More People Than Ever Are Getting Plastic Surgery Thanks to This Popular Mobile App

These days, it’s not uncommon to want to change the way you look. Your skin is never quite smooth enough. Your nose looks crooked. You gave up on your thigh-gap dreams years ago. If you really wanted to, you could pay someone to fix all that for you. You might drown in medical bills for the rest of your life, but at least you’ll look good in photos.

Cosmetic surgeries cost the U.S. billions of dollars every year. People want fuller lips, wider eyes, and skin free of imperfections — and a single mobile app may be to blame for all of it.

Americans spent $16 billion on plastic surgery in 2016

Plastic surgeon marking a patient for surgery

More people than ever before are lining up for plastic surgery. | iStock/Getty Images

A report from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons stated that the total amount Americans spent on cosmetic surgeries in 2016 exceeded $16 billion. This is likely due to these procedures becoming more accessible to the general population, when not too long ago, only the wealthy could afford them.

Experts worry these procedures have become too “trendy.” It’s not uncommon for a patient to post before-and-after photos of their transformations on social media, prompting others to do the same.

Next: Which procedures do people ask for the most?

What’s the most common reason people get plastic surgery?

Woman looking in the mirror

The answer may surprise you. | iStock.com/chachamal

Not all plastic surgeries involve unnecessary enhancements such as Botox injections, but the majority of these procedures in the U.S. are cosmetic, not reconstructive.

In 2016, liposuction, facelifts, eyelid surgeries, and nose “reshaping” surgeries were the most common cosmetic procedures surgeons performed by patient request. Breast lifts and tummy tucks also made the list.

Next: Would you empty your savings account to look like Nannette Hammond?

Human Barbies walk among us

Nannette Hammond, aka Human Barbie, on Instagram

Some have taken plastic surgery to an entirely new extreme. | Nannette Hammond via Instagram

Nannette Hammond — best known to many as “The Human Barbie” — has spent over $500,000 on various plastic surgeries so she can look like a Barbie doll. Her Instagram is filled with photos of her altered face and body. Her behavior and lifestyle might suggest she has a serious mental health condition.

Next: Is social media ruining our mental health?

Social media use is at an all-time high

Young woman taking a selfie

We’re all using social media more than ever before. | iStock.com/jakubzak

This is no surprise. There are so many apps, and smartphones have become so accessible, that it’s basically impossible to avoid using social media on a regular basis.

Social media use hasn’t just increased among teens, though they’re the demographic most vulnerable when it comes to body image issues. Even adults over 75 are logging on to social media sites and downloading apps more than they ever have before.

Next: Being obsessed with the way you look is actually a serious mental health issue.

Snapchat filters and body dysmorphia

Person holding a phone with Snapchat open

Should we blame filters for how we look at ourselves? | Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Is Snapchat “dysmorphia” a thing? The filters that smooth out our skin and enlarge our most desirable facial features might be changing the way we view our bodies — and not in a good way.

Body dysmorphic disorder affects 1 in every 50 people, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. People with this condition are obsessed with the way they look, so much so that it interferes with their daily lives. Apps such as Instagram and Snapchat often make matters worse.

Next: People are using filters to tell plastic surgeons how to change their faces.

Are we forgetting what we ‘really’ look like?

Actress Brie Larson on Instagram

Is looking at actresses and models on social media harmful? | Brie Larson via Instagram

Before selfies and digital flower crowns, heavily photoshopped images depicted “perfect” images of celebrities and models. Now anyone with a smartphone has access to instant tools that can morph their appearances into something attractive — and unreal.

Plastic surgeon Matthew Schulman told the Huffington Post, “Everybody basically is using a filter … that’s what they want to look like and then they’re coming to me and saying I want smoother skin, I want my eyes to be opened up, I want my lips to be fuller. You kind of have those two groups of people.”

Next: The biggest plastic surgery risk isn’t what you’re probably thinking of.

The plastic surgery risk no one talks about

two women in heavy makeup applying lipstick

Going with makeup might be the safer alternative to surgery. | LunaMarina/iStock/Getty Images

There are risks to any surgery, whether it’s essential for survival or merely elective. Researchers continue to study the psychological affects of plastic surgery after patients have already had it.

Psychiatric professionals have spent years speculating that cosmetic surgery might have a negative impact on a person’s self-image, even if they had the surgery to “fix” those issues. Like all other quick fixes, it probably doesn’t solve the underlying problem.

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