I have a love-hate relationship with Instagram. I love it because it’s a quick and fun way to stay connected with friends, colleagues, patients and the local community; I can share my expert opinion on skin cancer, products and cosmetics; I can watch bizarre animal friendships and great rescues; and I can stay on top of celebrity gossip. I hate it because it’s a major time suck, there’s so much misinformation and misrepresentation, and, most of all in my professional world, it’s promoting what I think of as the “InstaFace.”
You know what I’m talking about.
When I was a teenager I had to wait for my mother’s fashion magazines to come in the mail every month; I had to ask my parents to take me to the video store to rent the latest Winona Ryder movie; I had to sit tight a whole week before the new episode of Friends was there for me. It affected me like it did many insecure teenage girls. I developed an eating disorder in high school because I wanted to be waif-thin like Kate Moss and the other androgynous, edgy models of the 90s. (The look was actually known as “heroin chic” in the industry. I mean, what exactly were we thinking???)
We have always been bombarded with photos of models and beautiful actresses throughout time – that’s not new. The difference now is that photos and videos are accessible 24/7 on our phones and computers through social media and streaming services. Our children see these images multiple times a day and they have an impact.
And that impact? Just like a younger me, too many women are aspiring to the images they are being bombarded with today.
I clearly love cosmetic procedures but, let’s face it, one can go overboard. I strive to enhance my patient’s natural beauty and reverse age-related volume loss rather than give everyone the same InstaFace … you know … poreless skin, high cheekbones, thin upturned nose, huge lips, long Betty Boop lashes. Have you noticed how so many professional influencers all look the same? Think about the ones Jia Tolentino (@jiatortellini) mentions in her article The Age of Instagram Face in the New Yorker.
Studies have shown that 2 minutes of exposure to a face with larger lips shifts the perception of attractiveness of different lip sizes by 20% toward larger lips. It's no wonder, then, that when we are continuously fed images of high cheekbones, upturned noses, large lips, sharp jawlines, there is a subconscious process that actually shifts our perception of attractiveness – and makes us see the InstaFace as the pinnacle of beauty. Not everyone needs or would look good with Kylie Jenner lips. Not everyone needs a #tinkerbelltiplift (upturned nasal tip).
Let’s remember some beauties that were never homogenous InstaFaces in their youth or later in life: Linda Evangalista, Anjelica Huston, Isabella Rossellini, Sarah Jessica Parker, even Martha Stewart. They’ve probably all had some work done but they have always and still do look like themselves. They did not change what makes them unique. Let me know who else you think had work and did it right.
I think it’s time to follow those examples and embrace our uniqueness, maintain our radiance and youthful proportions by wearing sunscreen, eating clean, staying active.
It's time to invest in medical grade skincare recommended by a trustworthy board certified dermatologist.
It’s time to use cosmetic treatments intentionally and conservatively, to enhance our natural beauty and reverse the effects of age-related volume loss.
It’s time to get #NoInstaFace trending!
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