A NEW REALITY OF BEAUTY FOR TODAY’S SOCIETY
Gone are the days when people would bring photos of celebrities to the plastic surgeon's office and ask for Haifa Wehbe's lips or Nancy Ajram's nose? That's not the case anymore. Now, people want to look like themselves - heavily edited or filtered versions of themselves, that is. Doctors have spotted a trend of people bringing in their own selfies, usually edited with a smartphone application, and asking to look more like their photos, according to an article recently published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery by researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine's department of dermatology. The phenomenon is known as "Snapchat dysmorphia" and it's causing widespread concern among experts who are worried about its negative effect on people's self-esteem and its potential to trigger body dysmorphic disorder, a serious mental illness classified on the obsessivecompulsive spectrum. "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 article reads. Being able to edit away any imperfections with ease has caused this surge in Snapchat dysmorphia, a term coined this year by British cosmetic doctor Tijion Esho. In the past, photo retouching was only available for celebrity photos in magazines or advertisements but now, given the accessibility of editing applications, anyone can transform their face, hair, lips and even retouch their body. On Snapchat, for example, the picture messaging application features more than 20 different filters that users can simply toggle through. Other applications, such as Facetune, take things a step further. For only $3.99, users can have access to a host of editing tools that can do everything from teeth whitening to making a person's forehead, nose or waist smaller. The application has been lauded as "a Photoshop editing job in the palm of your hand" and even called "magical." According to the annual American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery survey, selfies continue to be a major driving force behind people who wish to get plastic surgery done. In 2017, the survey found that 55 percent of surgeons reported seeing patients who requested surgery to look better in selfies - a 13 percent increase from the previous year's results.