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

Leslie Hanson
August 6, 2018

According to a paper published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, more and more people nowadays get plastic surgeries in order to look rather like their filtered versions, with many wanting to have features such as bigger eyes, fuller lips, and thinner noses. "These apps allow one to alter his or her appearance in an instant and conform to an unrealistic and often unattainable standard of beauty", they wrote.

Is your teenaged daughter addicted to photo editing applications such as Snapchat to get that flawless look for the ideal selfie?

Using photo-editing techniques is changing people's perceptions of beauty worldwide, which may affect a person's self-esteem and trigger body disorders, a study has found. JAMA stands for Journal of the American Medical Association. This new technology has gone beyond the digital screen - psychologists have dubbed this obsession with looking like a filter "Snapchat dysmorphia". A person with BDD obsesses over what they believe are physical flaws, even if those flaws are invisible to others.

It involves repetitive behaviors like skin picking, and visiting dermatologists or plastic surgeons hoping to change their appearance. They also encourage clinicians to tread lightly by approaching the patient with empathy, not judgment.

The authors referenced studies that showed teenage girls who manipulated their photographs were excessively anxious about their body appearance. The findings revealed that 55 percent of its surgeons reported patients in 2017 requesting surgery to improve their look in selfies.


The viewpoint authors reference studies that show teen girls who manipulated their photos were more concerned with their body appearance, and those with dysmorphic body image seek out social media as a means of validation. "A quick share on Instagram and the likes and comments start rolling in", said the director of the Boston University Cosmetic and Laser Centre, Dr. Neelam Vashi.

Psychological interventions, on the other hand, can help people manage body dysmorphic disorder.

Surgery in these cases is not the right choice, according to the authors, because it could exacerbate underlying BDD.

In a report from Inverse, Kaylee Kruzan, a Ph.D. candidate who works in at Cornell's Social Media Lab said, "There has been some work suggesting that with social media-induced plastic surgery people come to value, and relate to, the idealized images they create on social media over their actual felt body, and strive to attain "ideal" standards through body modification". Cognitive behavioral therapy, for example, with an empathic and non-judgmental therapist is often effective.

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