Selfie distortion is making patients seek surgery

Enlarge ImageNo that's not his real nose. It's his selfie nose.                  Andrew Hoyle  CNET

Enlarge ImageNo that's not his real nose. It's his selfie nose. Andrew Hoyle CNET

A selfie taken about 12 inches from the face makes the base of the nose appear approximately 30 percent wider than if the photograph had been taken at a standard portrait distance of 5 feet away. In addition to the 30 percent increase in the apparent width of the nose in selfies, the team also found that the close vantage point made the tip of the nose appear 7 percent wider. But, researchers say the short distance from your camera causes a distortion of the face, which leads to a notable increase in the dimensions of the nose.

When the picture is taken from a distance of five feet, the distortion isn't almost as significant.

They found that when the lens is very close to the face - about 12 inches - it makes the nose look about 30 percent larger compared to the rest of the face.

For the study, Dr Paskhover and his colleagues developed a mathematical model to help describe how much selfie cameras distort the face.

Prof Paskhover said the selfie craze is a genuine public health issue, with the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons saying 55 percent of surgeons have had patients show them unflattering selfies when asking for surgery.

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"My fear is that the generation out there now doesn't know- all they know is the selfie", he added. Fried has earlier worked on a photo editing tool that can adjust the camera distance automatically to prevent the distorted images seen when the camera comes too close to the face.

In this social-media-obsessed world, Paskhover, who specializes in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, is not alone in seeing patients who are unhappy with their selfies.

The study authors based the model off the average head and facial feature measurements from a selection of racially and ethnically diverse participants.

"I want them to realise that when they take a selfie they are in essence looking into a portable funhouse mirror". Social media has become an important part of our lives, with many people changing the way they look and act in response to this phenomenon.

"Just like the 24-hour news cycle, where we have constant information, with selfies and phones we have constant feedback about what our appearance might be", says Dr. Samuel Lin, an associate professor of plastic surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

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