What Picture-Perfect Selfies May Be Doing to Our Self-Esteem


We’re living in an age of image-based social media – a time when photo-editing technology is literally a few clicks away and available to just about everyone. Apps like Instagram, Snapchat, and Facetune give editing features once available only to celebrities to the common man (or woman), and they may be changing standards of beauty. But at what price?

According to a JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery Viewpoint article, being bombarded with filtered photos and edited selfies – “perfect” pictures – of friends, family members, and strangers can make us feel inadequate in our appearance and take a toll on our self-esteem. In severe cases, it can even trigger body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) – a serious mental disorder involving an obsessive focus on a perceived flaw in appearance, which, according to the Mayo Clinic, affects more than 200,000 people each year in the United States.

Plastic surgeons first identified the trend of patients seeking cosmetic surgery to look better in selfies and on social media in the 2017 Annual American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery survey. In the past, people seeking cosmetic surgery often brought images of celebrities to consultations, but in a new phenomenon, “Snapchat dysmorphia,” more and more patients are seeking procedures to look like filtered versions of themselves with fuller lips, bigger eyes, and a thinner nose. The most-requested surgical procedures to create a selfie appearance include rhinoplasty to make the nose more symmetrical, hair transplants, and eyelid surgery.

Sourced from: JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery Viewpoint