The Facebook Facelift

Increase in cosmetic surgery trends due to influence of social networking sites.


Trends in social media dramatically influence how individuals interact with each other as the digital age has created a heightened desire to have an appealing profile picture. Your profile picture provides a small preview to users world-wide of what you look like, and on a superfluous scale, if you are aesthetically appealing. On initial glance, your subconscious will gauge whether or not you find others attractive from their profile picture, and as such sites are used as dating platforms, one’s profile picture is considered an important—and recently— pricy consideration.

As a result of online media and the growing desire to represent oneself online as aesthetically attractive, an increasing amount of individuals choose plastic surgery to alter their profile. Such tools as Photoshop and digital editing platforms are not sufficient enough to enhance profile pictures, so surgeons are booking patients who request; facelifts, rhinoplasty, liposuction around the chin and jawline, and chin implants. The top non-invasive procedures include Botox and laser skin resurfacing.

Plastic Surgeons have noted a 31% increase in plastic surgery requests due to photo sharing across various social media sites. Research proves a 73% increase in cosmetic surgery over reconstructive surgery in 2012 alone, with facelifts and Botox taking the lead for most requested procedures. Individuals are asking to look “better online” due to the cultural impact of sharing and tagging photos across the online networking spaces. Rather than requesting a beach body, or celebrity features, more men and women alike are asking to enhance specific facial features that they feel do not photograph well. Higher cheekbones, smoother contours, or a better profile through nose surgery, are all requested to surgeons.

Two trending terms in the cosmetic industry are the “Facebook Facelift” and the “Facetime Facelift” which are requested to improve the facial contours and remove fat from the chin. In response to the emerging cosmetic trend, Facebook has developed an application that allows users to ask their online friends which procedures they should get or need done based on edited photographs.

India has the greatest surge of requests for the Facebook Lift due to their demographic using Facebook primarily as a dating site. Individuals of 20-30yrs from India use Facebook as a free dating platform, and want to look their best in all photographs circulating the digital realm. As online dating continues to become a more popular form to meet people—so does the desire to look better as it is easier to judge others on superficialities such as looks and aesthetic appeal.

The Facetime Lift is much alike the Facebook Lift, but stems from the desire to look better during video calls such as Facetime and Skype. Surgeons are finding that their patients want higher cheekbones and liposuction around their jawline since these are two common areas that are not as flattering during video calls. The Facetime Lift specifically involves contouring the area around the lower jaw and under the chin, to get rid of the appearance of a double chin that occurs as a result of the angle of the phone or computer screen during video calls.

In addition to influencing cosmetic trends, doctors have noticed that more educated consumers are entering their offices, thanks to digital and social online media. In the past, plastic surgery patients would refer to a celebrity figure or body part; today, consumers are requesting procedures specific to their areas they want to enhance. Patients are more responsible and educated in plastic surgery procedures and will come in with questions regarding the terms or details of the procedure rather than simply point at a photograph they have pulled from a magazine.