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People Are Getting Plastic Surgery to Look Like Snapchat Filters, Doctors Warn

06 August 2018

The notion of 'beauty perfection' once only applied to celebrities.

One such example, they say, is "Snapchat dysmorphia", where people want to look more like a Snapchat filter in real life and are willing to undergo plastic surgery to make it happen. A person with BDD obsesses over what they believe are physical flaws, even if those flaws are invisible to others.

BDD sufferers often pick their skin and visit plastic surgeons or dermatologists hoping to alter their appearance. They also worry too much about how they look.

In a new article from the Journal of the American Medical Association titled "Selfies-Living in the Era of Filtered Photographs", the report places an emphasis on "Snapchat dysmorphia", a type of body dysmorphia, a condition with excessive preoccupation with a perceived flaw in appearance, classified on the obsessive-compulsive spectrum.

The authors referenced studies that showed teenage girls who manipulated their photographs were excessively anxious about their body appearance. The study also explains "that those with a dysmorphic body image may seek out social media as a means of validating their attractiveness".

But data from the 2017 Annual American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) shows around 55% of plastic surgeons in the United States report seeing patients who want to improve their appearance in selfies.

"A new phenomenon called "Snapchat dysmorphia" has popped up where patients are seeking out surgery to help them appear like the filtered versions of themselves". "A quick share on Instagram and the likes and comments start rolling in", said the director of the Boston University Cosmetic and Laser Centre, Dr. Neelam Vashi. As they do, women whose appearance don't align with the societal norm often suffer from self-esteem issues, which can lead to body dysmorphic disorder or BDD.

Surgery in these cases is not the right choice, according to the authors, because it could exacerbate underlying BDD. Cognitive behavioral therapy, for example, with an empathic and non-judgmental therapist is often effective. 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.

"These apps allow one to alter his or her appearance in an instant and conform to an unrealistic and often unattainable standard of beauty", the doctors note, also stating that such apps may place pressure on people to look in a certain way and may make people lose touch with reality because of the idea that people have to look ideal and filtered in reality as well.

People Are Getting Plastic Surgery to Look Like Snapchat Filters, Doctors Warn