Science 3 min read

Snapchat Dysmorphia Drives Teens to Get Plastic Surgery

A new phenomenon is now driving teens to undergo plastic surgery procedures. Dubbed as Snapchat Dysmorphia, the disturbing trend pushes people, majority of which are teenagers, to have their facial features surgically altered to resemble their filtered images on Snapchat.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

With the growing increase in Snapchat adoption came a disturbing trend. More people started undergoing surgeries to look like the filtered version of themselves that they would share on social media.

In 2018, researchers coined a term to describe this phenomenon; they called it Snapchat dysmorphia.

According to the South China Morning Post, Snapchat Dysmorphia, together with social media, have driven teens to undergo surgery. However, since the goal is to look like a Snapchat or Instagram filter, young patients usually end up demanding a downright impossible result from their surgeons.

Social Media and Plastic Surgeries in China

About 22 million people in China underwent plastic surgery in 2018. Of this number, a whopping 54 percent was under the age of 28. Also, 8 percent of the plastic surgery clients were born after 2000.

Some of the most popular procedures among Chinese young people include Hyaluronic Acid Injections and double-eyelid operations.

Plastic surgery procedures such as double-eyelid have become so trendy in South Korea that parents often offer them as gifts to their children for their 18th birthday. As a result, about 25 percent of South Korean women have reportedly gone under the knife, says SCMP.

How does social media fit into all these, you ask?

According to Hong Kong-based psychotherapist specializing in body dysmorphia, Jamie Chiu – A LOT.

Speaking to SCMP, the psychotherapist said:

“There is no doubt that it does hurt your self-esteem to grow up in this social-media-obsessed environment, with a culture that tells you that to be noticed you need to be beautiful – and that being beautiful means looking like an Instagram model.”

Chiu further explained that almost half of all teenagers compare their bodies to the perfect images on social media. Not only does this cause unhappiness, the psychotherapist believes that it could even lead to depression.

Snapchat Dysmorphia: A Quest to Look Like Disney Royalty

Like that’s not enough, there’s now a modern phenomenon of feeling inferior to your filtered image.

Although most smartphones have some form of beautification feature, filters on Snapchat often take it to a whole other level. Whether it’s making your eyes bigger or giving you fuller lips, the app is quite capable of making its users look like Disney royalties.

In an attempt to look more like their filtered selves, more people started visiting plastic surgery clinics with their unrealistic expectations.

Speaking to SCMP, plastic surgeon Julan De Silva said:

“Some patients will come with a photograph of an edited version of themselves and ask to look like that. But so much of what they want, such as moving the position of the eyes, is impossible anywhere but on an app.”

Social media has changed the traditional concept of beauty. In so doing, it has managed to lift the stigma that was once associated with plastic surgery.

Read More: Dead Social Media Platforms: Where Are They Now?

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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