Deceptive Practices Used in Before and After Photos
“A picture is worth a thousand words”. It’s true, seeing a great before and after speaks volumes for a certain physician’s or practitioner’s abilities. Unfortunately, there are some deceptive practices that can trick the eyes into believing results are better than they are really are. Instagram is a showcase for the aesthetic industry, but there is no oversight as to the claims made on the photos displayed. The bullet points below will help one to develop a critical eye to discern the truth from the “fictional results”.
- Lightening must be the same in both pictures. A common misleading practice is to have a dark before picture and a light after picture. In the lighter picture, wrinkles and shadows are going to be less, and fool the observing into thinking these were related to the procedure.
- Angle of the neck/head must be the same in both pictures. Take a look at the nose and jaw to see if the head is in the exact same position. If the head is tilted more upward in the after picture, the neck will appear to have less fullness, less wrinkles, and be firmer. This is particularly popular in the Kybella before and after photos.
- The expression must be the same in both pictures. If a patients is partially smiling in the before and not in the after, the wrinkles around the mouth and cheek will appear falsely improved.
- Sculptra pictures should have at least a 3-6 month interval. Sculptra is always mixed with water or saline for reconstitution. The immediate results after injection reflect merely the effects of the water/saline and not that of Sculptra. The collagen stimulation from Sculptra will take at least 3 months to appreciate, with 6-9 months being even a better gauge of results.
- Using company photos or other physician’s photos without noting this or giving the appropriate credit on their websites or posts is also a common practice.
- If make-up is used, it must be similar in both photos. Too often the before has none and the after has make-up.
Perfect before and after photos are very challenging. Even when results are extraordinaire, there are often difficulties trying to capture these changes with the camera. However, purposely trying to “enhance” photos with the practices above must be pointed out to the practitioners.
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