Dazed Digital Digs Into Why Instagram Accounts Like @celebface Expose Celebrity Cosmetic Surgery

Exposing the lives of the rich & famous has long been an international mass media pastime. Social media puts it into overdrive. Celebrity gossip spreads across the globe in literal seconds, including speculation about cosmetic procedures they might or might not have had.

Dazed Digital recently uncovered the various minds behind the Instagram accounts that aim to expose celebrity beauty secrets by sharing before and after images that they believe show evidence of a body that has been surgically enhanced—or, if not that, a photo that has been altered in some way. User comments analyze whether they think a celebrity had anything done, and if so, what. With some accounts boasting over 1 million followers, these profiles are getting lots of attention.

It has us asking—why are we so invested in what other people do with their bodies? Is it pure schadenfreude, or can we learn something valuable?

Is there any benefit to “outing” celebrity cosmetic surgery?

It’s easy to dismiss the whole phenomenon as run-of-the-mill tabloidism, but according to the article, the people who run Instagram accounts like @celebface and @exposingcelebsurgery, seem to believe they are doing consumers a service.

Many of the account owners argue the obsession over these secrets humanizes the celebrity; while others simply have goals to normalize the stigma surrounding cosmetic enhancements. As the owner of @celebface says, “This is not a page for hate. This is the page for people who use Instagram every day and think celebrities are perfect. But nobody is perfect. Celebrities are ordinary people.”

Others say they are in the game to help consumers understand that even famously beautiful people have cosmetic treatments and/or retouch their photos to put their best face forward. By posting side-by-side comparisons of famous faces and bodies, they hope to bolster the self-esteem of the rest of us who naturally wonder, “Why don’t I look like that?” as well as educate consumers about procedure options. For example, the owner of @igfamousbodies was quoted in the article as saying:

“If someone is adamant they’re natural when it’s very obvious they’ve had work done or photoshopped the image, it’s deception. This results in lots of misinformation, which is something I want to help resolve…I want people to learn what procedures are out there, what the expected results are, the downtime, pain, and price. I think reducing ignorance about cosmetic procedures makes it more likely for everyone to have a healthy concept of what they are, what they can achieve, and how to have a safe and legal procedure.”

Or, are the social media accounts really just a modern-day tabloid designed to build followers at the celebrity’s expense?

On the one hand, seeing so many examples of celebrities who have chosen cosmetic surgery is a positive thing. It helps to dismantle the taboo and reinforces the message that it’s perfectly normal to want to enhance your appearance—and in qualified, well-trained hands, cosmetic surgery is a safe, sensible way to make desired changes.

On the other hand, the choice to make cosmetic enhancements is very personal, and publicizing what is essentially a person’s medical history—particularly without their permission—gives us pause. While we’re all for helping people understand the process, risks, and benefits of cosmetic surgery, we don’t think attempts to do so through speculation and anonymous comments from strangers are helpful for anyone.

The bottom line: if you want to know what actual cosmetic surgery results look like, look toward actual patients (and their surgeons)

For those who are curious about cosmetic surgery, we recommend sticking to reliable sources, such as the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, RealSelf, or sites from qualified individual cosmetic surgeons. Here, you will find verified before and after photos of actual patients, accompanied by sound cosmetic surgery information, instead of “did he or didn’t he” pictures that, whether by intention or not, draw unconstructive criticism.

Do you follow any of these Instagram accounts? Do you think it is okay to assume someone has had cosmetic surgery and discuss it on social media? Let us know in the comment section—we welcome your input!

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