Selfie nose does look bigger finds study

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According to a new study, what we suspected is true – the nose does look too big in a selfie and it is not imagination! The study says that the nose looks up to 30 percent bigger in a selfie or a self-photograph. The results of the study titled “Nasal Distortion in Short-Distance Photographs: The Selfie Effect,” were published in the latest issue of the journal JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery this Thursday (1st March 2018).

The team of researchers analyzing the pictures and comparing them with selfies state that the short distance from the camera (on the phones) as well as the wide angle lens gives a bulbous appearance to the nose. The plastic surgeons report that because of the effect of self portraits on the noses, most people have a distorted image of their noses and are requesting nose jobs. In fact according to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons (AAFPRS), last year 55 percent of the facial plastic surgeons saw patients who wanted to look better in their selfies. This is a 13 percent increase from 2016 they add.

Image Credit: VGstockstudio / Shutterstock
Image Credit: VGstockstudio / Shutterstock

Boris Paskhover, a head and neck surgeon and Rutgers professor and one of the study authors says that since most youngsters these days are constantly taking selfies for social media, they “think those images are representative of how they really look”. This leads to an “impact” on their emotional well being he said. He explained that the purpose of this study was to tell these young people that a selfie is in fact similar to a “funhouse mirror” and the images are not what a person truly looks like.

For this study the team of researchers broke down the selfie face using computers. They ten went on to pinpoint the exact amount of increase in nose size in the selfies. This was based on a mathematical model by research fellow Ohad Fried who devised it based on head and facial feature measurements from ethnically and racially different populations from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health database. Fried has earlier worked on a photo editing tool that can adjust the camera distance automatically to prevent the distorted images seen when the camera comes too close to the face. In this new model, Fried uses several parallel planes that are perpendicular to the camera axis. Then the model calculates the effects of different camera distances on the ratio between the width of the nose and the distance between the two cheekbones.
Using the model the team showed that in a standard selfie taken around 12 inches or 30 centimeters from the face can make the base of the nose look 30 percent wider in men and 29 percent wider in women and the tip of the nose 7 percent wider compared to a picture taken at portrait distance of 5 feet or fifteen metres.

According to Julia Deeb-Swihart, the lead author of that study said that need to prove physical attractiveness on social media may be the underlying problem. The AAFPRS calls this “selfie-awareness”. This means patients use social media as a boost to their confidence and if they perceive themselves as less attractive in their selfies posted on social media, they tend to opt for facial reconstructive surgery. The AAFPRS says that this is more than just a fad now.

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


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