception and make more informed decisions about their health.

Portrait A is taken at 30cm; portrait B is taken at 150cm.
Portrait A is taken at 30cm; portrait B is taken at 150cm.
Image: Boris Paskhover

He worked with Ohad Fried‚ a research fellow at Stanford University’s computer science department‚ to develop a mathematical model that shows nasal distortion created by photos taken at close range.

The model‚ published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery‚ shows that an average selfie‚ taken about 30cm from the face‚ makes the nasal base appear approximately 30% wider and the nasal tip 7% wider than if the photograph had been taken at 150cm‚ a standard portrait distance that provides a more proportional representation of facial features.

The mathematical model is based on the average head and facial feature measurements obtained from a selection of racially and ethnically diverse participants.