With the rise of Snapchat and Instagram, came the selfie epidemic. And although filters can fade out skin imperfections, sometimes features on the face can get a little distorted when a photo is taken too close.
According to a study published on Thursday in the JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery journal, selfies often make a person’s nose appear 30 percent larger than it is. “Despite the ease with which selfies are taken, the short distance from the camera causes a distortion of the face owing to projection, most notably an increase in nasal dimensions,” researchers wrote.
The average selfies, taken around 12 inches from the face, makes the nasal base look 30 percent wider and the nasal tip 7 percent wider, compared to a photo taken from afar, the study found. But despite it being only an illusion, doctors have claimed that more people are getting nose jobs to correct how they appear in their self-portraits.
Boris Paskhover, an assistant professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School's Department of Otolaryngology who specializes in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery and co-author of the study, told Vox: “I’d say, ‘Your nose doesn’t look big—there’s distortion when you keep a camera close to your face' ... If all the pictures [you take] are up close, the way you view yourself may be distorted.”
Perspective is the culprit for the distortion, Vox reported. How we see something depends on our distance from the object we are looking at—things simply look bigger up close. For example, a building looks larger when a person is standing near it while the buildings behind it, which are the same size, appear to be smaller. But if you are looking at the buildings from afar, they will all look similar in size.
In January, a survey by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) found that 55 percent of plastic surgeons said that their patients requested surgery to enhance their face to look better for selfies in 2017, while only 13 percent claimed to have executed a selfie-related surgery in 2016.
“Consumers are only a swipe away from finding love and a new look, and this movement is only going to get stronger,” William H. Truswell, president of the AAFPRS, said.
Paskhover said in a statement: "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." He added, "I want them to realize that when they take a selfie they are in essence looking into a portable funhouse mirror."