By altering facial characteristics, selfies may stimulate cosmetic surgery.

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By altering facial characteristics, selfies may stimulate cosmetic surgery.


Images taken with a cellphone may affect the look of the nose and chin.

In a recent study, UT Southwestern researchers reveal that cellphone "selfies" damage face characteristics, an impact that may be causing an increase in demand for plastic surgery. The findings, published in Cosmetic & Reconstructive Surgery, highlight a surprising side effect of social media and the necessity for plastic surgeons to talk to their patients about it.

Our DNA is marked with chemicals as we age, so tracking these markers can help us figure out how old we are. This is referred to as the epigenetic clock. Some of our genes will flip on or off throughout time, and the transcriptome is a collection of these genes.

Gill and his colleagues discovered that the partly reprogrammed cells' epigenetic clock and transcriptome profiles resembled those of skin cells from persons 30 years younger.

The rejuvenated cells also functioned like younger cells, producing more collagen than cells that were not reprogrammed. When put on an artificial wound, the reprogrammed cells migrated considerably faster than the older ones to close the gap.

Selfies, on the other hand, may not accurately portray an individual's genuine look since cameras can distort photos, especially when taken at close range.

Dr. Amirlak and his colleagues experimented with 30 participants, 23 women and seven men, to see how selfies can affect looks. The researchers took three photos of each person: one from 12 inches and 18 inches away with a cellphone to replicate selfies taken with a bent or straight arm, and one from 5 feet away using a digital single-lens reflex camera, which is commonly used in cosmetic surgery clinics. Under regular lighting circumstances, the three photographs were captured at the same session.

Significant distortions were visible in the selfies. In comparison to the usual clinical photos, the nose seemed 6.4 percent longer on 12-inch selfies and 4.3 percent longer on 18-inch selfies. On 12-inch selfies, the length of the chin was also reduced by 12%, resulting in a significant 17 percent rise in the nose-to-chin length ratio. In addition, selfies made the base of the nose look broader than the breadth of the face. When the photographs were examined side by side, the participants' knowledge of the changes was mirrored in how they scored them.

These skewed impressions can have a long-term influence on how selfie takers view themselves, according to Carrie McAdams, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry at UT Southwestern and a member of the Peter O'Donnell Jr. Brain Institute.

"Adolescents and young adults should acquire a solid sense of self-identity, a neurodevelopmental process that involves comparing oneself to others. Unfortunately, when making those comparisons, selfies stress the physical features of oneself, which have been linked to poorer self-esteem, worse mood, and higher body dissatisfaction "she said "Many changes in our culture, such as selfies, social media, and isolation from COVID-19, have resulted in rising prevalence of mental health issues in this age group, such as depression, anxiety, addiction, and eating disorders."

Dr. Amirlak advised that future study should look at how often this phenomena is across different phones because the photographs were captured with a single brand of mobile.

"It is vital to understand how they alter face characteristics and how patients utilise them to communicate as the popularity of selfie photography grows," the research authors stated.

Mark P. Pressler, Mikaela L. Kislevitz, and Justin J. Davis, all of UT Southwestern, also contributed to this work.

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