The harmless seflie may be more dangerous than we think, as more women are undergoing facial surgery in a bid to take the perfect picture, reports Hanna Ibraheem

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It’s been known to cause fights, break up relationships and get people fired, but recently, social media has been serving a worrying new purpose. According to a survey conducted by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), there is a link between cosmetic procedures and social media pressure.

Aiming to analyse trends in facial surgery, the organisation asked 2,700 of its members to take part in the study. Looking at the results, AAFPRS concluded that “one in three facial plastic surgeons surveyed saw an increase in requests for procedures due to patients being more self-aware of looks in social media.”

Moreover, 13 per cent of respondents indicated that discontent with images on social media sites has become a common trend that has grown over the last year. Surgeons also noted a 58 per cent increase in women under the age of 30 coming in for consultations and one in eight surgeons cited “increased photo sharing and patients’ dissatisfaction with their own image on social media sites” as the reason that young women are going under the knife.

The most common procedures included facelifts and nose jobs, followed by non-surgical treatments such as botox and chemical peels. One of the most shocking additions to the list was a 6 per cent increase in eyelid surgery – yep, eyelids.

Having our pictures plastered across social media platforms not only means we are putting ourselves out there to be, effectively, rated, it also means that we are more likely to examine our faces in greater detail.

Edward Farrior, MD, the Academy's president, said that "social platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and the iPhone app, which are solely image-based, force patients to hold a microscope up to their own image and often look at it with a more self-critical eye than ever before."

“These images are often the first impressions young people put out there to prospective friends, romantic interests and employers and our patients want to put their best face forward," he explained.

The study follows new research in the International Journal of Eating Disorders, which found that young women who spent a lot of time on Facebook are more likely to worry about their body image and are at increased risk of developing an eating disorder.

While many have described sharing selfies on Instagram as ‘empowering’ or a good confidence boost, this depressing news highlights a darker side to this growing trend.