An extremely popular saying is, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” but is this old adage applicable today? We understand the saying to mean that one’s perception of beauty are subjective. What can be perceived as beautiful to one person can be viewed as unattractive to others. Never is this more evident than in today’s society, where social media platforms have expanded the desire and changed the ways we can be perceived as attractive, appealing, and beautiful.
What Is Driving This Trend?
Social media, certainly! During the pandemic, when we were pushed into video conferencing and FaceTime to interact with the world both at work and personally, we all got a good look at ourselves. For many people, they were not happy or satisfied with what they saw on the screen. In fact, “Zoom dysmorphia” is a term named by Arianne Shadi Kourosh, MD, MPH, to describe the phenomenon of people who formed a negative view of themselves after constantly seeing themselves on virtual platforms.
This stimulated a so-called “Zoom Boom” for cosmetic procedures. Our desire to improve our appearance increased, leading to increased interest in non-invasive cosmetic and surgical procedures. A national survey of more than 1,000 women conducted by ASPS “says 11% of the women who never had cosmetic surgery said they were more interested in the procedures now than before the pandemic, and 24% of the women who had undergone previous cosmetic procedures were more interested in scheduling another treatment.”1
How Is Facial Beauty Primarily Defined?
Facial symmetry is often the holy grail of beauty. However, none of us has perfectly symmetric features. When we look at ourselves in the mirror, it is a reverse image of what everyone else sees. People have become obsessed with symmetry and this topic is all the social media rage.
TikToks and filters abound to assess the symmetry of your face and even to try to make you look more symmetric, or what would happen if one side of your face were reversed and applied the same exact way to the other side. The bizarre images are taking the Internet by storm. “According to TikTok’s public view counts, the Inverted effect has been used in nearly 10 million videos. On the hashtag page for #Inverted, a description asks users: “Are you #Inverted? Use our Creative Effect and find out.”2
What Is My Approach To Facial Symmetry?
As a board-certified dermatologist practicing medical and cosmetic dermatology for 25 years, I always aim to improve facial symmetry when I do cosmetic procedures. I use BOTOX® Cosmetic and a variety of advanced dermal fillers to even people out and make them more symmetrical.
It is of course impossible to make everyone perfectly symmetrical but smoothing and evening out asymmetries has been part of my aesthetic aim for over 25 years. Making someone look like the best version of themselves is a privilege and a fun part of my career, but it comes with its own challenges. Patients who expect perfect symmetry will be disappointed as this is impossible.
Sometimes there is beauty in asymmetry, and we need to leave it alone and revel in its uniqueness. Even identical twins are not exactly the same. I have treated many identical twins for cosmetic procedures over the years and they do look remarkably similar, but overtime they are not exactly identical. Life bends us all in different ways. We do not need internet filters or TikTok videos to prove that!
Listen to Dr. Rebecca’s Baxt Podcast, “Facial Fillers and How to get Natural-Looking Results”.
1 The Zoom Boom Is Real, Dan Cook, Outpatient Surgery, August 2021
2 “When Did We Become So Obsessed With Being Symmetrical,” Rhonda Garelick, Published NY Times, August 23, 2022