Snapchat Dysmorphia: Plastic Surgeons Are Concerned About Effect of Filters

The latest cosmetic ideal is a dangerous one to pursue.

Gone are the days when clients entered their plastic surgeon’s office asking for Angelina Jolie’s lips or Natalie Portman’s nose. In August, an alarming JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery article raised concerns about a new condition nicknamed “Snapchat dysmorphia,” which leads patients to request surgeries to make them look as if a Snapchat or Instagram filter has been applied on their face.

"…they’re trying to look like a fantasized version of themselves.

Dr. Neelam Vashi, the author of the viewpoint article and director of the Ethnic Skin Center at Boston University’s School of Medicine, previously told Inverse that Snapchat dysmorphia was a new and worrying subset of a disorder known as body dysmorphia. This disorder is a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder in which an individual is obsessed with fixing “flaws” in their physical appearance. While it’s normal for people to be somewhat dissatisfied with their looks, it’s another thing altogether when they want to look like a dramatically transformed, unrealistic version of themselves.

This is #1 on Inverse’s list of the 25 Most WTF stories of 2018.

Even supermodel Gigi Hadid admits she feels cute using a Snapchat filter.

Snapchat/Gigi Hadid 

“People bring in photos of themselves at certain angles or with certain kinds of lighting,” Vashi told Inverse. “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.”

Popular Snapchat and Instagram filters include the dog, butterfly crown, flower crown, and cat filters, though there are many others. What they all have in common is a certain anime-like facial aesthetic involving especially big eyes, glowing skin, a slim nose and jawline, and very symmetrical features.

"Plastic surgeons will be dealing with this for years to come.

The problem with these filters, said Kaylee Kruzan, a Ph.D. candidate in Cornell’s Social Media Lab, is that they turn the critical eye inward. Rather than comparing their looks to Natalie Portman’s, for example, plastic surgery patients are now judging themselves against a “beautified” version of themselves — the filtered selfie.

“Social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook constrain users to see their bodies from a third person or observer’s perspective,” said Kruzan. “This can lead to body objectification, which we know is linked to poor mental health and well-being.”

This trend doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere soon. “Plastic surgeons,” said Vashi, “will be dealing with this for years to come.”

As 2018 draws to a close, Inverse is counting down the 25 stories that made us go WTF. Some are gross, some are amazing, and some are just, well, WTF. In our ranking from least to most WTF, this has been #1. Read the original article here.

Watch the full 25 WTF countdown in the video below.

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