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‘Snapchat Dysmorphia’: Teens, Patients Seek Surgery To Look Like Filtered Selfies

Aug 03, 2018 10:45 PM EDT
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Selfie filters may be warping the public's perception of beauty. A new article introduced "Snapchat dysmorphia," a phenomenon that has teens and millennials trying to look like real-life versions of filtered photos.
(Photo : Pixabay)

The public has reached a new level of body dysmorphic disorder, which some health professionals have dubbed as "Snapchat dysmorphia."

The relationship between body dysmorphia and social media is explored in a newly released article.

Snapchat, Other Apps Usher In New Standards Of Beauty

In the paper published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, author Neelam Vashi, M.D., stresses how a new age has been ushered in with the advancements in social media and photo editing.

It only takes a few clicks and swipes to tweak an image on the phone. The results are instant: smoother skin, plumper lips, wider eyes, and more defined contours on the face and body. Another click and it is posted on Instagram for the whole world to see, like, and comment on.

The ability to make picture-perfect images is no longer reserved for models and celebrities. Now, everyone has the ability and consequently, the burden of making themselves look flawless.

Vashi, who is the director of the Ethnic Skin Center at BMC and Boston University School of Medicine, dubs the phenomenon as Snapchat dysmorphia as patients seek out surgery to get them looking more like the filtered versions of themselves. The paper pointed out how worrying this trend is as it blurs the line between reality and fantasy.

The Alarming Consequences Of Snapchat Dysmorphia

"The pervasiveness of these filtered images can take a toll on one's self esteem, make one feel inadequate for not looking a certain way in the real world, and may even act as a trigger and lead to body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)," Vashi wrote in the newly published paper.

BDD is described to be the excessive preoccupation of perceived flaws in the physical appearance. It is classified on the obsessive-compulsive spectrum.

A previous study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders has revealed that adolescent girls who manipulated their photos also reported a higher concern for their bodies. It has also been suggested that those with BDD may use social media to find validation of their attractiveness.

"Filtered selfies can make people lose touch with reality, creating the expectation that we are supposed to look perfectly primped all the time," Vashi explains in a statement. "This can be especially harmful for teens and those with BDD, and it is important for providers to understand the implications of social media on body image to better treat and counsel our patients."

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