A decade ago, clients came into plastic surgery clinics carrying photographs of models, celebrities or even a particularly attractive family member. Today, they clutch heavily filtered images of themselves.
A new mental-health phenomenon known in the industry as Snapchat dysmorphia is raising its head, as selfie-led social media culture plays an increasingly pervasive role in shaping the relationship we have with our appearance.
“Social media is having a substantial effect on our culture as a whole,” says Julian De Silva, a plastic surgeon based in London’s Harley Street. “It’s heavily influencing plastic surgery trends and cosmetic treatments – and there has been a very rapid change over the last five years.
“Patients are taking more photos of themselves than ever, and as a result they are far more self-conscious about their appearance. Flaws they would previously have ignored have, since the advent of social media, plagued them.”
As a result, not only are the number of plastic surgery cases on the rise globally, the average age of clients has dropped, falling from 42 to 37 in western Europe.