Social media has been a tool in many aspects of life including how people receive news, inspiration and entertainment. The age gap has also allowed many psychological lanes to build include the increase of anxiety and self-esteem issues in the youth. This week, a study suggests social media has also increased the number of teenagers going under the knife.
On Tuesday (Aug. 28) Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of American Society of Plastic Surgeons, released a breakdown of guidelines surgeons should consider when it comes to the increase in procedures for those under 19-years-old.
Penned by doctors Rod J. Rohrich and Min-Jeong Cho, numbers collected from 2016 show over 229,551 cosmetic procedures were performed in patients under the age of 19. Surgeries increased in 2017 by 11 percent with potential patients showing filtered photos from Instagram and Snapchat as a reference for their dream look.
“The average millennial takes over 25,000 selfies in his or her lifetime, which is astronomical and one of the major reasons for the self-esteem issues in this age group,” the report reads. “The studies show that selfies can lead to overvaluation of shape and weight, dietary restraint, body dissatisfaction, and internalization of the thin ideal in adolescent girls. Moreover, the standard selfies have exaggerated lower facial features such as nasal or lip or chin problems, leading to increased interest in this age group for cosmetic medicine and cosmetic surgery.”
Platforms with filter features like Instagram and Snapchat have indirectly played into how the youth see themselves and how they want others to see them.
Market Watch points out more than 40 percent of surgeons in a recent American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery survey said filters were an incentive for considering surgery.
As a means of guidance, procedures like rhinoplasty, cleft lips, breast reductions for young women with uncomfortably large breasts, and otoplasty (surgery to minimize the appearance of big ears) has been suggested as a standard for teens. It’s also been suggested that female teens should not get breast augmentation until the age of 18 and nose jobs should be considered for boys between 16 and 18 while girls should wait until their between the ages of 15 to 17.
“As the saying goes, ‘Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should,’ — this reflects the current dilemma presented to plastic surgeons,” Rohrich and Cho said. “The demand for plastic surgery in adolescents has increased dramatically, despite the controversy over performing plastic surgery procedures in this population.”
Give yourself a long hug before reading the entire study here.