Boston, Mass., Aug 12, 2018 / 15:56 pm
Social media is increasingly making teens dissatisfied with their appearance and obsessed with achieving a filtered version of “perfection,” even going so far as to pursue plastic surgery, say medical professionals.
Dr. Neelam Vashi, director of Ethnic Skin Center at Boston University’s School of Medicine, published an article analyzing the new trend in Jama Facial Plastic Surgery last week.
“A new phenomenon, dubbed ‘Snapchat dysmorphia,’ has patients seeking out cosmetic surgery to look like filtered versions of themselves…with fuller lips, bigger eyes, or a thinner nose,” she said.
Among Snapchat’s more popular features are its facial filters, which change users’ appearance in a phone camera. New filters are offered regularly. Some change a person’s face to look like animals, superheroes, or inanimate objects. Others create a more subtle, modified version of the users themselves – smoothing their skin, whitening their teeth, narrowing their face, enhancing their lips and eyes.
Before photo-editing was readily available for the public to use, Vashi wrote, people idolized the often-unrealistic beauty of celebrities, who were the only people with easy access to photo-editing technology.
But now that the general public has access to this technology, she said, it has altered their expectations of beauty. Instead of bringing photos of celebrities to plastic surgery consultations, patients are bringing in pictures of themselves, with specific angles or lighting.
“I just see a lot of images that are just really unrealistic, and it sets up unrealistic expectations for patients because they’re trying to look like a fantasized version of themselves,” she told Inverse.
According to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, more than half of clinicians in 2017 saw patients asking to “look better in their selfies.”