Selfies distort faces and make people hate their noses

Yes, selfies do make your nose look bigger

Yes, selfies do make your nose look bigger

That's the takeaway from a new research letter published Thursday in the journal JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery.

The model revealed that a standard selfie, taken about 12 inches (30 centimeters) from the face makes the nasal base look about 30 percent wider and the nasal tip appear 7 percent wider than if the photo had been snapped at the more forgiving pre-selfie portrait distance of 5 feet (15 meters).

Ever wonder why that nose looks big when you turn your smartphone camera on yourself?

They found that when the lens is very close to the face - about 12 inches - it makes the nose look about 30 percent larger compared to the rest of the face.

Last year, more than half of plastic surgeons were approached by patients who wanted to look better in selfies, according to a survey by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Boris Paskhover, a head and neck surgeon and Rutgers professor and one of the study authors says that since most youngsters these days are constantly taking selfies for social media, they "think those images are representative of how they really look". He said selfies make the nose appear thicker and wider when it really is not.

In an attempt to find a better way to explain to patients why selfies are not a good way to assess their nose size, Paskhover worked with Ohad Fried, a research fellow at Stanford University's Department of Computer Science, to develop a mathematical model that shows nasal distortion created by photos taken at close range. Using an "average male and an average female face" (which were found using measurements pulled from the average dimensions of a random selection of racially and ethnically diverse participants in the United States), researchers calculated how camera angles and distance changed facial features.

It might, according to researchers at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School who point out that most people are unaware that close-up selfies produce a distorted image. The model determined the magnitude of the distortive effect by presenting the face as a collection of parallel planes perpendicular to the main camera axis.

Dr Paskhover added: "The selfie has rapidly become one of the major photographic modalities of our time". So, you grab your phone, extend your arm and snap a quick selfie in the hopes of posting it to social media later.

"I, for years, have seen that patients - and family members of mine and people in general around me - always say "hey, my nose looks so big", said Paskhover.

That people are concerned with the way they look in selfies comes as no surprise.

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