Snapchat is causing teens to seek surgery to look like their favourite filter.
It seems like the world's obsession with social media and selfies is catching up on us. Cosmetic surgeon Dr Neelam Vashi, the director of the Ethnic Skin Center at Boston Medical centre, has coined the term 'Snapchat Dysmorphia' to explain the worrying new trend of teenagers that are seeking surgery based on the way they look after they have applied a Snapchat filter.
According to a viewpoint paper which she recently published in The Journal of The American Medical Association’s facial plastic surgery, "filters and edits have become the norm, altering people’s perception of beauty worldwide."
Using in-editing features on Instagram, filters on Snapchat and any other third-party apps like Face Tune give users the power to out skin, make their teeth look whiter and eyes and lips bigger, mimicking the results of a 1-2-1 consultation with a cosmetic surgeon.
"People bring in photos of themselves at certain angles or with certain kinds of lighting," she said in an interview with 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."
Snapchat dysmorphia may be a relatively new phenomenon, but other research also suggests that social media and selfies are altering the way people view themselves. Around 55% of facial plastic surgeons report seeing patients who are seeking operations to look better in selfies, according to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery — perhaps in part, because research has shown that selfies make your nose look 30% bigger. And a 2015 study of adolescent girls found that those who regularly shared and edited photos on social media had higher levels of body dissatisfaction than those who did not.
The ability to edit oneself so easily is altering people’s approach to surgery. Vashi says that prior to the popularity of selfies, the most common complaint from those seeking rhinoplasty was the hump of the dorsum of the nose.
Today, nasal and facial asymmetry is the more common presenting concern. Along with rhinoplasties, hair transplants and eyelid surgical procedures are also popular requests to improve selfie appearance.