Social media is more and more making teenagers dissatisfied with their appearance and enthusiastic about obtaining a filtered version of “perfection,” even heading so far as to pursue plastic surgery, say medical professionals.
Dr. Neelam Vashi, director of Ethnic Skin Centre at Boston University’s School of Medicine, printed an article examining the new style in Jama Face Plastic Surgery previous week.
“A new occurrence, dubbed ‘Snapchat dysmorphia,’ has patients seeking out plastic surgery to look like filtered versions of themselves…with fuller mouth, bigger eye, or a thin nose,” she said.
Among Snapchat’s more popular features are its cosmetic filters, which change users’ appearance in a cellphone camera. New filter systems are offered regularly. Some change a person’s face to look like family pets, superheroes, or inanimate things. Others create a more subtle, revised version of the users themselves – smoothing their pores and skin, whitening their teeth, narrowing their face, improving their mouth and eyes.
Before photo-editing was designed for the public to utilize, Vashi said, people idolized the often-unrealistic beauty of stars, who were the only people with quick access to photo-editing technology.
But now that everyone has usage of this technology, she said, it has altered their anticipations of beauty. Instead of bringing photos of stars to cosmetic surgery consultations, patients are attracting pictures of themselves, with specific angles or lighting.
“I just see a great deal of images that are just really unrealistic, and it creates unrealistic goals for patients because they’re wanting to appear to be a fantasized version of themselves,” she advised Inverse.
According to the North american Academy of Face Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, more than half of clinicians in 2017 observed patients requesting to “look better in their selfies.”
Dr. Laura Cusamano, a postdoctoral fellow at Potomac Behavioral Solutions in Arlington, Va., works together with patients struggling with body image and has seen the same development. She said the idealization of stars has morphed into users of public media idealizing modified images of themselves.
“In recent decades, American marketing has propagated a distorted view of beauty, privileging certain body types, epidermis tones, wild hair colors, and cosmetic features. Beauty ideals attended by means of stars, whose ‘perfect’ images are often Photoshopped,” she informed CNA.
“With the introduction of social media, the ability to adjust one’s appearance generally is at one’s fingertips. Applications like Snapchat provide the chance for users to find the ‘perfect’ image of themselves to share with the peers and the entire world.”
Cusamano voiced concern that Snapchat Dysmorphia may lead teenagers to compare their systems not only with digitally transformed images of themselves, but also with similar images of relatives and buddies. This could lead to eating disorders, self-esteem problems, and other issues, she said.
She also doubts that the new style may push unwell individuals further into Body Dysmorphic Disorder, a condition related to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder where individuals suffer from “excessive preoccupation with identified defects or imperfections in their appearance.”
“They become obsessed with what they consider to be flaws, and they often spend a great deal of time seeking to examine, improve, or face mask their supposed imperfections,” she said. The disorder is associated with nervousness and depressive disorder, as well as shame and low self-esteem.
Cusamano said nearly 75 percent of folks with the disorder seek surgery, plastic treatment, and dermatological work. She said these individuals may also encounter suicidal ideation.
When asked about how precisely to correct this development of Snapchat Dysmorphia, she said people should pay attention to how social press has effects on their life, noticing whether they find themselves becoming jealous of other users.
People might need to take a short-term break from social press or follow accounts designed to spread positive information about the body, she said.
Cusamano also stressed the value of knowing the dignity of the human person.
“Remembering that you will be created in the image and likeness of God and asking God to help the thing is yourself as He recognizes you is an excellent way to focus on transforming your self-image,” she said.