What you need to know about Snapchat Dysmorphia

Social media is great for a variety or reasons. It allows us to connect with friends and brands from a distance, and in a lot of ways, serves as a digital scrapbook to our lives. But there are some serious downsides and Snapchat Dysmorphia is the latest concerning trend in plastic surgery.

What is Snapchat Dysmorphia?

You know when the camera opens up on you phone and it’s facing you but you’re not prepared? I don’t know about you, but it’s not a pretty view. I don’t really have a double chin in real life but I sure do when that camera opens! But by angling the camera right and applying almost any filter, you’re instantly a new woman (or man).

Many of these filters open up your eyes, give you glowing skin, and just make you look “prettier”, even if you have puppy ears going on as well. But let’s be honest, it isn’t real!

Snapchat Dysmorphia is a condition in which people become obsessed with achieving an idealized version of themselves through the use of social media filters. This condition can lead to negative body image issues and even dangerous requests for cosmetic surgery. It is important to seek professional help if you or someone you know is struggling with this condition. There are effective therapeutic modalities such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), group therapy, and family therapy that have been proven effective in treating body dysmorphia and Snapchat dysmorphia.

Teenagers are becoming more obsessed with the filtered images they are seeing day in and day out on social media platforms, such as Snapchat and Instagram. While they know these are filters, at the end of the day that’s what they want to look like in real life, minus the puppy ears.

Surgeons are giving this a name…’Snapchat Dyspmorphia’. Dr. Matthew Schculman tells The Sun:

“Everybody basically is using a filter on their own and they’re either taking that next step to bring it to me saying, ‘Hey, this is what I want to look like’.

“Not everyone is going that far, but in their head, that’s what they want to look like and then they’re coming to me and saying I want smoother skin, I want my eyes to be opened up, I want my lips to be fuller.

People are losing perspective on what it’s like to look normal. Not only are we comparing ourselves to models, but every day people on social media.

Here at Utah Facial Plastics, we are all about being the best version of yourself and if there’s an area on the face that makes you self-conscious or you’d like to enhance, we’re here to help. But with realistic expectations! Do not get caught up in what you see online. We see many beauty social media influencers in our office and while they are beautiful, they often come in with no makeup and do not look like they do in their photos and filtered stories.

Dr. Henstrom recently had a patient in with the following review, which is his favorite review of all time.

A Consultation for Snapchat Dysmorphia Review – Not Your Average Success Story

“I already posted this review under Utah Facial Plastics, but I want to post it here, too. Dr. Henstrom is an extraordinarily good doctor (and human being). I’ve been dealing with some severe body dysmorphia recently. I thought I had a pretty face a few years ago, but then I got into a bad relationship, and I also started spending a copious amount of time on social media. My ex compared me to one of his exes, and I compared myself to the seemingly perfect women I saw online.

As time went on, I started to hate the way my face looked. I ended up spending countless hours researching plastic surgery. Yesterday, I bit the bullet and spoke to Dr. Henstrom. I sat down with him and explained my concerns, and when I was done speaking, he basically said, “You look great. I wouldn’t do anything to your face.” He said that he sees a lot of beautiful people every day, and he didn’t think there was anything wrong with me. I almost burst into tears in the chair.

My biggest insecurity is my square face shape, and Dr. Henstrom explained why I shouldn’t feel bad about it. He said that certain face shapes go in and out of style, and mine would come back into style soon. Then we spent some time talking about the negative influence of social media and unhealthy relationships. My consultation ended up being more of a therapy session than anything. I actually did cry when I left the office.

I’ve been carrying around the burden of feeling ugly for years, and I thought I would have to spend thousands of dollars to be attractive. Now I know better. I have the objective opinion of an expert in facial beauty. It’s crazy–I went to a “medical spa” once, and they said whatever they had to say to get me to buy things. Dr. Henstrom didn’t. He sacrificed a lot of money to give me the best experience possible, and I’m incredibly, incredibly grateful. I’m going to post positive reviews for this surgeon on every website possible”

Understanding Snapchat Dysmorphia

In today’s digital age, it is increasingly common for individuals to use various filters on social media platforms to enhance their appearance in photos. However, this pervasive desire for perfection has given rise to a new phenomenon known as Snapchat dysmorphia. This term refers to the condition where individuals become dissatisfied with their real-life appearance because they have grown accustomed to the filtered and idealized version of themselves displayed on apps like Snapchat and Instagram.

The use of filters on social media platforms allows users to alter their facial features, making their skin smoother, noses smaller, eyes bigger, and so on. Over time, regular exposure to these modified self-images can lead individuals to develop unrealistic expectations about their own appearance. They may start noticing flaws or imperfections that were previously overlooked, leading to dissatisfaction with their natural selves.

The impact of Snapchat dysmorphia extends beyond mere dissatisfaction with one’s looks. It can significantly affect an individual’s self-esteem and mental health. Constant exposure to digitally enhanced images creates a distorted perception of beauty and sets unrealistic standards that are impossible for most people to meet naturally. As a result, individuals may feel pressure to achieve an unattainable level of physical perfection, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt.

For instance, consider Sarah, a 21-year-old college student heavily engaged in social media. Sarah uses filters frequently when posting pictures online and has become dependent on them to feel confident about her appearance. However, when she takes a selfie without using any filters, she becomes critical of her natural features and feels that she falls short of societal beauty standards. This constant comparison between her real self and the filtered version shown on social media consistently undermines Sarah’s self-esteem and impacts her overall mental well-being.

The use of filters on social media platforms can lead individuals to develop unrealistic expectations about their appearance, leading to dissatisfaction with their natural selves and a distorted perception of beauty. This phenomenon, known as Snapchat dysmorphia, can significantly impact an individual’s self-esteem and mental health by setting unattainable standards of physical perfection that are impossible for most people to meet naturally. It is important to recognize the potential negative effects of digitally enhanced images on self-perception and take steps towards promoting body positivity and self-acceptance.

Causes and Effects on Individuals

The causation of Snapchat dysmorphia stems from the combination of widespread social media use, the constant exposure to idealized images, and the innate human desire for validation and acceptance. The pervasive presence of social media platforms like Snapchat, primarily used by young people between the ages of 13 and 24, has created an environment where appearance is heavily emphasized and measured in terms of likes and comments received.

As individuals constantly compare themselves to others’ filtered images online, it can lead to a negative body image. They begin to believe that their natural appearance is inadequate or flawed in comparison to the flawless images they view daily. This dissatisfaction with one’s physical attributes can contribute to low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and even the development of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD).

The effects of Snapchat dysmorphia are not limited to emotional well-being alone but can also have broader impacts on an individual’s mental health. It can result in an obsessive preoccupation with one’s appearance as individuals strive relentlessly for perfection. This excessive focus on physical flaws can disrupt daily life activities, strain relationships, and contribute to feelings of isolation.

To comprehend the profound effects of Snapchat dysmorphia on individuals’ lives, imagine looking at yourself through a distorted mirror every day. Eventually, you begin to see perceived flaws that others don’t notice, leading to a constant struggle to conform to an unattainable standard of beauty.

Now that we have explored the causes and effects of Snapchat dysmorphia on individuals, it is crucial to understand the role played by social media platforms in propagating this damaging phenomenon.

The Role of Social Media in Propagating Snapchat Dysmorphia

Social media platforms like Snapchat and Instagram have become powerful tools for self-expression and communication, especially among young people. While these platforms offer various features to enhance and customize our images, they also play a significant role in propagating a phenomenon known as Snapchat dysmorphia. This term refers to the psychological condition where individuals seek plastic surgery or other cosmetic procedures to resemble the idealized versions of themselves created through selfie filters.

Imagine scrolling through your social media feed and seeing countless flawless faces and perfect bodies. It’s easy to understand how this constant exposure can lead to feelings of inadequacy and prompt unrealistic expectations about one’s own appearance.

The popularity of these platforms cannot be underestimated, particularly among teenagers and young adults.

The culture of comparison prevalent on these platforms exacerbates Snapchat dysmorphia. Users may strive to emulate the filtered images they see on their screens, even though these representations are often heavily edited and modified versions of reality. This constant exposure feeds into a distorted perception of beauty and creates an unattainable standard that many feel compelled to meet.

The Contrast between Filtered Images and Reality

One of the significant dangers of Snapchat dysmorphia lies in the stark contrast between filtered images and reality. When individuals become accustomed to seeing their faces artificially enhanced by filters, their unfiltered appearance may start appearing less desirable or inadequate in comparison.

For instance, someone who primarily uses filters that smooth out their complexion or slim down their facial features might feel a sense of disappointment when looking at their bare face without those enhancements. They may notice perceived flaws that they never paid attention to before, leading to a negative impact on their self-esteem.

This stark contrast can create a vicious cycle, as individuals become reliant on filters to achieve a version of themselves that they find acceptable. Hence, stopping the use of filters can be an essential step in reclaiming a healthier perspective on one’s appearance and promoting improved self-esteem.

Understanding the contrast between filtered images and reality is crucial in recognizing how it contributes to the development and perpetuation of Snapchat dysmorphia. In the following section, we will explore the consequences this phenomenon has on self-esteem and mental health.

Consequences of Snapchat Dysmorphia on Self-Esteem and Mental Health

The rise of social media platforms like Snapchat and Instagram has led to a concerning phenomenon called Snapchat dysmorphia. This term refers to the growing trend of young individuals seeking plastic surgery to resemble the filtered and idealized versions of themselves they create using selfie filters. The consequences of this dysmorphia extend far beyond physical appearance, impacting self-esteem and mental health in profound ways.

Teens with Snapchat dysmorphia often experience a disconnection between their real appearance and the filtered images they share with the world. They start comparing their unfiltered selves to their digitally altered counterparts, leading to feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt, and negative body image. This constant exposure to filtered images can distort their perception of beauty and fuel unrealistic beauty standards.

Research has shown a clear link between negative body image and social media use. Regular exposure to carefully curated and edited images on these platforms can lead to body dissatisfaction, stress, and low self-esteem. Adolescents become trapped in a cycle of seeking validation through likes, comments, and external approval based on their physical appearance. When their real selves don’t match up to the filtered versions they present online, feelings of shame, disappointment, and self-criticism intensify.

Furthermore, Snapchat dysmorphia can exacerbate existing mental health issues or even give rise to new ones. Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), characterized by a distorted body image and preoccupation with perceived flaws, often co-occurs with conditions like depression and anxiety. Affected individuals become consumed by obsessive thoughts about their appearance, engage in behaviors such as excessive grooming or skin picking, and constantly seek reassurance from others regarding their looks.

Imagine a teenager who spends hours each day editing their selfies to perfection before sharing them online. They receive compliments from friends and strangers alike, feeding into their desire for validation. However, behind closed doors, they constantly scrutinize their unfiltered reflection in the mirror, hating every perceived flaw and feeling immense pressure to maintain their online persona. Over time, this internal conflict takes a toll on their mental health as they develop anxiety, depression, and even social anxiety due to fear of rejection based on their true appearance.

The consequences of Snapchat dysmorphia on self-esteem and mental health cannot be understated. It’s essential to address this issue promptly and take preventative measures to protect vulnerable individuals from its harmful effects.

Prevention and Therapeutic Measures for Snapchat Dysmorphia

Preventing and addressing Snapchat dysmorphia requires a multi-faceted approach that targets both individual behaviors and societal influences. Here are some effective prevention strategies and therapeutic measures:

  1. Education and Awareness: Raising awareness about the potential dangers of excessive social media use, including the impact of filtered images on self-esteem, is crucial. Educational programs in schools, workshops, and public health campaigns can provide information and resources to empower individuals to make informed choices regarding their social media consumption.
  2. Promoting Digital Literacy: Teaching young people about digital literacy skills can help them critically analyze the images they encounter online. By understanding how filters work and acknowledging the unrealistic nature of many edited selfies, individuals can develop a more balanced perspective on beauty standards.
  3. Building Resilience: Developing resilience and a strong sense of self-worth can buffer against the negative effects of filtered images on self-esteem. Encouraging activities that foster confidence, such as participating in sports or creative pursuits, engaging in supportive friendships, and emphasizing personal achievements unrelated to appearance can contribute to building a resilient mindset.
  4. Professional Psychological Support: For individuals already struggling with Snapchat dysmorphia or related mental health issues, seeking professional help is crucial. Therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) have shown promise in treating body image concerns and addressing the underlying psychological factors associated with Snapchat dysmorphia.
  5. Reducing Social Media Usage: Encouraging individuals to set boundaries around their social media use can be beneficial. Taking regular breaks from platforms, limiting screen time, and unfollowing accounts that promote unrealistic beauty ideals can help reduce exposure to triggering content and mitigate the negative impact on self-esteem.

By implementing these preventive measures and therapeutic interventions, we can foster a healthier relationship with social media and promote positive self-perception while combating the dangerous effects of Snapchat dysmorphia.

Proven Therapies and Coping Strategies for Snapchat Dysmorphia

Dealing with the negative effects of Snapchat dysmorphia on self-esteem and mental health can be challenging. However, there are proven therapies and coping strategies that can help individuals regain confidence and improve their overall well-being.

One such therapy is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which focuses on identifying and challenging negative thought patterns related to body image. Through CBT, individuals learn to reframe their perception of themselves, replacing distorted beliefs with more realistic ones. This therapy also helps develop healthier coping mechanisms and provides tools for managing anxiety and depression associated with Snapchat dysmorphia.

For instance, a young woman struggling with body dysmorphia due to incessant comparison with filtered images on social media might work with a therapist using CBT techniques. Together, they would identify the underlying thought patterns contributing to her distress, challenge unrealistic beliefs about her appearance, and develop strategies to redirect her focus towards more positive aspects of herself.

Another effective therapeutic approach is Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), which specifically targets the anxieties that arise from fearing judgment or ridicule due to one’s perceived flaws. ERP gradually exposes individuals to situations they find distressing, such as having unfiltered photos taken or posting unedited pictures online. Under the guidance of a therapist, they practice resisting the urge to seek reassurance or engage in rituals that feed into their dysmorphic thoughts. Over time, this process helps reduce anxiety levels and empowers individuals to face real-life scenarios without relying on filters or editing apps.

In some cases, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) can be beneficial for those grappling with Snapchat dysmorphia. ACT encourages individuals to accept their body as it is while focusing on values and goals that go beyond physical appearance. By shifting the focus from external validation to internal satisfaction, individuals can build resilience against the pressures of social media and foster a positive relationship with themselves.

Beyond professional therapeutic modalities, there are also coping strategies individuals can employ to manage Snapchat dysmorphia and its impact on self-esteem.

Engaging in self-care activities that promote self-acceptance and body positivity can be immensely helpful. This may involve practicing mindfulness techniques, engaging in regular physical exercise that emphasizes overall health rather than appearance, and surrounding oneself with supportive individuals who value inner qualities over external beauty.

Moreover, seeking support through group therapy or online communities specifically focused on body image issues can provide individuals with a sense of belonging and understanding. Sharing experiences with others who have similar struggles helps reduce feelings of isolation and provides an opportunity for learning from different coping strategies.

It is important to note that these therapies and coping strategies are not quick fixes, but rather ongoing efforts towards developing a healthier relationship with one’s body and self. It requires dedication, commitment, and patience on the individual’s part, as well as support from qualified professionals.

While Snapchat dysmorphia may have detrimental effects on self-esteem and mental health, there is hope for those affected. Proven therapies such as CBT, ERP, and ACT, along with personal coping strategies and support systems, can pave the way towards healing and rediscovering one’s true beauty beyond the virtual world of filters and distortions.

Here at Utah Facial Plastics, we are all about being the best version of yourself and if there’s an area on the face that makes you self-conscious or you’d like to enhance, we’re here to help. But with realistic expectations!

Related Resources


Let us help you reach your aesthetic goals today!

Contact us, UFP Aesthetics at 801-776-2220 to schedule an appointment at our Draper or Layton locations.
Follow us on Instagram and Facebook @utahfacialplastics.

Get Started

What happens in a consultation?

  1. Get to know your team.

  2. Help us understand you and your goals.

  3. Learn about our services and specialties.

How May We Help?

"*" indicates required fields

SMS Agreement
* All indicated fields must be completed.
Please include non-medical questions and correspondence only.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Accessibility Toolbar

Scroll to Top