Identified: The Most Flattering Instagram Filters

Wednesday, July 17, 2019 | Practice Management , Research and Publications , ASAPS


New research shines a light on which Instagram filters create the most flattering and youthful appearances for patients as they attempt to illustrate their desired post-op appearance.

The findings appear in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal Open Forum.

Recently, studies have revealed that content on social media platforms like Instagram are encouraging patients to undergo cosmetic procedures. Doctors have indicated these patients typically display filtered photos during their consultation as a way to communicate expectations.

A total of 78 respondents participated in the study that analyzed standardized photos of women that were altered with popular Instagram filters. The study found the top filters for each of the categories outlined below in order:

  • Most Flattering: Juno, Lark, and Sierra
  • Most Youthful: Reyes, Rise, and Gingham
  • Least Flattering: Hefe, X-Pro, and Slumber
  • 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." Studying why these filters are chosen by patients, plastic surgeons can better understand what results patients are seeking.

"As plastic surgeons, we are always searching for better ways to communicate with our patients, so we can understand their particular desires – and utilizing social media is a dynamic method for patients to illustrate what they truly hope for," says study author Anthony Youn, MD, FACS, a plastic surgeon in Troy, Mich. "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.

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