Snapchat photo filters linked to plastic surgery spike

Posted on FEB 25, 2019

Cosmetic surgery requests have reportedly spiked exponentially as Snapchat users seek to conform to their favorite social media filters created by AI technology.

The trend, labeled 'Snapchat dysmorphia', suggests some people are experiencing a disturbing distraction from reality due to social media selfie filters.

Plastic surgeons are reporting that patients are coming to them with selfies of themselves edited using the filters on Snapchat or Instagram, requesting to permanently appear as their retouched photo.
Researchers at the Boston medical center have authored an article in the journal JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, which labels the trend "Snapchat dysmorphia" and argues that filters on apps are having a disastrous impact on people's self-esteem.

Snapchat comes with a range of filters that immediately distort photos using artificial intelligence. They can make skin appear smoother, lashes look longer and bone structure appear more angular.

The report says these filters are sometimes triggering body dysmorphic disorder, a mental illness that leads to compulsive tendencies such as excessive beauty procedures, wasting hours obsessing over non-existent flaws and withdrawing from social activities.

The Guardian reports that the trend is particularly concerning to doctors because filters on Snapchat provide not just idealistic standards of beauty but entirely unhuman ones, presenting "an unattainable look and are blurring the line of reality and fantasy for these patients", according to the report.

Separately from patients specifically trying to look like their selfies, over half of plastic surgeons also report patients saying that they are seeking procedures so they can look better in selfies, according to the report.

Previously, nose jobs were the most common request. However, the authors say, people are now seeking procedures that will have effects similar to selfie filters, such as nasal and facial symmetry, rhinoplasties, hair transplants, and eyelid surgical procedures