(Advocate photo.)

‘Selfie nose’ is plaguing many Red Deer-area residents

Camera phones are warping many people’s self images

What’s that massive protuberance in the middle of your selfie? Oh dear. It’s your nose.

As if social media hasn’t been under enough criticism for warping world views, it’s being blamed for distorting some people’s self-image, too.

Plastic surgeons – including Red Deer’s Dr. Rodrigo Neira – have noticed an influx of patients complaining about the size of their proboscis. To back up their demands for surgical intervention, these people are showing doctors selfies taken with their camera phones held inches from their face.

What they don’t realize is that a photo taken from a distance of one foot makes noses look about 30 per cent bigger than they actually are. “It’s an effect of the new technologies,” said Dr. Neira. “There are some optical effects that are magnified.”

With all the self-portraits circulating on social media, “people have become more self-conscious,” said Neira, who fears some patients have unrealistic expectations of what surgery can accomplish.

U.S. plastic surgeon Boris Paskhover undertook an unusual research project – with the results recently published in a plastic surgery medical journal – after noticing many of his patients had exaggerated perceptions of their own noses.

The facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Rutgers University polled other plastic surgeons and discovered nearly half had patients who wanted surgery for “improved selfies and pictures on social media platforms.”

Paskhover then did some calculations that show selfie noses appear about 30 per cent bigger, on average, on males and about 29 per cent bigger on females when photos are taken a foot away from the face.

It’s the bobble-head effect in which the camera magnifies the appearance of objects closest to the lens. Photographic images also don’t accurately reflect the three-dimensional aspects of the nose.

Neira said he always talks to his patients about their concerns and expectations to determine if they are good candidates for surgery. He also tries to “clarify” with those with unrealistic views of their noses that these spring from an optical illusion.

Large noses, however, aren’t the biggest concern among Central Albertans. Neira said requests for rhinoplasty are far eclipsed by requests for breast augmentations, tummy tucks and surgery that erases eye wrinkles.


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