hero image

During the pandemic, interest in cosmetic procedures surged. Researchers from Boston University discovered a correlation between increased social media usage, photo-editing app usage, and the desire for cosmetic surgery, shedding light on this trend.

Celebrities influencing need for cosmetic procedures

Researchers discovered that patients who engage with celebrities and influencers on social media, along with accounts showcasing cosmetic procedures, are more likely to desire such procedures themselves. Platforms like Snapchat and Instagram have fueled the growth of selfie culture, with billions of people worldwide using social media.

The rise in social media usage is concerning due to its impact on body image and self-esteem. “Selfies” taken for social media often distort facial features, leading to dissatisfaction. This phenomenon, termed “snapchat dysmorphia,” drives individuals to seek cosmetic procedures to resemble edited versions of themselves.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a rise in cosmetic attention. However, there is currently a lack of data identifying specific factors influencing patient participation in cosmetic treatments. Neelam Vashi, MD, an associate professor of dermatology and director of the Boston University Cosmetic and Laser Center, highlights this gap in research.

Researchers conducted a study at a dermatology clinic from October 2019 to June 2021, surveying patients about their social media usage and desire for cosmetic procedures. Analysis revealed that the amount of time spent on Snapchat and/or Instagram daily significantly influenced individuals’ belief in social media’s impact on their desire for cosmetic surgery.

Image enhancement tools popular for editing photos

Additionally, investigators identified a notable contrast in the utilization of image enhancement tools such as FaceTune, Lightroom, or SnapSeed for modifying images prior to posting self-portraits on social networking platforms and contemplations concerning the pursuit of either surgical or non-surgical aesthetic treatments.

The authors of the research suggest that healthcare professionals should consistently broach the topic of social media engagement with their patients to gain deeper insights into the reasons behind their interest in cosmetic procedures.

Professor Vashi emphasizes the importance of quality conversations in delivering quality care. He urges healthcare providers to inquire about all facets of a patient’s life to gain deeper insight into their motivations and care objectives.