It used to be that trends were ushered in by print media. Millions would clamour at store fronts getting the latest edition of Cosmo, FHM, Elle – you name it. These gatekeepers of pop culture led the way in informing the public of new style trends and the latest gossip on the who’s who of the public eye, especially when it came to who got their lips plumped up, stomach tucked, and butt augmented.

Plastic surgery and pop culture go hand in hand like Kim Kardashian and the internet breaking. So it’s no wonder that, with the age of social media, people are beginning to turn to social networks like Instagram for tips on the best cosmetic surgery for their needs.

Some are unsettled by the new age of information distribution, where you can visit a page that provides anything from the best eye shadow to apply on your skin tone to the most ideal plastic surgery for your breasts. However, is there anything to be concerned about? Should society really be worried about people taking cosmetic surgery cues from Instagram?

Let’s take a closer look.

We must understand that information now moves freely in the modern age. It’s no longer restricted to the big corporate entities that own publishing houses such as Elle.

What this means is that there are no longer as many restrictions on information gatekeeping. Influencers and average Joes and Joannes now post all of their experiences, including their beauty tips and fashion sense. There’s very little regulation of information on places such as Instagram. So anyone can post what they want, as long as it is in line with the terms of use.

How does this relate to plastic surgery?

Simple.

The best way to explain the phenomenon of people using Instagram to inform their plastic surgery decisions is the lack of Photoshop in most Instagram photos. Don’t get us wrong; people still use Photoshop to enhance their beauty, but they’re not as pedantic about the meaning of beauty as Cosmopolitan would be.

The result is a much more realistic representation of the idea. So if you get your breasts augmented and share an image on Instagram of your new bust, people are more likely to believe you than they are a corporate entity that uses a high level of FX to tell the story of beauty. This is why more people believe in influencers than they do in publishing houses. The former is a bunch of regular Joes and Joannes who’ve mastered the art of content marketing without the red tape. The latter is largely influenced by advertisers, sponsors and shareholders.

As such, there’s nothing wrong with taking styling cues from them (Instagram influencers). What’s more, influencers are required by law to state whether their posts are sponsored or not. This means that those who see the influencer’s new, plumper lips can determine whether the influencer personally chose to have it done or was invited by a plastic surgeon to promote the business. As a result, the audience is now fully aware there is a possibility of bias coming from the influencer, and so are more likely to freely be sceptical or receptive.

However, trust is not the only thing that might work in Instagram’s favor. Instagram is free, and the audience has a wider choice of information to choose from. They don’t have to wait an entire month to get November’s edition, featuring some actor who somehow morphed from a prepubescent teenage boy to mature sex-bomb. It’s there and then, and free for all to follow and unfollow.

Even those big publishing houses who cut away at models using software also post their images on Instagram. So you can view their idea of beauty and compare it to an influencer or just your friend who got their cheek bones adjusted. By so doing, you’re getting a better perspective of your own idea of beauty. As a result, you can decide whether you want to get cosmetic surgery done, by who and for how much. Or you can decide to not do it at all, and get less invasive procedures done for a cheaper price.

Of course, it still has its pitfalls. Instagram is also home to impressionable teens and so forth. However, if we’re to consider this, then we must also remember that influencers and publishers displaying cosmetic tips aren’t the worst. Instagram is also home to bullies and trolls. People who play on other’s insecurities far worse than someone portraying their own idea of beauty. These individuals without faces can bully someone till that person suffers from anxiety and depression – to the point where they commit suicide.

It can be argued that these bullies are the same people who actually make others turn to Instagram’s beauty accounts, as the victim wishes to leave behind all that their being mocked for in exchange for symmetrical facial features, even and firm breasts, wider eyes and a flat belly without stretch marks.

In other words, it’s not Instagram’s or the influencer’s fault for attracting such large numbers, unless these two implicitly declare that anything other than their own definition of beauty is ugly. Since most influencers (who fairly represent all sorts of looks) encourage a big discussion on beauty, welcoming all shapes and sizes to follow and comment, it’s tough to accuse them of misleading the public.

What’s more, the public has already been misled by society and the big publishing houses who have long since been responsible for declaring what’s beautiful and not, inadvertently using trolls and bullies to increase the relevance of their beauty standards, making others fear their own interpretation of beauty.

Instagram may not be the best place to get styling cues for cosmetic surgery, but it’s probably the best place to get a balanced free-to-follow perspective of it.