Dr. Tijion Esho may be better known as the “Selfie Doctor” after defining the term “Snapchat Dysmorphia.”
Snapchat dysmorphia, a term he coined in 2018, refers to a growing trend of individuals seeking plastic surgery to resemble their filtered and edited selves on social media platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok. According to a study published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, plastic surgeons have reported an increase in patients seeking cosmetic procedures to achieve a more flattering appearance on social media.
The study found that patients who had previously undergone cosmetic procedures were more likely to request procedures to improve their appearance on social media, with filters being the most commonly cited source of inspiration. Additionally, patients were found to be seeking more specific changes, such as thinner noses and fuller lips, that mimic the effects of filters and editing tools.
Experts warn that this trend is concerning as it promotes unrealistic beauty standards and can lead to body dysmorphia and other mental health issues. “The filtered selfies often present an unattainable look and are blurring the line of reality and fantasy for these patients,” said Dr. Neelam Vashi, the lead author of the study. “It is important for plastic surgeons to understand the implications of social media on body image and self-esteem to better treat and counsel their patients.”
A recent study conducted by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) found that 55% of facial plastic surgeons reported seeing patients who requested surgery to improve their appearance in selfies. This number is up 13% from the previous year.
In addition, a survey conducted by the University of Toronto found that up to 40% of respondents had edited their selfies to look better before sharing them on social media.
Social media platforms have also taken steps to address this issue. In 2019, Instagram implemented a policy to restrict posts that promote cosmetic surgery and weight loss products to users under 18. Snapchat has also introduced a “Real Friends” feature that encourages users to connect with their closest friends and share unfiltered moments.
However, despite these efforts, the pressure to present a perfect self on social media remains strong. Experts suggest that individuals should focus on self-acceptance and seek professional help if they are struggling with body dysmorphia or other mental health issues related to social media.
The proliferation of social media has undoubtedly had an effect on how people perceive their own appearance. It’s important to remember that no one’s appearance is perfect, and that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. We must be mindful of the messages we’re sending to the younger generations and strive to promote a healthy view of self-image. However, some argue that social media does not have as large of an impact on people’s perceptions of their appearance as is commonly believed. Instead, they say that people’s pre-existing beliefs about their appearance are what influence how they see themselves after looking at pictures on social media.
- JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery.Nov 2018.443-444.http://doi.org/10.1001/jamafacial.2018.0486
Published in Volume: 20 Issue 6: November 15, 2018University of Toronto. (2018).
- How Social Media is Changing Beauty Standards. Retrieved from https://www.utoronto.ca/news/how-social-media-changing-beauty-standards