Plastic surgeons report that selfies are now a key factor in young women and men wanting to change their appearance. Some doctors say the snaps we take of ourselves have prompted the biggest increase in request for plastic surgery and non-invasive cosmetic procedures such as Botox and fillers.

Although it has not been proven that selfies are making us more self-critical and more self-conscious, as ‘the selfie’ has proliferated, so number of cosmetic procedures has gone up. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, combined surgical and nonsurgical procedures in 2015 were up 20 percent compared to 2014, with an astounding total of 12,792,377 procedures performed.

Facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dara Liottta MD observed: “Many social media platforms, including Instagram and Snapchat, are image-based, and our presence on these platforms forces us to see our own image repeatedly, and to look at our image with a more self-critical eye than ever before.” Dr. Liotta believes the front-facing camera on our smartphones and the ‘flipped-image effect’ they create are driving many of the requests she gets.

She went on to say that: “Make-up trends and watching YouTube tutorials about how to do the trend are another thing that draws people’s attention to their own features, and often in a critical way. Many plastic surgery treatments, from laser, to filler, to surgery, are aimed at tweaking the way that the light hits the face, and eliminating the shadows across the face. This is exactly the same as contouring and strobing. Plastic surgery just does it in a way that is more permanent, and won’t wash off in the morning.”

Do you agree that your selfies are making you self-conscious? The average age of the selfie taker in 2016 according to the metro is 16-25 years old so I asked a group of four 20-22 year olds their thoughts on the matter. Being self-conscious about this, they did not want to giv their full names.

Me: So, ladies, recent studies are showing that selfies are making us more self-conscious – what are your initial thoughts on this?

Ari: Yep. I can completely imagine this.

Ash: Hm, I guess I can see why..

Ari: Selfies make me feel like actual shit. I always try to take good photos of myself but there are never any that I like. When I finally get my lip fillers I think I’ll be happier with how I look in pictures.. I did want them before the whole selfie thing though.

Molly: Selfies don’t make me feel weird or bad about myself. If I take a picture and it’s nice then I’ll put it on Instagram, if it’s bad then I won’t. That’s all there is too it really.

Sasha: I think I’m with Mol on this one. Selfies wouldn’t ever drive me to physically changing my face. I don’t think they’re that important.

Me: What about your bodies? Is this “selfie age” we’re living in, making young women want to change their bodies to look a certain way and live up to a certain standard?

Ash: Yes. One thousand percent yes. Every day I open my Instagram and there is always a new picture of someone bikini clad, perfectly tanned strutting round some beach or pool. It can either work as a kick up the arse to get to the gym or it can make you feel like utter self loathing shit.

Molly: I agree with Ash. Every day without a doubt there will be a new picture of a Kardashian or someone like that flaunting their bodies – even though we know the majority of it is surgery, it can be hard to stop your self-thinking “ah I wish I looked like that..” when often the figures they have are impossible to achieve because it’s not real.

Ari: Yeah I am so glad that Instagram wasn’t around when I was at school because some of the younger generation on Instagram really do seem to idolise the likes of Kylie Jenner for her looks. But what they fail to realise when they’re beating themselves up for not looking like her, is that she began getting lip fillers at 17 and God knows what else.. And she probably did this because she saw someone with nice big lips on Instagram.. It’s not real.. It’s fake but we still want it.

Sash: I love to moan and complain about social media making young girls feel insecure but the reality of the matter is: no one ever forces anyone to log into social media, no one is forcing young women to follow social media accounts that are going to make them feel insecure. Maybe it’s not social media’s fault we’re feeling self-conscious; maybe it’s ours?

So just to clarify, none of you have ever felt like you wanted to change your face with surgery or fillers due to selfies and social media?

Ari: Well, I always have wanted lip fillers, even before the whole selfie thing, but I will admit that this selfie era has made me want them even more.

Ash: Hmm, I have occasionally thought to myself that I would like bigger hips after seeing a photo of myself and then a photo of someone online, but they’re just fleeting thoughts and I would never actually go ahead with it.

Molly: Well, I follow a lot of fitness pages so that definitely inspires me to look a certain way but if anything I find that healthy because it pushes me to be fitter.

Sash: Hm, if I had the money for fillers and botox I might be persuaded from seeing other people’s on social media. They are really really common now and seen as like an everyday thing. So yeah if money wasn’t an issue I probably would.