Is 'Snapchat Dysmorphia' Driving Young People To Get Plastic Surgery?
Teens are apparently getting surgery to look like digital filters.
If you ask us, the day Snapchat released the filters we've all come to know and love was a blessed one, to say the least.
Not just because they're loads of fun (remember the one that puked rainbow vomit?!), but also because they definitely add more than a little pizzaz to the way our snaps look.
But the whole point is that filters are supposed to make you look different to reality, so it's a little wild that people are apparently getting surgery to look like them IRL as a result of a mental illness scientists are calling "Snapchat dysmorphia."
Snapchat filters, which are a fave amongst the likes of Ariana Grande, Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, aren't just to blame either and it applies to any app that can give you a little digital enhancement.
Obviously, no surgeon in their right mind is going to give you dog ears and a permanent flower crown (well, you'd hope), but it looks like it's the smooth skin, killer cheekbones and large eyes people are longing for.
In fact, according to a study published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery Viewpoint, patients are actually bringing in filtered images of themselves as opposed to celebrities or real people, with many requesting contoured cheekbones, a slimmer look and straightened/reduced noses.
Dr Neelam Vashi, director of the Boston University Cosmetic and Laser Centre, told The Independent: “A new phenomenon called ‘Snapchat dysmorphia’ has popped up, where patients are seeking out surgery to help them appear like the filtered versions of themselves.”
'Snapchat Disorder' is actually a form of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD).
BDD, is on the obsessive-compulsive spectrum and is defined by the NHS as "a mental health condition where a person spends a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance."
It affects men and women and is most common in young people and teens, in fact, it affects one in 50 people but this stat is growing as people are increasingly influenced by what they see online.
Cosmetic surgeon Tijion Esho, who actually coined the term 'Snapchat Disorder', says he will turn people away if they seem overly obsessed with looking like a filter.
He said: "We now see photos of ourselves daily via the social platforms we use, which arguably makes us more critical of ourselves. Patients using pictures of celebrities or Snapchat-filtered versions of themselves as reference points is okay.
"The danger is when this is not just a reference point, but it becomes how the patient sees themselves, or the patient wants to look exactly like that image," he added.
It's worth noting that Snapchat isn't entirely to blame, with apps from Instagram to Facetune allowing us to digitally alter the way we look.
Of course, we're not going to sit here and say everyone should immediately ditch the filters, but the gentle reminder that they are pretty far from reality is important.
If you think you might be suffering with a form of BDD, or just need to talk about it, then you can contact MIND at mind.org.uk or call them on 0300 123 3393.