Saudi Journal of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery

: 2020  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 21--23

Do filters and pose in selfies have an effect on cosmetic procedures

Badi Aldosari 
 Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, King Abdulaziz University Hospital, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Badi Aldosari
Department of Otolaryngology.Head and Neck Surgery, King Abdulaziz University Hospital, King Saud University, Riyadh
Saudi Arabia


Background: Filters and pose in selfies are becoming popular in Saudi Arabia. At the same time, there appears to be an increasing demand for cosmetic procedures in this country, suggesting that the two phenomena may be related. Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of filters and pose in selfies on the desire to seek cosmetic surgery in Saudi Arabia. Patients and Methods: A cross-sectional survey was randomly distributed among 653 Saudi residents aged 18–65 years (mean: 29.4 ± 10.9 years). About 25.1% of respondents were male (164 men) and 74.9% were female (489 women) from May to July 2018. The survey was used to determine if the participants have considered cosmetic surgery because of filters and pose in selfies. Results: Social media was used by 98.3% of participants, and selfies were taken by 93.4%. Further, 37.8% of those who took selfies wanted to undergo a cosmetic procedure because of selfies, with 85% of them being females. Moreover, 60% of our respondents who were interested in undergoing cosmetic surgeries were using filters, and 53.0% of them were preferred the frontal view when taking a selfie. Conclusion: Our study demonstrated an effect of filters and pose in selfies on the desire to seek cosmetic surgery in Saudi Arabia. Limitations: Our study included a small number of males and was limited to residents born in Saudi Arabia. Further studies with a larger sample of males and international cohorts are essential to evaluate the global effect of selfies on cosmetic procedures.

How to cite this article:
Aldosari B. Do filters and pose in selfies have an effect on cosmetic procedures.Saudi J Otorhinolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2020;22:21-23

How to cite this URL:
Aldosari B. Do filters and pose in selfies have an effect on cosmetic procedures. Saudi J Otorhinolaryngol Head Neck Surg [serial online] 2020 [cited 2023 Jan 30 ];22:21-23
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Full Text


In Saudi Arabia, the number of smartphone users is expected to reach 19.1 million by 2019.[1] The increasing number of smartphone users makes social media accessible to most of the population. Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype, Snapchat, and LinkedIn are the most popular social network sites in our country.[2] Selfies, which are self-portraits taken by the front-facing camera, have become a global phenomenon. A selfie is easy to take by any smartphone and easy to upload to any social network site. Instagram, which is a popular social network site that has around 600 million users and millions of selfie photos have been uploaded daily.[3] Snapchat, which is an application that allows sending messages as well as taking and sharing videos and photos, is becoming increasingly popular with 187 million users around the world.[3] Both Instagram and Snapchat provide the ability to edit photos, from changing the contrast of a photo to changing the size of the eyes, lips, cheeks, and different physical characteristics. Over the decades, the perceptions of beauty have changed, and technology has supported that by creating applications that alter photos to meet the ideal beauty standards. The wide availability of photo-editing tools can do more harm than good since it has been observed by plastic surgeons who have seen patients requesting to look like their filtered pictures.[3] This phenomenon has been given the term “Snapchat dysmorphia.”[3] Snapchat dysmorphia might have an impact on self-esteem and put patients at risk of body dysmorphic disorder, a mental health issue in which patients are preoccupied with the belief that they have certain flaws in their physical appearance. According to a study, people with low self-esteem seek approval from others through posting their selfies on social networks and receiving positive comments and likes in return.[4] In general, there is no robust scientific data on the effect of filtered photos on seeking cosmetic surgery; hence, this study has been conducted to evaluate the effect of filtered images on seeking cosmetic surgery in Saudi Arabia.

 Patients and Methods

Study design

We conducted a cross-sectional study on 653 patients between May 2018 and July 2018.

Setting and patients

Participants were selected randomly from general population of Saudi Arabia. Online questionnaire was distributed randomly through the social media and websites. The study was approved by the King Saud University Institutional Review Board. All selected patients were selected with inclusion/exclusion criteria. Inclusion criteria were older than 18 years and males and females. Exclusion criteria were non-Saudi and younger than 18 years.


Pretesting was done by consulting cosmetic surgeons and statistician. Some modifications and adjustments were made to the original questionnaire. A pilot study was conducted among 20 patients; results showed that the questionnaire and the questions were generally understandable.

All participants provided their demographics consisting of nationality, gender, age, marital status, highest educational qualification obtained, occupation, and average monthly income.

Participants also indicated on binary (1 = Yes, 2 = No) whether or not they have had consideration of doing cosmetic procedure because of selfie. Other question was whether or not they have had any cosmetic procedure before because of it.

On binary (1 = Yes, 2 = No), participants indicated whether or not they use social media, take selfies, and use filters when taking selfies. Another question was do you like frontal or side view while taking selfies.

Using a scale of 1–7, interest of doing cosmetic procedure was measured, with 1 = extremely not interested and 7 = extremely interested. Furthermore, satisfaction about appearance using selfie and without using selfie was measured, on a scale of 1–7, with 1 = extremely dissatisfied and 7 = perfectly satisfied.

Data were collected using an online-based questionnaire. The statistical analysis was done by the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences program, version 23.0 (SPSS Inc., Armonk, New York, USA). P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Chi-square test was used to determine the statistical difference between categorical groups or proportions.


Over a period of 3 months, a total of 653 participants who fulfilled the inclusion criteria filled the online questionnaire, of them 164 (25.1%) were male and 489 (74.9%) were female. The mean age was 29.4 (10.9) years. Majority of participants were single 390 (59.7%). Most of the participants highly educated, and monthly income of the participants is <5000 SR in most of the participants.

Almost all participants (642; 98.3%) were using social media and take selfies 610 (93.4%) as presented in [Figure 1]. Three hundred and seventy-nine (58.0%) participants prefer frontal view, while two hundred and thirty-one (35.4%) prefer side view [Table 1].{Figure 1}{Table 1}

Two hundred and forty-seven (37.8%) participants want to do cosmetic procedure because of selfies, 210 (85%) of them are female. There is a significant correlation with females (r = 21.698, P < 0.001, odds ratio [OR] =0.387, 95% confidence interval [CI] =0.257–0.582). Of the 247 patients who wanted to do cosmetic surgery, 141 (60.0%) use filters, 21 (8.9%) do not, while 73 (31.1%) sometimes. The decision to do a cosmetic procedure was significantly correlated with filters usage in selfies (r = 21.149, P < 0.001). Of the 247 participants who wanted to do cosmetic surgery, 131 (53.0%) preferred the frontal view, while 104 (42.1%) preferred the side view. (r = 6.627, P = 0.010, OR = 0.645, 95% CI = 0.462–0.901). The decision to do a cosmetic procedure was significantly correlated to frontal view selfies.


Rapid developments of digital photography and mobile technology had led to a new way of photography “selfie.” Nowadays, there are many applications that give you the opportunity to edit one's selfie. A new trend request in a plastic surgery clinic, patients are asking for cosmetic procedure to look like the filtered selfie. Social media platforms emerged quickly into Saudi culture and society. In the present study, we evaluated the impact of filtered selfies on seeking cosmetic procedures among 653 participants in Saudi Arabia.

The majority of our patients used filters, which might beautify their features and encourage them to have cosmetic procedures, as stated by a number of plastic surgeons who have seen patients requesting to look like their filtered photos.[3] According to the literature, filters beautify physical features, which might encourage people to have cosmetic procedures as stated by a number of plastic surgeons who have seen patients asking to look like their filtered photos.[3]

The use of social networks is a potential factor for appearance pressures and consequently appearance-changing behaviors such as cosmetic surgery.[5] Another study conducted in India assessed the use of filters among 11th-grade students, which revealed that 10% of the students edited their selfies to look more attractive; however, the study did not assess the effect of filtered selfies on cosmetic surgery.[6] The findings of the present study showed that the use of filtered selfies is a potential factor to undergo cosmetic surgery.

In the present study, results suggested that females are interested to do cosmetic procedure because of filtered selfies. In a study done by Krämer et al., they mentioned that females place a great value on their self-presentation.[7] As stated by McAndrew and Jeong, female Facebook users put a great effort in “Photo Impression Management” which is a factor reflects the degree to which individuals seem to be concerned with presenting themselves effectively through their profile pictures including graphically editing the picture.[8] Moreover, McLean et al. revealed that there is an association between adolescent females who more frequently editing photos of themselves before posting it in social media and body-related concerns.[9]

In our study, 93.4% of those who took part in the study take selfies regularly, with the frontal pose being preferred by half of them. Similarly, one study concluded that the midline posing orientation was most likely to be used by 49.8% of their participants.[10] However, another study ascertained that most of their participants preferred side posing, with the midline pose being the least frequently used.[5] In our study, 53% of the 247 participants who wanted to have cosmetic surgery chose the frontal view to pose for their selfies. To the best of our knowledge, there is no study that evaluates the effect of selfie posing preferences on cosmetic procedures.

According to American academy of facial plastic and reconstruction surgery (AAFPRS), the desire to look good in selfies has led to a major growth in the demand for cosmetic procedures.[11] In 2017, 55% of plastic surgeons had noticed patients requesting cosmetic renovations to capture a better-looking selfie.

However, to our knowledge, there is no clinical data about the effect of selfie on cosmetic procedure. It would be worthwhile to investigate whether and how selfie influence people to do cosmetic procedure.


Our study evaluated the effect of filtered selfies on seeking cosmetic procedures among 653 participants in Saudi Arabia. Our results suggested that filters might be linked to increased desire for cosmetic surgery. To identify the exact cause–effect relationship, this association requires further analysis through local and international studies. The results of our study could encourage physicians to ask their patients about their selfie behavior and its relation to the desire to have a cosmetic procedure, so that they receive counseling before undergoing any cosmetic procedure if it is unnecessary.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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