A group poses for a selfie before a charity run in Moscow in 2016. (Vladimir Vyatkin/Sputnik/AP)

How many times have you taken a selfie, only to hate how you looked?

You aren’t the only one. It’s a common problem, but not everyone is picking a new Instagram filter as a quick fix.

Some people are resorting to expensive surgery in hopes of snapping a better picture, according to a recent survey by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

But that may be a big mistake. A new study found that for many, the problem is not in the nose. It’s in the distortion of the image created by the way they hold their smartphone cameras.

Selfies don’t work like mirrors. Instead, they’re completely distorted — especially when it comes to the nose, according to new research published in the medical journal JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery.

“Selfies make your nose look wider and thicker when it really isn’t, and people like a smaller nose,” Boris Paskhover, a facial plastics and reconstructive surgeon at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and the study’s lead author, told CNN. “My fear is that the generation out there now doesn’t know. All they know is the selfie.”

The researchers looked specifically at selfies taken from 12 inches away — a common distance for someone snapping a selfie without the assistance of a selfie stick. In a selfie taken from that distance, men’s noses appear 30 percent wider and women’s noses appear 29 percent wider than they actually are.

A photo taken from the standard portrait distance of five feet, meanwhile, has no discernible distortion.

Paskhover hopes this will give people pause when considering a nose job, which he told CNN can run upward of $15,000 and might be one expensive disappointment. “If you go to someone who’s inexperienced, aesthetic outcomes are variable,” he told the network. Any surgery also carries risks.

The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery survey found that 55 percent of facial plastic surgeons treated patients who “want to look better in selfies” in 2017. That’s a 13 percent increase from 2016. “Consumers are only a swipe away from finding love and a new look, and this movement is only going to get stronger,” the group’s president, William H. Truswell, said in a statement.

Paskhover fears these self-snapped pictures are becoming a public health risk.

“Young adults are constantly taking selfies to post to social media and think those images are representative of how they really look, which can have an impact on their emotional state,” Paskhover said in a statement. “I want them to realize that when they take a selfie they are in essence looking into a portable funhouse mirror.”


Selfies taken 12 inches from the face, left, make the nose appear wider than photographs taken five feet away. (Boris Paskhover/Rutgers New Jersey Medical School)

The number of elective cosmetic procedures has risen along with the proliferation of smartphones, increasing by nearly 200 percent since 2000, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. And last year, more than 200,000 Americans went to the doctor for a rhinoplasty — otherwise known as a nose job.

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