By now we’re all familiar with the impact of online filters on beauty trends—and the ensuing influx of requests at the facial plastic surgeon’s office. “Selfie-awareness,” first coined by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), has since morphed into everything from “snapchat dysmorphia” to “Instagram face,” to the “Zoom Boom effect.” Now, there’s the “TikTok Face.”

The pressures of a virtual lifestyle has a huge impact on the way we view ourselves, according to AAFPRS facial plastic surgeons. Looking better in selfies continues to be a top rising trend as indicated by 77% of AAFPRS members in this year’s annual member survey. However, it’s worth exploring the nuances of TikTok’s enormous influence on self-esteem and aesthetics, according to AAFRPS President Corey Maas, MD, FACS, who runs the San Francisco-based Maas Clinic and is considered a worldwide expert in the field of facial plastic surgery.

As the latest social media medium to face scrutiny for popularizing questionable beauty habits and unrealistic standards, TikTok is affecting the aethetics industry in a huge way, Maas explains.

“Unlike its predecessors, TikTok makes those static filters fluid, further blurring the lines between fantasy and reality,” Maas says. “With a single click, jaws and noses can be slimmed, eyes enlarged and reshaped, lips volumized, and so on. TikTok technology has become so advanced, that a makeup filter can smooth pores and add lashes while remaining nearly undetectable to the untrained eye, especially when in movement.”

The impact of video on patients’ level of self-scrutiny is undeniable. The 2021 AAFPRS survey detailed an enormous increase in the trend for people seeking procedures to look better on screen. To illustrate, 79% of facial plastic surgeons identify patients seeking procedures for an improved appearance on video conferencing as a rising trend, compared to only 16% the previous year. 

AAFPRS members report that the total number of surgical and non-surgical facial plastic surgery treatments is up dramatically. An estimated 1.4 million surgical and non-surgical face, head and neck procedures have been done in the past year, with AAFPRS members performing an average of 600 more procedures than they did in 2020, a 40% surge.