“But first, let me take a selfie,” go the lyrics in the runaway hit song, #SELFIE, by the Chainsmokers. Selfies have been making the rounds in social media for quite some time — celebrities and so-called normal people alike have been taking selfies of themselves doing everything from hanging out in pajamas, to getting arrested. According to a new study, though, the selfie might be having a greater impact on Americans than just clogging our Facebook feeds.
One interesting and unexpected result of the “selfie craze” is that cases of head lice are on the rise. Why? Among young people, it’s popular to pull in a friend for the selfie photograph. Hair in close contact means that any critters along for the ride are getting a free highway system from head to head. Another, more serious impact of selfies is that plastic surgery is on the rise.
The selfie can be great or terrible for self-confidence, depending on how the photo-taker looks at it. Some people are able to turn the selfie into a tool by framing their face the way they want it to be seen, rather than the awkward ways a friend’s camera might catch it. The Guardian notes that many women have been posting “makeup free” selfies as a celebration of their natural beauty.
Others, though, are feeling greater pressure to look attractive. According to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 33% of surveyed facial plastic surgeries saw an increase in the amount of patients requesting procedures because of social media caused self-awareness.
Between 2012 and 2013, the organization says there was a 10% rise in rhinoplasty, and a 6% increase in eyelid surgery procedures. Over 50% of surgeons said they saw increase in under 30 patients during this time — an age group that is especially likely to engage in the selfie phenomenon. The American society of Plastic Surgeons notes that, similarly, 45% more women have chosen breast augmentation since 2000 — not surprising since the bust line is often featured in selfie shots. AAFPRS’s president, Edward Farrior, notes that, “Social platforms … which are solely image-based, force patients to hold a microscope up to their own image and often look at it with a more self-critical eye than ever before.”