Will Photo Filters Mean the End of the Face-Lift?

Women in the U.K. are skipping plastic surgery and opting for social media filters instead, according to research from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

In its annual statistics, the organization reported that there were 28,315 cosmetic surgical procedures in 2017, an almost 8 percent decrease compared to 2016. Face-lift procedures for women alone dropped 44 percent.


Filters Over Face-Lifts in the U.K.

According to BAAPS, the decrease in facial procedures may be related to the number of available filters for pictures and selfies posted on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

“Filters allow individuals to tweak their online images by adding layers of filtering to make their eyes look smaller or larger, their face look thinner, or erase a double chin, lines or wrinkles,” said Dr. Jack Peterson, a Topeka plastic surgeon.

Filters are also usually free, which may be a motivating factor for individuals to skip the surgery.

“Filters are a no-cost, fast fix. While they save money, they obviously cannot replace plastic surgery,” Peterson said.

Face-Lifts Still in Favor in U.S.

Although cosmetic procedures in the U.K. are declining, it is a different story in the U.S.

“People are seeking out cosmetic procedures because they want to look great in their selfies and on social media,” Peterson said.

Members of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery say patients’ motivation for seeking out procedures is to not have to use filters on their images, but instead have cosmetic procedures for a more permanently perfect selfie.

Statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons show a steady increase in plastic surgery procedures in recent years, with 17.1 million procedures performed in 2016.

“Face-lifts and other facial surgical procedures such as rhinoplasty, the brow-lift and neck-lift are still very popular,” Peterson said.

In 2016, there were 223,000 rhinoplasties and 131,000 face-lifts performed in the United States, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Statistics from the ASPS also show there were 209,000 eyelid surgery procedures that same year.

Nonsurgical and minimally invasive procedures are also in demand in America, with 15.4 million minimally invasive procedures performed in the U.S. in 2016.

The leading minimally invasive procedure in 2016 was Botox, with 7 million injections of the popular endotoxin administered.

“Botox is popular because it works and can reduce a patient’s need for surgical procedures,” Peterson said.

Other leading nonsurgical choices included fat transfers and dermal fillers.

“These procedures can replace or complement a surgical facial procedure,” Peterson said.

Body Procedures Popular in Both Countries

While facial procedures fell out of favor in the U.K., BAAPS statistics show an increase in the number of body procedures performed on areas that “filters cannot reach,” such as the tummy tuck procedure and Brazilian butt-lift, a non-surgical procedure that uses fat to boost and lift the buttocks.

Breast-augmentation procedures were also popular in Britain; the BAAPS statistics report that there were 8,238 breast-augmentation surgeries performed in 2017, making the procedure the most popular cosmetic surgery choice for British women.

In the U.S., breast augmentation was also a top procedure for women in 2016, with 290,467 procedures performed. The breast-lift procedure was the next most popular body surgery with over 101,000 surgeries in 2016.

“The breast-lift procedure is increasing in popularity for many women because aging, pregnancy and breastfeeding can cause breasts to become enlarged or sag,” Peterson said.

Other popular body procedures in the U.S. include the Brazilian butt-lift, thigh-lift and liposuction.

Women are not the only ones having surgery in either country. In the U.K., 9 percent of all plastic surgeries carried out in 2017 were on men. In the U.S., men accounted for 8 percent of procedures in 2016.


Source: BBC News. Women ‘shunning facial plastic surgery for flattering photo filters’. 7 February 2018.