New study links regular social media use to desire for cosmetic procedures

New study links regular social media use to desire for cosmetic procedures
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Ryan General
March 8, 2024
A regular use of social media and photo editing apps is connected to an increased interest in cosmetic procedures, according to a new study.
Key findings: The study, published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology on March 1, found that individuals who spend significant time on platforms like Instagram and Snapchat are more likely to consider having cosmetic proceduresThis desire is reportedly influenced by photo editing apps, following celebrities and influencers and exposure to social media accounts on plastic surgery, dermatology and others that showcase cosmetic procedure results.
Who’s involved: Led by researchers from the Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, the study involved 175 participants aged 18 and above who were surveyed at an outpatient dermatology clinic in Boston between October 2019 and June 2022.
The big picture: Experts say social media promotes unrealistic beauty standards, distorting self-perception (“Snapchat dysmorphia”) and leading to dissatisfaction with one’s appearance. The study observed a significant increase in individuals following accounts displaying cosmetic results, contemplating cosmetic procedures and discussing such procedures with professionals post-COVID-19 compared to pre-pandemic levels. The average time spent on social media did not significantly change, indicating that content interaction rather than duration played a key role.
The study has limitations, including the potential for bias in participant responses and the single-location design.
Why it matters: In a press release, the researchers point out how social media is changing how we see ourselves and influencing our decisions about cosmetic procedures. They also highlight the need for open conversations about unrealistic beauty standards and the impact of social media on self-image.
The study’s lead author, Dr. Neelam Vashi, emphasizes, “Quality care begins with quality conversations, and we hope this study encourages providers to ask about all aspects of a patient’s life to better understand their motivations and goals of care.”
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