The August issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) discussed a trendy new problem facing American young adults: It’s called Snapchat dysmorphia, and it’s causing a lot of harm to the self-esteem of those affected.
“Snapchat dysmorphia is the feeling that a person needs to look more like their filtered photograph, like the ones on Snapchat,” says Dr. Bruce Chau, a plastic surgeon based in Berkeley, Michigan. “So those people then come to a plastic surgeon and request to look more like their selfie.”
The problem, of course, is that there very often isn’t a problem to correct – only the patient’s perception of themselves. To prove this point, journalist Katie Couric recently posted her own selfie – filter free and proud of it.
“Clearly, I’m bucking the trend,” wrote Couric. The photo of her lying in bed with a sore throat and no makeup was even called “brave” in some articles. But is taking a non-filtered selfie really that brave?
“They sort of missed the point with that, didn’t they?” asks Chau.
The good news, says Chau, is that when someone is using their own photo as a guide for a plastic surgeon, it shows they are comfortable enough with their appearance that they still want to look like themselves, only better.
“It’s not like bringing in a photo of Kim Kardashian and expecting to look the same as her,” he says. “But no matter what photo you use as a guide for surgery, it’s still important to set realistic expectations for yourself.”