Taking the perfect selfie has been made a lot easier thanks to filters and photo editing. In seconds, you can have flawless hair, skin and makeup. It may seem like a harmless hobby, but for some, including teens and young adults, it’s become an unhealthy obsession.
“The obsession with one’s appearance as it appears on a screen has fundamentally changed the way we interact with patients and the challenges that they bring to our attention,” said Dr. Patrick Byrne of Cleveland Clinic.
Byrne specializes in facial plastic surgery and says while it can be normal for someone to be critical of their appearance, he is always on the lookout for those who could have body dysmorphic disorder. That’s when someone becomes consumed by a physical flaw and will do whatever they can to fix it, even it if means resorting to plastic surgery. He says it’s important to remember that what you see on a screen isn’t always reality. In fact, a study from 2018 showed your nose can look 30 percent bigger in a selfie.
“Even before these filters were in place, there’s this effect on many, many, many people in which they believe they look worse than they actually do and they care more because they’re subjected to their imagery literally thousands of times per year through social media platforms,” Byrne said.
Byrne says if you do find yourself or your child becoming obsessed with looks, you may want to take a break from social media. Therapy can also be helpful.