01/15/2015 06:42 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Plastic Surgery and Selfies: What's the Connection?

Tara Moore via Getty Images

Selfies. Who hasn't taken one? What may have started as a popular social media trend among teens has now become socially acceptable for people of all ages and from all walks of life. Even President Obama himself has taken a few selfies! The Oxford Dictionary now includes the word selfie, which is defined as "a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media."

Closeups of our faces, cocked just at the right angle with our lips pursed and our sultry gazes directed at the camera, are our prized social media possessions. Why? What is it about the selfie that makes it such a popular everyday habit among social media users?

Though self-portraits have existed for centuries, the selfie is unique. Some might even say it's revolutionary. Perhaps the popularity of the selfie can be traced to Facebook's like button, which allows for quick reassurance and an ego boost. However, what happens when we don't receive enough likes, or we're simply just not satisfied with the multitude of photos we've taken?

According to a poll conducted by The American Academy of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, there's a rise in plastic surgery patients who are undergoing procedures due to social media's fixation on physical appearance. This is illustrated by the infographic cretated by the Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery Center below.

While some people go as far as Photoshopping their selfies, others take it to the next level with nose jobs, eyelid surgery and hair transplants. Some women are even opting for reconstructive surgery on their hands.

Think that's a bit excessive? It's nothing compared to the $15,000 that LA talent agent Triana Lavey spent when she underwent multiple procedures in order to look more attractive in her selfies. Lavey's been quoted as saying that her virtual self is just as important as her real-life self. According to Lavey, her chin was ruining her selfies and therefore, it had to go.

In light of this dramatic rise of all of these selfie-motivated plastic surgeries, we should probably ask ourselves a simple photography question.

Is a photograph that was taken at arm's length with poor lighting and a smartphone camera lens really the best means of judging whether or not we're happy with our appearances?

Probably not.

In fact, using selfies as a form of self-love is a great way to learn to appreciate your body! Start using them as tools for learning and self-exploration. You might be shocked as to what kind of beauty you find.