Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Tech & The Web

Plastic Surgeons Battling Snapchat Dysmorphia

If you visit a plastic surgeon determined to look like those heavily-edited, filtered selfies, you might have Snapchat Dysmorphia.

In the old days, plastic surgeons had to deal with people bringing in photos of Brad Pitt or Julia Roberts. These days, they’re dealing with patients in the grips of Snapchat Dysmorphia.

What both scenarios have in common was that people tell their surgeon they want to look more like the images in the photos.

What they don’t have in common is that celebrities show photos of real people, while the social media filtered photos show images of people who’ve been reduced to one or two steps shy of a cartoon character.

Put yourself in a plastic surgeon’s place: How’d you like a challenge like that to deal with?

“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,” according to researchers from Boston University School of Medicine’s Department of Dermatology in the medical journal JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery.

I think we all, at times, want to look like someone we’re not, whether it’s the face or the body. Years ago, during a visit to CBS Television City, I ran into Shemar Moore, who was still appearing then on The Young and the Restless. That man’s jawline made him look like a Greek statue. I thought to myself, This guy was meant to be in front of a camera!

But this is different.

You’ve seen the photo filters in question. Aside from adding doggie or kitty ears and noses, or even bouquets of flowers in one’s hair, the photo filters smooth the skin to the point of impossibility and sometimes even change the curves and shape of the face into an inhuman form.

And yet people actually want to look that way.

In some ways, I get it: these filters, with one or two taps, remove blemishes, add color to the skin, whiten teeth and zap wrinkles.

But it’s done via computer. That in itself ought to be a clue that it’s probably not going to happen in real life.

Apparently, however, it isn’t. A plastic surgeon told The Washington Post he has patients who come in demanding procedures that wipe away every blemish in a single day and in one maneuver…because that’s what they get on the smartphone.

It’s nice to dream. But maybe it’s time smartphones require an IQ test to own.

Here’s a tip: if you’re ready to go under the knife because of what a photo filter on social media turned you into, you need to take a few weeks away from social media and spend a bit more time in the real world.

The grass is always greener, and you always look 10 years younger, when a Snapchat filter is involved.

Until they make those filters as actual physical masks we can strap on over our faces, we might just have to live with what we have.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 27 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.