Snapchat Dysmorphia, a recently coined term in 2018, is a new, social media driven issue. This term is a product of the drastic increase in patients looking to achieve unrealistic results through plastic surgery with inspiration coming from filtered selfies. Applications like Snapchat and Instagram both offer filter features that were originally created to add a fun, humorous spin on our traditional, sub-par selfies. However, in recent months, these applications have added filters that now go beyond comical and offer a smooth, glamours overlay to our once “basic” photos. Instead of choosing from a selective bunch of animal ears and voice changers, we now have the option to choose a filter that will create an “upgraded” version of ourselves with features delivering smoother skin and fuller lips; all the more prettier to post and share with the world. Since Snapchat and Instagram rolled out the filter feature, there’s been an alarming trend that plastic surgeons worldwide are paying closer attention to. Patients are no longer comparing themselves to the longtime, well-known source of influential beauty like actors and models but, instead, are coming in with requests to look like the filtered version of themselves. Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Matthew Schulman, has coined the recent phenomenon “Snapchat Dysmorphia”. Plastic surgery had always been an option for individuals seeking to improve their appearance, with the end goal of looking good and feeling better with boosted confidence. Although patients are still looking to obtain the traditional fixes via plastic surgery, they’re nixing the usual celebrity inspiration and opting for a filtered Snapchat Selfie. Renee Engeln, professor of Psychology at Northwestern University, and author of Beauty Sick: How the Cultural Obsession with Appearance Hurts Girls and Women, recently told the Huffington Post, “There’s an issue with losing perspective on what you actually look like, and it’s not something we talk about much.” She further added, “It’s not enough
have to compare yourself to these perfected images of models, but now you’ve got this daily comparison of your real self to this intentional or unintentional fake self that you present on social media. It’s just one more way to feel like your falling short every day.”
Although western beauty standards aren’t changing with the involvement of the social media age as patients are still seeking smooth skin, fuller lips and larger eyes, the fact that they are so easily accessible and more widely available is what is making all the difference. Having a perfectly filtered photo at our fingertips, revealing our ideal selves, is the unintentional work of interactive apps. like Instagram and Snapchat. Plastic surgery has become a more widely accepted practice for self-improvement, however, it is important to have a realistic mindset when undergoing any procedure.