American plastic surgeons are faced with a worrying trend: more and more patients are asking to be operated on so that their face will resemble their filtered Snapchat or Instagram selfie. Plump lips, disproportionately large eyes, longer lashes, more prominent cheekbones, a thinner nose... the filters used by these apps are supposed to make the user’s face look more attractive. But some are made insecure about their actual appearance and wish to look like their virtual alter-ego in real life.
Three American doctors wanted to warn about this new trend, which they called ‘Snapchat dysmorphia,’ in an article which appeared on 2nd August in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Dysmorphia is a psychological disorder which leads to an excessive preoccupation with facial features, whether real or imagined. As the name suggests, this Snapchat dysmorphia is a disorder which leads the patient to like only their virtual, filtered appearance, and therefore to be insecure about their real face.
'An unattainable look'
According to the authors of the article, which include dermatologist Neelam A Vashi, a growing number of Americans consult plastic surgeons so they can look like their virtual twin.
‘In the past, patients came to consultations with photos of the celebrities that they wanted to resemble. A new phenomenon (...) has seen patients seeking out surgery to help them appear like the filtered versions of themselves,’ the specialist explains in the American journal. ‘This is an alarming trend because those filtered selfies often present an unattainable look and are blurring the line of reality and fantasy for these patients.’
The specialist called on plastic surgeons to refuse to operate on patients who make such requests.