If you’ve been unhappy with the way you look lately, is it possible that you’ve been spending too much time looking at yourself through the lens of your Snapchat filter? Plastic surgeons are reporting a disturbing new trend of clients requesting procedures to make them look like edited and filtered versions of themselves as seen through doctored Snapchat filters.
The Washington Post reports about a recent article in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery and what is now being called “Snapchat Dysmorphia”. As beautifying camera filters and apps become more popular, plastic surgeons are reporting an uptick in patients coming in and requesting to look like a filtered and heavily edited photo of themselves. The 2017 American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery survey found that 55% of surgeons reported patients who had come in requesting surgery in order to look better in selfies. And that number was up by 13% from the year before.
The problem with this new trend is that experts are concerned for people’s self-esteem and see it as a possible trigger for body dysmorphic disorder. Those who suffer from body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) struggle with trying to attain an unattainable look through many plastic surgery procedures without ever feeling satisfied with the outcome. They are preoccupied with a slight or perceived flaw that others may not even notice.
The JAMA article explains how it used to be that celebrities were the only ones who could take and publish flawless photos of themselves, but now this type of technology is in the hands of every social media user. British cosmetic doctor, Tijion Esho who coined the phrase “Snapchat Dysmorphia”, has seen firsthand the effects of using these filtering tools in our daily lives. Esho says, “Today’s generation can’t escape ‘the Truman effect’ because from birth they are born into an age of social platforms where their feelings of self-worth can be based purely on the number of likes and followers that they have, which is linked to how good they look or how great these images are.”
And as Snapchat filters and editing is only going to improve, plastic surgeons should expect to see more patients making these types of requests. Dermatologist professor and one of the article’s authors, Neelam Vashi, explains how she feels the trend will only intensify. She says, “It sounds like people are still going to do it because they like it. They like the way they look. I’m just one small person in a big world, I can’t change everything, but I can make people aware and recognize and know that it’s not the real world. It’s like living in a fantasy.”
What do you think of the uptick in patients requesting surgery to look like filtered versions of themselves?
Do you think “Snapchat Dysmorphia” is a threat to self-esteem and mental health?