Snapchat filters have been upgrading people’s selfie games for the past few years. But, a new study published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery Viewpoint found that apps are fuelling poor body image.
The study said that people were bringing in photos to surgery consultations of their filtered selfies seeking out treatments that contour cheekbones, straighten or reduce nose size, or make a person look slimmer. As a result Dr Tijion Esho, a cosmetic doctor, has coined the term ‘Snapchat dysmorphia’.
Photo-editing filters like Facetune, Snapchat, and Instagram stories allow people to reach a level of physical “perfection”. As Dr Neelam Vashi, director of the Boston University Cosmetic and Laser Centre, notes: “A little adjusting on Facetune can smoothen out skin, and make teeth look whiter and eyes and lips bigger. A quick share on Instagram and the likes and comments start rolling in.”
However, Dr Esho says there is nothing wrong with using a celebrity or picture as a reference point. “The danger is when this is not just a reference point, but it becomes how the patient sees themselves, or the patient wants to look exactly like that image,” he added.