Mythbusters for the Social Media Era
It’s hard to remember a world before social media and there’s no doubt that it’s brought us so much: more opportunity for connection and the gift of the selfie. But it has also reinforced unrealistic expectations about our skin and our bodies. Many patients can no longer grasp what they really look like beyond the frame of the Instagram selfie, nor do they understand how long it may take to realistically experience rejuvenated, healthy skin – a process that is variable and takes time. So for this #mythbustermondays series, I dig into these questions and more, to help debunk two of the common myths that have been reinforced by media. I hope this helps you set healthier expectations and perspectives for yourselves, your friends and families!
There’s one cream/laser/device/filler/tox that will erase decades of aging overnight.
There is no one treatment that will reverse the signs of aging but a good cosmetic dermatologist or surgeon, and a little time and patience may help you achieve a healthier, youthful look.
Unfortunately, there’s NO MAGIC WAND or potion that can turn back time (other than the kind of video apps I used to make this video). It’s easy to forget in a world of instant gratification, where a simple ‘imperfection’ can be swiped away with a social media filter. But just like renovating a building, rejuvenating a face or body and promoting healthy skin takes time and may require at least some period of looking worse before looking better. How much time and how many elements are necessary to reach the goal depends on the state of the building or face/body at the start. Both actions require that a certain amount be accomplished before significant improvement can be appreciated – the visible tipping point, as I call it. You may be able to move the process faster by doing more at once and accepting more discomfort (again, just like renovating!), but there are no shortcuts (and you wouldn’t want to take any, believe me!).
Selfies are an accurate portrayal of how we look.
Appreciating your own self-image was once a joy and can be again. With a little perspective and education, you may realize that the selfie isn’t always the best measure of how you look.
As these social media selfies taken with my adorable sidekick show, we start recognizing and appreciating our image pretty early in life. Babies and toddlers get glee from their image – but as we age, that reflection feeds our harshest critic – ourselves. Every day in my office, patients pull out a phone to show me an incriminating selfie that reveals a double chin, shadow under one eye or dimple that shows up at one particular angle in one specific level of lighting. I respond by tilting my head down to show my jiggly jowls that disappear when I lift up again. Compare a selfie taken from above versus below and you’ll see facial proportion shifts from a youthful inverted triangle (eyes ‘pop’) to a more aged upright triangle (heavier below). A recent American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) survey of surgeons revealed an increase in millennials seeking cosmetic tweaks as natural photo filters driven in part by social media pressure. But are they treating real or perceived defects? A JAMA facial plastics study showed taking a selfie from a distance of 12” increases perceived nose size by 30%! And don’t forget that, like the photos you ultimately post, other people use digital filters too. So look at yourself in the mirror or a selfie but don’t focus on just one view. See your cosmetic dermatologist or surgeon to help maintain and prevent, replenish and rejuvenate. But take a lesson from my little friend Isla and love the face you see looking back at you!
This mythbuster is one of many #mythbustermondays that keep you educated when myths surface and veer you off track. For more great tips, please don’t miss out on Dr. Heidi dispelling these common natural skincare myths.