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‘Snapchat Dysmorphia’: the mental disorder that is leading thousands of people to have face surgery

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‘Snapchat Dysmorphia’: the mental disorder that is leading thousands of people to have face surgery

Living with a smartphone capable of doing almost everything in your pocket has its advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, we have answers for almost any question that comes to mind (‘How far is Barcelona and Kuala Lumpur?’: 10,560 km) but at the same time, it can also hurt us in terms of the perception we have of us same.

A few years ago, what we saw in the mirror was what it was. As much we could make an analogical photograph with good light and reveal it in black and white, that erased some imperfections, but it was very complicated that someone knew what it would look like with the bigger eyes or the more upturned nose. That was for the fashion magazines, that retouched the models to eliminate “defects” and enhance make-up.

Something that we can now achieve instantaneously, free and easier impossible with almost any photo retouching app. This dissociation of one’s face with the image we see on the screen has meant that for some time, plastic surgeons have noticed an especially popular trend among teenagers and young people. When these potential patients come to your practice, they take pictures of themselves with Snapchat filters or other apps in which their faces have been modified to point to the selfie and say: “I want this.”

A study published by ‘JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery’ in collaboration with the Cosmetic University and laser center of Boston ensures that many of these patients present something that has been christened ‘Snapchat dysmorphia ‘ and this dysmorphia leads them to want to have their face operated.

People who suffer from this disorder of their own image have an excessive obsession with the image that prevents them from having a normal life because they do not see themselves as they would like (and have also seen by their camera). This causes complexes to be created that go beyond the purely vain. It can get to alter the real perception of how the person sees himself (something similar to what some eating disorders produce) or a rejection of individual parts of the body (as sometimes happens with transgender people).

This new phenomenon called ‘Snapchat Dysmorphia’ has emerged from nowhere and it is now common for patients to seek cosmetic surgery to help them look like the versions of themselves with filters they see on their screens.

Prof. Neelam Vashi, director of the Boston Cosmetic University

The gratification they feel when uploading these images and seeing the likes they get will end up convincing them that their faces are not good enough. And with the filters we can see instantly how we would look with skin without wrinkles or “defects”, larger eyes, smaller faces (a feature considered especially attractive in women) or instant makeup even when you do not wear any.

The difference is overwhelming and between them, there are seconds of difference

The first three images are taken with Snapchat filters and the last one is the natural camera without makeup

The first three images are taken with Snapchat filters and the last one is the natural camera without makeup

This obsession leads hundreds of thousands of people to go through the scalpel and perform rhinoplasty (to change their noses), blepharoplasty (correcting the shape of their eyes), hair grafts, various fillers, maxillofacial surgeries or skin treatments of all kinds.

In many cases the surgery only makes the problem worse because it does not solve the root mental disorder, but it moves the person’s concern to another element to be corrected and so on. In these cases, the authors of the study advise that people suffering from this type of disorder of body dysmorphia (as in any other case of dysmorphia) should go to a mental health professional to help them find the root of the problem and Well, solve it more efficiently.

More than 55% of surgeons claim to have met patients who carry their selfies edited in this way for consultation, so it is a much more common problem than it might seem and, although it sounds like a joke, it is a very real disorder that The medical community is worried. What is clear is that it is not the same thing that makes you funny to see you with dog ears that hate your face unless you pass a thousand filters that modify it. Let’s leave these pictures as fun and funny, but in case of doubt, it is always best to consult with a professional.

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