Social media is all about seeing and being seen, so it’s not surprising that the ubiquity and frequency of posts are fueling our vanity.

According to a recent report by the American Academy of Facial and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), social media activity may be driving an increase in plastic surgery requests.

“Access to any social media sites can cause people to envy what others have in relation to physical features,” states Cincinnati and Dayton plastic surgeon, Dr. Mark Mandell-Brown. Dr. Mandell-Brown continues to say “Being able to click through people’s pictures can take it’s toll on someones self image, both in a positive and negative way.”

The survey polled 752 of the AAFPRS’ board-certified facial plastic surgeons on the trends in reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. This year, one finding stuck out: surgeons are seeing a 31% increase in plastic surgery requests as a result of how people wanted to present themselves on social media.

The survey shows that growth in cosmetic plastic surgery outpaces demand for reconstructive procedures. Cosmetic surgery accounted for 73% of all plastic surgery operations in 2012, up from 62% in 2011. Among the more popular procedures are rhinoplasty, Botox and facelifts.

It’s not surprising that people tend to be influenced by the images they see most consistently, which in the past have been of celebrities, but increasingly may include friends as well. And constant reminders of their appearance on social media may be spurring a desire to improve perceived flaws.

“Many people use social media and other sites for ideas and research” states Dr. Mandell-Brown. “These are the fun patients to talk to because they are serious in wanting to reach great results for themselves and have prepared questions before the consultation.”

Dr. Robert Kellman, the president of the AAFRPS agrees this trend is positive. “I find more patients using what they find online to become more educated and will bring in what they find, and asked to be informed,” he says. “In the past, people took everything they read online as gospel and would even challenge you. I think people are becoming more sophisticated [with their research].” And more demanding on themselves, it seems, about how they look.

All in all, social media can be used as a great tool for self education and ideas. However, consulting with your preferred plastic/cosmetic surgeon will provide you with correct and beneficial information.