Cases of body dysmorphia rise due to photo manipulating apps such as FaceTune and Snapchat
55% of plastic surgeons have reported cases of patients wanting to change their appearance to improve their selfies, stating that the use of filters used on apps like Snapchat and FaceTune are affecting people’s self-esteem.
In a paper published in the Journal of the American Medial Association, Boston Medical Center researchers have argued that as edited images found on social media become the norm, people’s perception of beauty is being warped and consequently triggering body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).
BDD is an excessive preoccupation with a perceived flaw in appearance, which can lead to people going to great lengths to change the way they look. According to the research, surgery is not always the best solution in these cases as it may worsen underlying symptoms of the condition.
The researchers reference studies that show teenage girls who manipulated their photos were more concerned with their body appearance, and those with dysmorphic body image seek out social media as a means of validation.
"Filtered selfies can make people lose touch with reality, creating the expectation that we are supposed to look perfectly primped all the time," said Neelam Vashi director of the Ethnic Skin Center at BMC and Boston University School of Medicine.
"This can be especially harmful for teens and those with BDD, and it is important for providers to understand the implications of social media on body image to better treat and counsel our patients."
The authors recommend psychological interventions such as cognitive behavioural therapy to manage the disorder.