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'Selfies' cause spike in cosmetic surgery spending
GLOBAL spending on cosmetic surgery has reached its highest level in history – a trend thought to have been triggered by the use of social media and 'selfies'.
According to the United States' cosmetic surgery institution IMCAS, the industry saw a turnover of in excess of €8.6 billion last year and this is expected to rise to €9.3bn by the end of 2018.
And the country's surgeons' association ASAPS says the generation who shells out the most on nips and tucks is that of children born to baby-boomers.
In the USA and UK, baby-boomers are defined, roughly, as those born between 1940 and 1969, but mainly those aged 60-plus and born after World War II; in Spain, the baby-boomer generation was born in the 1960s, and their children are also the most likely to spend money on plastic surgery, according to Dr Jesús Benito Ruiz.
The cosmetic and plastic surgeons' association (AECEP) chairman believes 'selfies' have a lot to answer for in terms of creating a generation unhappy with the way it looks.
Millennials, or the youngest of Generation X, were 'born into a digital age' and have 'interiorised' certain 'behaviours and ways of interacting', Dr Ruiz says – and as a result, personal image is 'vitally important', as is acceptance and approval.
The human race is an inherently social species and hard-wired to seek a sense of belonging, and Dr Ruiz says it is 'quite significant' how many customers at cosmetic surgery clinics refer to their Facebook and Instagram photographs when discussing the 'work' they would like carried out on their faces.
Non-invasive plastic surgery – the type that can be carried out under local anaesthetic as an outpatient – has increased far more than the invasive variety such as liposuction, breast reductions or enlargements and other operations which require a general anaesthetic, with 13.2 million of the first type carried out worldwide compared with 10.4 million of the second.
Non-surgical facial lifting, botox, hyaluronic acid, mesotherapy and other treatments which are not permanent and normally have to be repeated every 10 weeks to six months are rocketing in popularity, Dr Ruiz reveals.
And the AECEP chair says 'selfies' are largely the cause of this obsession, because they show up defects as they are taken much closer to the face than if another person were holding the camera and, as they are typically high definition, thrust broken veins, lines, scars and other unsightly elements into the spotlight.
“A photo taken in poor light tends to widen the face, giving it forced and unnatural postures,” Dr Ruiz explains.
“It's not the best photo to use if you're looking for cosmetic treatment or trying to see whether a treatment has worked well.”
The surgeon describes this as the 'fish-eye effect'.
“The closer the mobile phone camera is to your face, the broader your face will look; the farther away it is, the more real the distance and facial measurements are.
“Features which come out the least flattering are the nose – which is exaggerated in the photo – and the neck, largely because of the effects of the light.
“Light and shadow can create exaggerated defects or even deformitiesdue to the angle, as the lens is focused on the centre of the face.”
Photograph by Navarra University on Flickr
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