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Melissa Hutsell is an award-winning freelance journalist with a deep rooted passion for both community and international journalism. She was born and raised in Northern California, and has lived, studied, worked, and traveled in more 20 different countries. Melissa holds a Master's degree in Global Journalism from City University London, as well as degrees in Journalism and Globalization from Humboldt State University. Though she covers various topics as both a writer and editor, she specializes in business and cannabis journalism.
Ten years ago, the world of plastic surgery was filled with patients who brought in photos of their favorite celebrity, hoping to look more similar to them.
But these days, people don’t want to look like celebs – they want to look like themselves… as they appear in their Snapchat filters – and they’re willing to go under the knife to do it.
Now, “People bring in photos of themselves at certain angles or with certain kinds of lighting,” said Dr. Neelam Vashi of Boston University.
Vashi describes the trend as “Snapchat Dysmorphia,” a startling new form of body dysmorphia.
Certain levels of dissatisfaction with appearances are normal. However, people prone to body dysmorphia are plagued by their insecurities. Selfie filters, or social media, can be triggers for those who suffer from the condition.
The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) reports that in 2017, 55 percent of clinicians saw patients who “wanted to look better in their selfies,” the article reports (a 13 percent increase from the year before). This is why the AAFPRS said Snapchat dysmorphia is more than a trend; it’s a cultural force that’s changing the plastic surgery industry.
Before the rise of Snapchat, Vashi said patients often sought rhinoplasties (nose jobs). Now, people want to increase their lip or eye size, symmetry, and the way the proportions of the face are organized, explained Vashi, “similar to what you might see in the butterfly filter or the flower crown filter.”
Perhaps people are trying to attain facial symmetry, which can be found in “beautifying filters.” Symmetrical faces are typically seen as more attractive, and from an evolutionary perspective, symmetry is equated with healthy genes.
While Snapchat and the like are new, those who suffer from aspects of body dysmorphia are actually “[…] in a battle with an ancient evolutionary preference that’s been exacerbated by technology to a completely unnatural degree,” the article states.