Instagram and Snapchat photo filters are now pushing people towards a disturbing trend, which researchers are calling: “Snapchat dysmorphia”. Simply put, the filters deliver an unrealistic standard of beauty and, even though it started out as a simple way to add fun to photo sharing, it’s emerging that once people get used to these filtered images, they are no longer okay with how they look in real life.
Three researchers from Boston University have published a new article about body dysmorphia confirming this trend. The article, published at the Journal of Facial Plastic Surgery this month, reveals that people are going to extreme lengths to modify how they look to match the filtered images. Body Dysmorphia is a mental health issue that triggers undue worry about a person’s own appearance. Although this condition can be caused by a number of things, the new article is suggesting that Instagram and Snapchat filters could be playing a central role on the matter.
The researchers, in particular, pointed out the disturbing phenomenon they’re calling “Snapchat dysmorphia”. This is an emerging trend in plastic surgery where patients are no longer interested in changing their appearance to look like celebrities, but to resemble their filtered Snapchat images. This condition was first observed in an article by UK’s newspaper The Independent, where a cosmetic surgeon was interviewed and stated that more and more patients were coming to him for a plastic surgery to look more like their filtered images on snap than anything else.
What makes this news so disturbing and alarming is the fact that these filters are often some kind of fantasy and people want surgeons to deliver that. However, the Boston University researchers say that the filtered looks are unattainable. These findings were also captured in a 2017 study by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. The paper noted that 55% of all surgeons reported they had had plastic surgery patients who wanted to improve their look based on Snapchat filters.
The researchers from Boston University claim that these apps are providing a new reality of beauty in tandem with today’s society. They believe the fact photo filtering solutions are readily available to people on social media apps could trigger more and more cases of this “Snapchat dysmorphia” case. In the past, processes used to make people look different were only available to celebs and models who appeared on TV and Magazines. However, photo filters are now making this possible for the general public as well.
All you need is a phone and you can experiment with your face and selfies as much as you can. Unlike in the past, people are now becoming self-conscious about how they look and they’re not knowing how to deal with this factor. It’s not clear just how many people go for plastic surgery to try to look more like their filtered selfies, but one thing is clear: this number is rising.