Bad selfies blamed for rise in unnecessary plastic surgery

A plastic surgeon has claimed more people are getting work done because their selfies are making their noses look big.

"Young adults are constantly taking selfies to post to social media and think those images are representative of how they really look, which can have an impact on their emotional state," says Rutgers New Jersey Medical School's Boris Paskhover.

He says he's often shown selfies by patients asking for smaller noses.

"I want them to realise that when they take a selfie they are in essence looking into a portable funhouse mirror."

So he and a colleague looked into the visual distortion caused by selfies - which are taken at no more than an arm's length. They found selfies taken at 30cm make the base of the photographer's nose look about 30 percent wider than if they were taken at 1.5m, which Prof Paskhover called "a standard portrait distance that provides a more proportional representation of facial features".

The top of the nose was 7 percent wider on average.

"They take out their phone and they say, 'Look at this picture, look how big my nose looks,'" he told tech site The Verge.

The distortion is caused by the shape of the wide-angles lenses found in most cameraphones. Normal cameras have longer lenses, so don't distort the image so much.

Prof Paskhover said the selfie craze is a genuine public health issue, with the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons saying 55 percent of surgeons have had patients show them unflattering selfies when asking for surgery.

Instead, they might just need a longer selfie-stick.

The research was published in journal JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery.