does your nose look big in selfies? A woman takes a selfie on the beach

Summary: Sometimes selfies lie. Maybe your nose looks big in selfies and you don’t think it looks that large in real life. That’s not an uncommon problem and it’s backed up by significant research. Social media and body dysmorphia have become substantially linked in the past few years. And while it’s usually described as the result of the use of filters, I wonder too if the distortion caused by selfies has a role to play. Just because your nose looks big in selfies doesn’t mean it look that big in real life. It’s worth taking some time to examine your nose and get all the facts possible.

Why Does Your Nose Look Big in Selfies?

When you take a selfie, your nose might look bigger than it actually is. You might have noticed this. Maybe you snapped a couple of pictures of yourself and couldn’t take your eyes off your nose. Does your nose look big in selfies? You aren’t alone. And it turns out that this enlarged nasal area isn’t really your fault either.

Nor is it reflected in reality. That’s right. Your nose could actually look significantly bigger in your selfie than it does in real life. We can talk about why that is a little bit later, but it’s important to remember that there is a discrepancy in the way the nose appears in photos and the way it appears to other people.

So if you’ve been planning a rhinoplasty procedure based on how your nose appears in selfies, you might want to gather some more information before committing one way or another to your procedure. That’s because it’s not common for those patients to be asked: does your nose look big in selfies? Maybe that’s a question we need to start asking more often.

What Causes Your Nose to Look Big?

According to one study of selfies and noses (and yes, such things exist), close up images caused the nose to look almost 30% wider in both men and women. That can mean that if selfies are your only frame of reference, you can have significantly inflated ideas about how big your nose is, especially when compared to the rest of your face. But maybe we should take a step back and talk about what actually causes this distortion. After all, aren’t cameras on mobile devices supposed to be super accurate?

Well, yes, but all cameras rely on a lens in order to take photo. The lens is what let’s light in–and it’s almost always curved to some degree. That curve is intentional, because it makes pictures appear more three dimensional and lifelike–but only from a certain distance.

It’s when objects are closer than the lens was intended that things start to get distorted. Now, the lenses on mobile devices are usually quite general in purpose, meaning they have a very wide area of non-distortion. And when distortion does appear, it’s quite minimal. That’s why you’ve never noticed this distortion before.

But it does exist with selfies, largely because you’re holding the camera so close to your face. It isn’t a design flaw so much as a design limitation.

Add Lighting into the Mix

And that distortion is just the first way that your face might look a little different in a photograph. It’s amazing what a difference lighting makes. If the shadows in a photograph are particularly harsh, your nose can look even larger. If the light is too diffuse, however, your nose could look wider. There’s a reason that film and television crews spend millions and millions of dollars on lighting alone.

Can Surgery Fix It?

If you’re primarily concerned with how your nose looks in photos, then your best bet for “fixing” it is via the use of a filter. In other words, you can use one of your camera’s apps to make your nose appear a little bit smaller. This is not an uncommon way to deal with facial characteristics that you aren’t overly happy with, though there are drawbacks to such an approach (body dysmorphia chief among them).

If your nose is truly too wide for your tastes, there are surgical approaches which can diminish the appearance of your nose. In fact, rhinoplasty is one of the most popular plastic surgery options on the planet, in large part because of the relatively significant role that your nose plays in the proportions of your face.

For example, if your nose is truly too wide, the remaining features of your face can look slightly out of whack. Your eyes can look too small, your lips too thin, your ears too far apart. The same thing happens (just in the opposite direction) if your nose is on the skinny side–if it doesn’t take up enough real estate on your face.

Embrace Your Nose

Of course, no one needs surgery or filters to look good and feel confident. If you like your nose, then you should embrace your nose–no matter what it looks like. And if your nose looks big in selfies, that’s okay too. It might be that your camera is distorting how you actually look.

Surgery isn’t going to be for everyone. But if you are truly bothered by your nose, make sure that you have all the data you can possibly get ahold of. Sometimes selfies lie. The more you know about your face–what you like and what you don’t like–the better your decisions will be about how to fix any of those problems.

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