If you’ve ever taken a selfie with a Snapchat filter and wished your face really looked like that, well, you’re not alone. But at some point, the desire to look like a baby-faced, doe-eyed filter can become harmful.
Medical professionals are increasingly concerned about the effects of what’s been dubbed “Snapchat dysmorphia,” Mashable reports. The term was officiated in the Journal of the American Medical Association, and three plastic surgeons break it down in an opinion piece called “Selfies — Living in the era of filtered photographs.”
As it turns out, more and more potential patients (teens included) are showing surgeons filtered photos of their own faces to explain what they want from the results.
“‘Snapchat dysmorphia’ has patients seeking out cosmetic surgery to look like filtered versions of themselves instead, with fuller lips, bigger eyes, or a thinner nose,” the doctors write. “This is an alarming trend because those filtered selfies often present an unattainable look and are blurring the line of reality and fantasy for these patients.”
The desire to look like a selfie filter is especially prevalent in people who have body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). Described as “an excessive preoccupation with a perceived flaw in appearance,” BDD affects about 1 in 50 people and can lead patients to want multiple plastic surgeries.
To be fair, none of this is a new phenomenon. After a surgeon named Dr. Tijion Escho coined the phrase, “Snapchat dysmorphia” popped up in articles earlier this year. And it’s still too early to make definitive conclusions blaming selfie apps for increased body dysmorphia. Nevertheless, it’s another obvious side effect of our obsessions with social media—and chances are, it will only get worse.
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