Selfies, filters may lead to body disorders

Plastic surgery helps people look like their Snapchat selfies

Plastic surgery helps people look like their Snapchat selfies

Although the dysmorphia is named after Snapchat, the condition can also be inspired by the peer-pressure photo platform of Instagram as well as the facial-flaw editing apps like Facetune.

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

According to the article, a recent study analyzed the effect of edited selfies on body dissatisfaction among adolescent girls and found that those who tweaked their photos much more using social media apps like Snapchat and Facetune, reported a higher level of concern with their bodies, and an overestimation of body shape and weight.

Their new study was published in the journal JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery on August 2.

They can lead to body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), an excessive preoccupation with a perceived flaw in appearance, often characterized by people going to great lengths to hide their imperfections, sometimes in an unhealthy manner.

People with BDD look at themselves in the mirror excessively. They also encourage clinicians to tread lightly by approaching the patient with empathy, not judgment.

This can include engaging in repetitive behaviours like skin picking, and visiting dermatologists or plastic surgeons hoping to change their appearance.

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Approximately two percent of the general population have BDD, which psychologists say is on the obsessive-compulsive spectrum.

Vashi, who is the director of the Ethnic Skin Center at BMC and Boston University School of Medicine, dubs the phenomenon as Snapchat dysmorphia as patients seek out surgery to get them looking more like the filtered versions of themselves.

A survey found 55 per cent of plastic surgeons in the United States had patients who requested surgery to improve appearance in selfies in 2017 - up from 42 per cent in 2015 and 13 per cent in 2013.

The authors referenced studies that showed teenage girls who manipulated their photographs were excessively anxious about their body appearance.

But the technology may have a damaging impact, as one of the cited studies showed how female teenagers manipulated their online photos when more concerned with their body appearance.

"Filtered selfies can make people lose touch with reality, creating the expectation that we are supposed to look perfectly primped all the time", she added, in the paper published in the journal JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery Viewpoint.

While most people can go about taking selfies without facing such problems, Vashi noted people who have symptoms of body dysmorphia may find their obsession starts to worsen. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America lists cognitive-behavioral therapy as the first choice of treatment for those who suffer from the disorder.

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