Forget copying their favourite celebrities, millennials are now getting surgery so that they can achieve the physical “perfection” seen in their filtered social-media selfies, according to a new study.
The desire to physically change one’s appearance to look more like you do after having applied a digital filter on Snapchat or Instagram could be a sign that someone is are suffering from an underlying mental health issue, which scientists have branded “Snapchat dysmorphia”.
The study, published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery Viewpoint, found apps like Snapchat and Facetune are to blame, adding that, according to surgeons and researchers, patients are no longer bringing in pictures of celebrities, but filtered images of themselves.
“A new phenomenon called ‘Snapchat dysmorphia’ has popped up, where patients are seeking out surgery to help them appear like the filtered versions of themselves,” Dr Neelam Vashi, director of the Boston University Cosmetic and Laser Centre, told The Independent.
“A little adjusting on Facetune can smoothen out skin, and make teeth look whiter and eyes and lips bigger. A quick share on Instagram and the likes and comments start rolling in.”
According to the study, as these types of images become the new norm on social media, millennials are now seeking to replicate the effect by seeking out treatments in particular that contour cheekbones, make them look slimmer, or straighten or reduce nose size.
The newly identified ‘Snapchat dysmorphia’, coined by cosmetic doctor Tijion Esho, is a form of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), which is described as “a mental health condition where a person spends a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance” by the NHS. These ‘flaws’ are often unnoticeable to others. It affects both men and women but is most common in teenagers and young adults.
Dr Esho, who says that he will turn patients away if they seem overly-obsessed with resembling filters, previously pointed out that social media encourages us to continuously look at photos of ourselves – which in turn makes us more critical.
“We now see photos of ourselves daily via the social platforms we use, which arguably makes us more critical of ourselves,” he said. “Patients using pictures of celebrities or Snapchat-filtered versions of themselves as reference points is okay. The danger is when this is not just a reference point, but it becomes how the patient sees themselves, or the patient wants to look exactly like that image.”
From: Harper’s BAZAAR UK