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Why your nose looks bigger in selfies – ‘the selfie effect’

There is a phenomenon whereby taking a selfie makes you look like you have a much bigger nose than you really do, called the nasal distortion selfie effect. With all the selfies being snapped daily, understanding how to take a better (read: less bulbous-looking nose) selfie seems like a good idea.

There are billions of selfies taken every day across the globe, with cosmetic dermatologists and surgeons on the receiving end of patients who are constantly seeing themselves disproportionately through the lense of their own mobile phone. Many patients want to look better in selfies, and are asking for changes to their faces as a result, when they maybe just need a long enough selfie stick (yes, seriously) to make the distance between themselves and the camera larger. Or, like in the olden days, getting someone else to take the picture.

Why does the nasal distortion selfie effect occur?

The short distance from the camera causes a distortion of the face due to projection (how far each part of your face sticks out in front), with the most noticeable area for this distortion being the nasal dimensions. A group of researchers got together to prove that this nasal distortion was occurring, give it a name, and help people take better photos – all without getting an unnecessary nose job.

What we know about nasal distortion and the selfie effect

Taking photos of yourself from a distance of about 12 inches/30cm (a high school ruler length) distorts your face, making the base of your nose appear about 30 per cent wider and the nasal tip seven per cent wider than if you take photos from five feet/1.5m away. That is quite an addition to your face that doesn’t actually exist. The researchers looked at two photos of a subject – one from 12 inches away and one from five feet away. The difference was marked and immediately obvious, with perspective being to blame.

When the camera is close to the face, the nose is much closer to the camera than the rest of the face, making it look bigger in comparison to the face. When you are further away from the camera, the image flattens out somewhat, making it seem more proportional.

One of the researchers said,

“I want them [people taking selfies] to realise that when they take a selfie, they are in essence looking into a portable funhouse mirror.”

How to take better selfies

Take them from further away and don’t do them completely front on!

What to do if you really do think your nose needs a helping hand

If you really do want to change your nose, however, we recommend starting off easy with temporary (a year or so) nonsurgical nosejobs, done with dermal filler. Fast, easy, effective – talk to us for more information.

Contact us for more information.

2018-03-12T08:22:30+00:00

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