Is Instagram to blame for the rise in young people seeking surgery?

Whatever you have to say about 2016, there are two facts we can all agree on: social media is showing no signs of going away – ever – and the effect it has on society is stronger than ever. And when it comes to our profession, the most noticeable effect has been a spike in younger people taking advantage of the benefits of cosmetic surgery – in both sexes.

The Instagram effect

According to a survey taken by RealSelf last year, nearly half of the participants believed that social media had influenced them to consider or choose to have a cosmetic procedure. One in three revealed that social media had been the straw that broke the camel’s back when it came to taking the plunge, while nearly one in five admitted that social media had been the main influence.

When you think about it, it’s hardly surprising, particularly if you’re older. Before the advent of the internet in the mid-nineties, and the dawn of social media and the mass production of smartphones a decade later, how many times were you invited – and even encouraged – to show off photos of yourself? And how many carefully-staged and digitally edited images did you see of the people you know? Not many, we’ll wager.

And if you consider the fact that most people in their teens and early twenties have probably had their photo taken before they could walk more times than their parents have had in their lifetime, and are incapable of remembering a time before the internet, it’s no surprise that they are far more image-conscious – and in a position to do something about it – than any other generation.

You only have to open the pages of any tabloid newspaper to be aware of the rise in cosmetic surgery amongst the younger generation, and in many cases social media is even more of a reason than first thought. When the procedures work, as in this case, the client becomes an Instagram celebrity. And when they don’t, as in this case, the client becomes a Facebook laughingstock. In both cases, they’re seeking to resemble famous people whose public images have been carefully managed and sometimes even digitally manipulated.

Surgery is an individual choice

So, is the rise in cosmetic surgery among younger clients a bad thing? We beg to differ, in the majority of cases. For starters, there are lots of reasons for people to seek a cosmetic procedure: ‘I want to look good on Instagram’ usually comes at the bottom of the list, if at all.

It’s also worth taking into account that the developments in cosmetic surgery have come on in leaps and bounds over the past couple of decades, the stigma that used to surround it has disappeared, and the internet has made it far easier to investigate procedures and talk to practitioners and other clients.

As always, regardless of age, our advice is simple: if the reasons for undergoing cosmetic surgery are right, and you’re past the age when you’ve stopped growing and developing, it doesn’t matter how old you are.