The rise of Instagram face

I don’t need to reference a study to tell you that social media has permeated all aspects of life. And while it is a useful business and communication tool, the effects on our collective psyche are noticeably taking toll.

Numerous studies have tried to quantify the exact effect that SM is having on our youth (and our ‘well-adjusted adults’), but the numbers really are just confirming what we all know. Depression and anxiety have skyrocketed since the inception of SM platforms, yet maybe more alarming is that we are starting to experience negative psychosocial effects at a much earlier age, and it is presumed this is because of access to SM.

A new phenomenon has been termed ‘Instagram Face’ and without it being described in depth, we know it innately as the selfie of pouted lips, chiselled jaw, high cheeks and sultry eyes that celebrities, influencers and next door neighbours the world round (me included) ascribe to.

The thing that perhaps some of the more vulnerable of us don’t realise is that the IG Face actually lends itself poorly to real life and is often grossly distorted on the screen, edited and filtered beyond reality. Many of us are made beautiful by expression and movement and how that represents personality when we interact with the world. A sharp, angular jaw does not suit many round faces, just like high, arched cheek bones may make an already broad face look broader. However! In the correct lighting and taken with the right makeup and angles, these features can look insane when snapped (as one of many attempts) perfectly by a moment in time. Intrinsically we know it. We go through photos of us taken on a particular day and remark at how awful some of the angles are, sifting through we may feel increasingly forlorn and then find one amongst them which captures the right perspective and a flattering expression and we are gratified!

Or we see a video of ourselves and either cringe, or are inwardly lit because seeing ourselves in motion is a complete juxtaposition to what we are used to honing in on with stationery photos.

As cosmetic injectors we are nurses or doctors foremost (you have to have one of these qualifications and registrations in Australia to allow you to perform cosmetic injections). By virtue of our professions we are to first do no harm to our patients, at all times upholding all aspects of their health – mental, emotional and physical.

Because we take this responsibility seriously @aescendaesthetics, we often find ourselves in an interesting position between genuinely loving to help instil confidence; pitted against innate knowledge that the nature of the industry we work can often fuel this societal problem.

So to ensure that we continue to honour the best interests of our patients, we have a few guiding principles that Stacey and I adhere to between us:

  • We will not tell you ‘what you need’. If you have a cosmetic concern we are happy to discuss it with you and look at options together but we are not in the practice of undermining self-esteem by actively seeking or creating ‘flaws’ to try and manipulate a sale. It is unethical, and just downright mean.

  • We will not edit photos or dress up our models with lipstick and makeup to make treatment results more dramatic. Most of our ‘after’ photos are taken immediately after treatment and in the case of lips, just before the patient leaves. Lips will often look shiny due to the bepanthan (antiseptic ointment) that is on them to prevent complications of infection, though we do not add colour or tint; or try to distort the shape and appearance with angles or makeup

  • We take photos currently on an iPad (not ideal for clarity) and because our rooms have a lot of natural light, short of creating a mini-studio, or relicating lighting and weather variables, the light in some of our photos may unintentionally vary. We will aim to exclude this factor as we grow, however for now we try to counteract inconsistencies by providing different angles of the same procedure where they are requested, and/or multiple examples of the same procedure as possible. We do not intentionally manipulate lighting for effect.

  • We will not advertise prices, deals or ‘specials’. This is intentional to try and divert attention away from individual procedures and to instead try and encourage individualisation of treatment to support a therapeutic outcome. The practice of packaging or discounting injectables and procedures we feel pressures people into capitalising on treatment (or quantity of treatment) which may not be complementary to their cosmetic aims and result in over, or unnecessary intervention.

  • We will delete any commentary that is not a hundred percent positive that is directed towards before and after photos of our patients on SM. If you have feedback on our service or any other matters we would love to hear, but please do it by the appropriate channel so that it cannot be misconstrued as harmful or directed to an individual.

  • We will not sell products or services that we do not believe in or have not trialled ourselves. We are results driven and work only with products and procedures we have ourselves witnessed effect with. Where there is variability to results between individuals we will openly disclose this

  • As time allows we will consult with you thoroughly and holistically to ensure that all potential factors to helping you achieve exaltation are addressed. We do not believe in band-aid clinic solutions and will try to encourage you into lifestyle optimisation alongside your treatments

  • We will take the time to discuss risks and possible adverse events with you. Not only is this a legal requirement but it avoids glamourisation of what we do. You can most often expect a level of discomfort and down time with our procedures, however we will endeavour to reduce this, disclose this and promote comfort as possible.

  • We always try to provide education and encourage confidence through positive messaging at all levels of interaction to empower our patient in conscious and considered consent

  • We will remain accountable and contactable to address any concerns you may have beyond leaving our clinic. Our number is always provided and we encourage contact if you are concerned

  • We will work safely within our scope of practice – if we are concerned about an aspect of your treatment, we are not afraid to refer it out, to ensure that the best outcome is achieved for you, regardless of who facilitates that.

  • We commit to our own ongoing education to ensure practice that aligns with (and hopefully exceeds) industry standards, that is also contemporaneous and maximally effective

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