beauty

The rise of the Facebook facelift: A trend is emerging amongst young women.

Our quest for the perfect selfie has reached such heights that many women are getting plastic surgery to mimic the image-enhancing filters we use on social media apps.

Let’s be clear – augmenting our appearance is nothing new. From foot binding to corsets, humans have long sought to alter the way they look. But social media is causing a massive spike in cosmetic procedures.

The trend was first reported in 2012 and with our online use only becoming more prolific since then, the numbers are climbing. Fast.

The number of women (and men) opting for face and neck lifts – treatments which have been dubbed ‘Facebook facelifts’ – has risen by about 16.5 per cent in the last few years.

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Former Geordie Shore star Charlotte Crosby has been open about how her time on TV influenced her decision to get cosmetic surgery. Image: Instagram

"Facebook facelifts are on the rise as social media creates new pressures on people to look good, particularly in their public profiles and the pictures they share with friends,” Dr De Silva, from London's Centre for Advanced Facial Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery told The Sun this week.

He said they're also popular because the offer the most instant and dramatic impact in "rejuvenating" the appearance of the face.

A recent American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery survey found that over 40 percent of surgeons reported that looking better in selfies on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook was an incentive for getting surgery for their clients.

Listen to Dana Berkowitz tell Mia Freedman everything you've ever wanted to know about Botox on the latest episode of No Filter. (Post continues after audio...)

"People will come in and say, 'I saw myself in the mirror, but I didn't really notice it until I saw myself on Facebook or on my iPhone or iPad,'" New York plastic surgeon Dr. Adam Schaffner told Mashable.

While filters offer instant photoshopping effects, it's clearly not enough for some young people. So why has social media had such a hit on how we feel about our appearance?

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"When you look in the mirror you're seeing the mirror image of yourself," explained Dr Schaffner. (Post continues after gallery...)

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"But when you see yourself on social media, you're seeing yourself the way the world sees you," Dr. Schaffner suggests.

The filters and face tuning apps also offer a kind of 'try before you buy' service, Dr Zac Turner tells Mamamia.

"So many people have the opportunity to change, slim, poke or tweak their faces just by taking a photo allowing them to see what they look like before they go to plastic surgeon," the professional, who goes by 'Dr Zac', says.

"Once they've done that, they're pre-exposed to wanting something done because they can see what the benefits are."

Another challenge is just how trend-led the 'look' of the moment can be.

"One of the challenges is you have celebs with unlimited resources who get surgery which everyone then copies, but then perspective changes and the people who espoused the look have enough money and time to get it undone [while normal people might not]," Dr Zac says.

But perhaps the most alarming aspect of this spike in cosmetic procedures is the stage of their lives women are turning to them.

For the first time, the average age of women getting cosmetic surgery has dropped to under 40.

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"Ten years ago, women in their late teens and early twenties rarely sought plastic surgery, but now young people are doing it because they are seeing themselves on social media from different angles next to models like Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian with curvaceous bodies," plastic surgeon Michael Salzhauer (AKA Dr. Miami) told Highsnobiety earlier this year.

"I think the influence of social media is enormous and cannot be overstated. These celebrities have had surgeries and people come in to look like them."

It seems the more people that make the leap to needles and scalpels, the more others also consider it.

It's a vicious cycle. So what can we do about it?

Dr Zac believes the number of people choosing cosmetic surgery won't slow down any time soon.

"[It will] definitely increase. We're all living longer and the retirement age keeps going up. People are now aware that a lot can be done that doesn't necessarily mean drastic surgery," he says.

But what will we see is more people opting for barely-there "lifts" that look a lot more natural.

"There is a bit of a push back at the moment with the idea of looking natural and ageing gracefully but in a way that you can control. A lot of things can be done to look less tired or stressed," he says.

For anyone who is adamant they want cosmetic surgery, Dr Zac advises doing your research, ensuring you go for someone who is qualified and using the apps to try before you buy.

What's your stance on plastic surgery and Botox? Let us know in the comments below...

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