Alarming trend among selfie fans
COSMETIC surgery patients are requesting to look like the heavily filtered selfies they post on social media in a phenomenon dubbed "Snapchat dysmorphia".
Using filters to edit selfies is changing our beauty standards and fuelling excessive preoccupation with a perceived flaw in appearance known as body dysmorphic disorder, according to new US research.
Researchers from Boston University said it was "an alarming trend" because filtered selfies often presented an unattainable look and were blurring the line of reality and fantasy for patients.
Brisbane specialist plastic surgeon and member of the Australian of Society of Plastic Surgeons Dr Dan Kennedy said surgeons around the country were seeing a "concerning" number of people coming in unhappy with how they looked at their selfies.
"We try to get people to understand that selfies are a distorted form of reality," he said.
"The cameras on the phone distort the image - it's like using a fisheye lens almost - it shows … little imperfections we all have that don't ruin our lives, but for people who become obsessive about these small issues, it can ruin their lives."
Dr Kennedy said there was no doubt that filtered images on social media could feed body dysmorphic disorder. For people suffering from the disorder, even having surgery won't improve their body image.
"They'll just obsess over another part of themselves … these patients need to be referred on for psychological treatment," he said.
Clinical psychologist and Monash University academic Dr Gemma Sharp said while body dysmorphic disorder was only prevalent in between 1 to 2 per cent of the population, it was closer to 15 per cent in those requesting surgery.
"Social media gives us another way to compare ourselves to our peers and its always a negative comparison," she said.
"There has been a shift from wanting to look like celebrities, to being our own celebrities and social media has had a huge impact on that."
Narangba model Natasha Rodway said with such advanced technology available, it was hard to tell if images had been altered.
"It's extremely common for lighting and effects to be altered in a photo. I'd say generally most people do this to their photos before posting," she said.
The 19-year-old said it was a sad fact that virtually everybody had issues with their bodies, especially models.