When Kenneth Edwards, 30, a comedian from New York City saw a picture of his own head (which he took) on Instagram, he failed to notice anything in the picture but his rapidly receding hairline. He quickly Googled “cures” for his dilemma and found that he could either wear a baseball hat every day for the remainder of his life or he could try Platelet Rich Plasma Treatment for hair loss. He paid $900 to undergo the treatment at a Manhattan doctor's office, where he “got a million needles” stuck in his head in order to restart his hair growth cycle using his own blood.
Plasma rich injections are inserted across the scalp, every half inch over the area of thinning hair, and, according to Kenneth, “hurt like a bitch.”
After five months of growing thin, patchy strands and not wanting to spend any more money on his balding scalp, he decided to shave his head. “It’s easier. I can’t fight it anymore. I started going bald in high school,” he tells The Lookbook, but it’s likely he never would have known how bad the problem actually was without it showing up in Instagram pictures.
Upper East Side plastic surgeon Dr. Elliot Heller tells The Lookbook that selfies have helped his business so much that he actually has to turn people away because they don’t even need any tweaking.
“They look at their phones and show me what they think is wrong, ‘look at this picture, at this angle my nose looks big, or my chin is receding,’ I also see a lot of people picking apart their bodies in bathing suits and their weight,” he says. “People can’t see their own profile, so selfies are an eye opener. We look at the front of our noses. Chins sag and we don’t see that from the front. I didn’t realize how bad it got until I looked at that picture is what people tell me. They’re also comparing themselves to others, ‘I want her lips, I want her body.’ The younger crowd loves breast implants and lips and the Kardashians are a big influence. I know the all by name now from what people come in and request.”
Dr. Heller says women of all ages are looking to get facial age defying treatments after seeing themselves in pictures. “They want smoothing and lifting. In the last two years, fillers for the hollows under the eyes has peaked, even twenty somethings get it.”
But selfies are also a double-edged sword for the doctor.
“They come in because they see selfies, but they wanted more or become over critical and I have to tell them I can’t do a procedure.”
Like the woman who was 5’4 and was 103 pounds and wanted liposuction. And many skinny girls who seek Brazilian butt lifts he says are expecting unattainable results and he has to say no.
A 2016 study by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery showed even then the selfie craze is only contributing to more and more plastic surgery. Surgeons they asked noted a major increase in rhinoplasty, hair transplants, and eyelid surgery.
New York medical aesthetic and plastic surgeon Dr. Sonita Sadio tells us the trend is something almost all in the plastic surgery community are seeing. And it shows no signs of slowing down.
“What’s happening is especially for men and for women there’s a point at which you start to notice things. You thought you were going to be immune from the aging process. It never occurs to you you’re going to get older. Women see pictures and start experimenting with eye creams and men see receding hairlines. There’s something about seeing it in a photo. It’s different than a mirror. It’s more compelling, an image of yourself,” she says.
“Selfies are distorted, they are closer,” she adds. “When you see a selfie you are seeing yourself the way other people see you which is different than you seeing yourself fin the mirror. It’s the amplified level of perception driving this. You are seeing yourself the way others see you. They are also propagated. That creates more awareness and a heightened sense of self.”
Dr. Sadio says for the most part, it’s all about lips and anti-aging. “I get clients, they want to press pause on the way they look for as long as possible after seeing photos.”
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