Plastic surgeons are warning of a new phenomenon called Snapchat Dysmorphia. It refers to people who are so fond of selfies that they want to look like improved versions of themselves through photographic filters in this app.
This is an alarming trend for plastic surgeons around the world. In the United States, 55% of them say they saw patients who want to improve their physical appearance to improve their selfies through surgery in 2017, compared to 42% in 2015.
“Patients used to come to the clinic with images of celebrities they wanted to look like,” explained the professionals at JAMA’s Facial Plastic Surgery magazine, “Now we’re facing a new phenomenon called Snapchat dysmorphia. It refers to patients who want to look like filtered versions of themselves, with fuller lips, bigger eyes or a thinner nose,” they continued.
Many applications (Facetune, Meitu) offer the possibility to correct possible facial problems before the photo is published on a social network (Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat…etc.). These apps allow you to whiten your teeth, remove redness and pimples from your skin or even perfect your tan. This trend makes more and more people suffer from dysmorphophobia, which they want to treat with cosmetic surgery.
“When confronted with the mirror, a brutal return to reality takes place that reinforces the existing complex. Nasal surgery, eye enlargement, refinement of the jaws, lips, chin and skin appearance are very sought-afterprocedures”, says French plastic surgeon Sydney Ohana, author of the book Histoire de la chirurgie esthétique, de l’antiquité à nos jours (History of cosmetic surgery from antiquity to the present day), in Paris Match.
For the psychiatrists who write the successive DSMs (the American psychiatric classifications), dysmorphophobia is a psychological disorder characterized by excessive worry or an obsession with a defect in appearance, even a very slight imperfection (weight problem, large nose, wrinkles, acne, scars).
“There are many women who want the head of a cat or a small tiger with drawn eyes and a triangular or round face, like in the Snapchat filters,” says Dr. Nader Saad, a plastic surgeon in Lebanon, Dubai and Geneva, at Paris Match. “The demand for plastic surgery because of selfies is huge, it really plays into the addiction of cosmetic surgery, now we have to be much more attentive to the mental health of the patients before operating,” he adds.
According to figures from the International Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS), 10,417,370 plastic and aesthetic surgeries were performed worldwide in 2016, 8% more than in 2015.