Instagram and some of its popular users have become great marketing tools for plastic surgeons, as doctors post videos and photos of procedures they do on Instagram users with large followings in order to attract attention to their practices.
Owner of Fountain Med Spa in New York City, Dr. Todd Schlifstein, said Instagram is the only advertising he does, and it’s working.
“I have done discounted procedures for Instagram celebrities,” Schlifstein told FOX411. “I am a local business, at the present time, so for my business people who are local, have a local following, similar demographics, similar interests are the best to work with.”
Kim Kardashian’s doctor, Dr. Simon Ourian, has become a social media star himself with over a million followers on Instagram. Ourian told FOX411 it was his idea to feature social media stars on his Instagram page.
“These social media stars wanted to include their audience and followers on their journey, to dispel the misconceptions about cosmetic procedures, and to raise awareness about how it can be done safely and effectively,” Ourian said.
The doctor said cross promotion between himself and Instagram celebrities initially helped his practice get more exposure, but he said that has since tapered off as the number of other similar Instagram pages keep popping up.
“In the beginning there was a much larger increase in our followers when we were tagged by Instagram celebrities,” Ourian said. “As our visibility on Instagram rose and people started following multiple Instagram pages this effect decreased significantly to the point that there's no longer a meaningful correlation between being tagged or mentioned and the number of people following our account. Of course it is still nice to be mentioned or tagged.”
Instagram star Lauren Calaway posted her cosmetic procedure done by Dr. Ourian filling in deep laugh lines with dermal filler to her 225,000 followers who she said “appreciate that I shared the process instead of pretending I hadn't gotten work done.” But she also warned others considering cosmetic procedures to do their homework before going under the needle or knife.
“I’m a firm believer in doing what makes you happy. I do strongly suggest doing your research though,” said Calaway. “I went through reading Yelp reviews and social media comments before deciding on Dr. Simon Ourian.”
Makeup artist Kandee Johnson, who has 1.4 million followers, filmed a procedure to remove sun damage. “I try to always encourage everyone that our most important beauty is felt in a dark room where no one sees beauty, but feels it,” Johnson said. “But I also know that many people feel insecure about certain things.”
But clinical psychologist Dr. Seth Meyers said posting procedures on Instagram makes plastic surgery seem routine, and that could be trouble.
“There's no question that posting cosmetic surgery results on social media normalizes it in a way that could end up encouraging it,” Meyers said. “On a psychological level, men and women must understand that cosmetic surgery is a form of self-mutilation, even if the results are ultimately aesthetically pleasing.”