Snapchat Dysmorphia, a recently coined term is a new, social media driven issue and predominant in 2021 with the increase of online channels, Zoom and social channels such as TikTok and Instagram. 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
Psychological Concern with Snapchat DysmorphiaOne of the main concerns with the rise of social media and camera filters is that it can have a detrimental effect on someone's psychological state. Although there is no set-in stone Snapchat dysmorphia definition, it comes as no surprise that doctors have related it closely to body dysmorphic disorder.
Dr. Esho explains, “We have a stringent consultation process in place, which assess the patient’s suitability for treatment and we never do treatment on the same day, allowing the patient to ‘cool off’ and really think about their choice. This is important as many can act on impulse.” Esho goes on to state, “Today’s generation can’t escape the Truman effect because from birth they are born into an age of social platforms where their feelings of self-worth can be based purely on the number of likes and followers that they have, which is linked to how good they look or how great these images are.”