The Downside to Social Media

Scrolling through Instagram as I religiously do when I’m procrastinating, I clicked on an image of the 'explore' section thinking it was Amrezy, a makeup artist well known on the site for her craft and makeup collaborations with Anastasia Beverly Hill. Then, I realized the username was different. I assumed it might have been a fan page or something similar. Still I was curious, so I clicked on her profile, turns out it was just another Instagram beauty influencer with the same face.

It’s not the first time I’ve wandered off to the 'explore' section and found several random beauty influencers with nearly the same face. Like clones, their faces are slimmed down using  contour and highlight to tweak their features, they have Kylie Jenner plumped matte lips and Kim Kardashian’s perfectly arched thick eyebrows. It’s called the “Instagram face” and it starts with makeup but has increasingly led teenage girls and young woman to subconsciously want to look exactly alike because who doesn’t want to fit in, right?

While these makeup tricks do make you look and actually feel incredibly stunning, at what point has the desire to achieve this standard of beauty gone too far?

Among the similar makeup techniques used in the Instagram beauty influencer community, another trend has also risen - the non-surgical cosmetic procedure trend, like Botox and fillers. Nobody wakes up looking flawless and for some, having to work to achieve a flawless face has become exhausting. Makeup and Snapchat filters simply don't cut it anymore, and while Botox and fillers only last a few months, at least these products won’t wash off when you take a shower at night.

Non-invasive treatments like Botox used to have a heavy cliental of woman ages 40 and up, but as of 2017, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported 64 percent of surgeons have seen a drastic increase in patients who are under the age of 30. Botox procedures for woman ages 20-29 have increased by 28 percent and dermal fillers have increased by 32 percent since 2010 for this same age group.

In 2014, reality TV star, Kylie Jenner became the center of a media frenzy regarding her now infamous pout. She was only 17 when she got her first set of lip fillers. Around this same time, Time magazine listed Jenner as one of the most influential teens in the world.  Her influence among the youth was a cause of social media.

Now, The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that 229,000 cosmetic procedures were performed on 13 to 19-year-olds in 2017.

Women and girls seem to be competing for this eternal unrealistic standard of beauty that is produced when we edit our pictures and use the highlight and contour method to change our features.  

In 2017, the annual American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery survey found that 55 percent of surgeons reported seeing patients who requested surgery to look better in selfies.

According to JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine’s Department of Dermatology, says women are bringing in their edited Snapchat pictures showing how they want to look after surgery.

Social media was essentially created to connect with friends but instead has turned into a way for us to show the world how we want them to portray us, and thanks to the help of filters provided by Instagram, Snapchat and face smoothing apps like Facetune, the way we look online is unachievable in real life, without the help from cosmetic procedures at least.

I’m not against plastic surgery and it’s fine if that is what you choose to do but ask yourself why? Are you competing with your selfies or was this a feature about yourself you've always wanted to change?

Personally, I think the obsession with perfection proves it has gone too far when you end up losing your originality. When I scroll through beauty influencers' Instagrams, I see the same cheek structure thanks to Botox, the same pout – thanks to lip fillers, perfect teeth because of veneers. It’s like looking at the same person.