With quick-disappearing pics, crazy backgrounds, and fun filters, Snapchat is everybody’s favorite app for communicating with their friends. However, an occurrence called ‘Snapchat Dysmorphia’ means that all of those fun filters could actually be dangerous for your mental health!
‘Snapchat Dysmorphia’, a new phenomenon in plastic surgery, is making young people view themselves differently due to the face altering filters the app offers.
For those unfamiliar with the filters, they smooth out features, make eyes and lips bigger and faces slimmer. The filters give the face an almost perfect image of oneself, apparently causing users to forget what they actually look like.
According to The New York Post, Dr. Matthew Schulman, a board-certified plastic surgeon, coined the term. Dr. Schulman says that patients are using their filtered images on Snapchat as references for the procedures they want.
“Everybody basically is using a filter on their own and they’re either taking that next step to bring it to me saying, ‘Hey, this is what I want to look like,’ said Dr. Schulman. He does note that not everybody does that, but almost everybody does have that idealistic view of what they want to look like.
Many patients want their skin to mirror the flawless filters; erasing dark spots, redness, and wrinkles. While others want their lips to look fuller or their eyes to appear larger and are asking for fillers.
Dr. Schulman does say that he prefers people to bring him filtered images of themselves for inspiration, rather than of celebrities. “I think it’s a little bit more realistic than somebody coming in and bringing a picture of Angelina Jolie and saying, I want to look like her.”
Fox News reports that Renee Engeln, a psychology professor at Northwestern University, believes these filters are altering people’s perception in a very negative way.
“It’s not enough [to] 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,” said Engeln.
It is not a new thing that people compare themselves to unrealistic standards of beauty. Photoshop has been a problem for many years, with some celebrities even bringing attention to the images being ridiculous. However, using Snapchat as a measuring stick for appearance is a whole new ball game.
Engeln told the Huffington Post, “You are never going to meet this culture’s beauty standard. If we all started meeting the standard, the standard would just be changed.”
While this is a new trend, other plastic surgeons don’t believe it should be a primary worry. Dr. Michelle Yagoda who is a facial plastic surgeon said, ” I think this is a real problem, but I doubt that it’s going to be significantly affecting more people than regular body dysmorphic disorder does.”
As it stands, ‘Snapchat Dysmorphia’ is a growing dilemma. More and more people are preferring their filtered selves over their real selves. This is causing young people to hate themselves and what they look like. To that, this writer says, everybody should love themselves as they are! And, if improving one’s appearance is the goal, go for it and be happy! However, make sure the filtered images being used as inspiration aren’t the pictures with dog ears or alien faces!