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How photo filters affect the aesthetics market

photo by rawpixels.com from Pexels.

Findings from a recent study published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal Open Forum, an official publication of The Aesthetic Society, assessed popular Instagram filters to discover the ‘most flattering’, ‘most youthful’, ‘least flattering’, and ‘least youthful’ when applied to portrait photos of women.

The study states: “Recently, studies have revealed that content on social media platforms like Instagram are encouraging patients to undergo cosmetic procedures, particularly among social media's large, millennial population. Doctors have indicated these patients typically display filtered photos during their consultation as a way to communicate expectations. The study, titled ‘What is the Ideal Instagram Filter?’ set out to determine which Instagram filters create the most flattering and youthful appearances for patients as they attempt to illustrate their desired post-op appearance.”

States Anthony Youn, MD, FACS, author of the study: “As plastic surgeons, we are always searching for better ways to communicate with our patients, so we can understand their particular desires – and utilising social media is a dynamic method for patients to illustrate what they truly hope for.

“Photo filters are here to stay. Determining the ideal Instagram filters can give us insight into more than just the desired surgical or non-surgical cosmetic outcome, but what our society as a whole considers flattering and desirable,’ he explains.

A total of 78 respondents participated in the study that analysed standardised photos of women that were altered with popular Instagram filters. The study found that the top filters for each of the categories were: ‘Most Flattering’ (Juno, Lark, and Sierra); ‘Most Youthful’ (Reyes, Rise, and Gingham); ‘Least Flattering’ (Hefe, X-Pro, and Slumber); and ‘Least Youthful’ (Perpetua, Crema, and Aden).

The filters found to be most youthful and most flattering each made the subject's face brighter, smoothed imperfections, and accentuated light colors. Conversely, the filters determined to be the least flattering and youthful darkened the photos and increased contrast and shadows, making the subject appear flat and dull; typical of an aged look, where the radiance has been sapped from the skin. This is in contrast to filters like Juno, considered by the author to be the ‘Instagram Ideal’.

To read the full study go to https://doi.org/10.1093/asjof/ojz019

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