WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Plastic surgeons are warning people about “Snapchat dysmorphia.”
- The term was coined by doctors to describe the mental conditions of people who undergo cosmetic surgery to look like their “Snapchat” version.
- Doctors find the alarming trend as an obsessive behavior, “blurring the line between reality and fantasy.”
Snapchat can make everyone appear to look perfect—and they are loving it. It’s because Snapchat has a wide array of filters and editing options that can instantly improve our real-life appearance.
But this obsessive behavior on how we want to look on social media can have damaging consequences. Doctors have invented a term for it— “Snapchat dysmorphia.” It is the psychology of social media users who seek cosmetic surgery procedures to look more like their doctored versions.
No, there’s no one who has asked for Pokemon Pikachu ears yet. What patients usually request to get are fuller lips, bigger eyes and thinner noses. According to a new article published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, those people want to look more like the filtered versions of themselves on apps like Snapchat and Facetune.
“This is an alarming trend because those filtered selfies often present an unattainable look and are blurring the line of reality and fantasy for these patients,” doctors from Boston University School of Medicine’s Department of Dermatology wrote on the article.
These filtered images can play a trick on one’s self-esteem, making one feel insecure for not looking “perfect” in the real world.
“This may even lead to body dysmorphic disorder,” the article reads.
BDD sufferers obsess about their perceived physical flaws and as a result, can experience extreme anxiety.
Cognitive behavioral therapy can help for those with BDD as negative thought patterns can be replaced with positive ones. To treat anxiety disorders, a prescription medication like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, can be used.
This isn’t the first time that doctors issue a warning about the connection between social media and plastic surgery.
According to CNet, selfies act as “portable funhouse mirrors” that distort noses, making them look 30% bigger, a study from earlier this year found. The study, titled “Nasal Distortion in Short-Distance Photographs: The Selfie Effect,” revealed that “distorted” self-portraits cause more social media users to seek nose jobs for better selfies.