Snap, edit, post: Why self­ies may be bad for your health

The Borneo Post - Nature and health - - Front Page -

A new phe­nom­e­non called ‘Snapchat dys­mor­phia’ has popped up, where pa­tients are seek­ing out surgery to help them ap­pear like the fil­tered ver­sions of them­selves.

PHOTO- edit­ing tools that make peo­ple look more per­fect on­line than in real life may be a health threat, med­i­cal ex­perts warn. The tidal wave of al­tered pho­tos on so­cial me­dia is chang­ing per­cep­tions of beauty. And that can trig­ger a pre­oc­cu­pa­tion with ap­pear­ance that leads to risky ef­forts to hide per­ceived flaws, re­searchers sug­gest. Those ef­forts in­clude be­hav­iours like skin al­ter­ing and even plas­tic surgery.

This con­di­tion – called body dys­mor­phic dis­or­der – af­fects about two per cent of peo­ple, re­search shows. Stud­ies have found that teen girls who al­ter their so­cial me­dia pho­tos tend to be more con­cerned with their body ap­pear­ance, and those with dys­mor­phic body im­age use so­cial me­dia for val­i­da­tion, ac­cord­ing to the au­thors of a re­port pub­lished in JAMA Fa­cial Plas­tic Surgery.

Other stud­ies have found that 55 per cent of plas­tic sur­geons have seen pa­tients who want to look bet­ter in self­ies. “A new phe­nom­e­non called ‘Snapchat dys­mor­phia’ has popped up, where pa­tients are seek­ing out surgery to help them ap­pear like the fil­tered ver­sions of them­selves,” said the new re­port’s co-au­thor, Dr Nee­lam Vashi. She’s direc­tor of the Eth­nic Skin Cen­tre at Bos­ton Med­i­cal Cen­ter and Bos­ton Univer­sity School of Medicine.

The au­thors of the re­port warn that surgery may worsen, not im­prove, body dys­mor­phic dis­or­der in such pa­tients. Men­tal health treat­ment is a bet­ter remedy, they ad­vised. “Fil­tered self­ies can make peo­ple lose touch with re­al­ity, cre­at­ing the ex­pec­ta­tion that we are sup­posed to look per­fectly primped all the time,” Vashi said in a med­i­cal cen­tre news re­lease.

“This can be es­pe­cially harm­ful for teens and those with body dys­mor­phic dis­or­der, and it is im­por­tant for providers to un­der­stand the im­pli­ca­tions of so­cial me­dia on body im­age to bet­ter treat and coun­sel our pa­tients,” she said.

*All ma­te­ri­als are only for your in­for­ma­tion, and should not be con­strued as med­i­cal ad­vice. Where nec­es­sary, ap­pro­pri­ate pro­fes­sion­als should be con­sulted

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