In the early 2000s, you couldn’t do much with photos other than correct red eyes with a special pen.
Smartphones now provide access to a plethora of filters and editing tools that allow you to retouch selfies and create pretty much any revision of yourself you can imagine.
Filtering your selfies isn’t always harmful. Often, it’s just a game, like dressing up or trying out a new makeup look. However, constant exposure to heavily filtered selfies can create a disconnect from reality.
Viewing only photos where people have erased their perceived flaws can make it difficult to remember that everyone has flaws.
As research increasingly links heavily filtered selfies to increased body dissatisfaction, a new term to describe this phenomenon has emerged: Snapchat dysmorphia.
To put it simply, Snapchat dysmorphia occurs when you compare filtered selfies to your actual appearance.
When you focus on your perceived flaws, feelings of dissatisfaction and unhappiness may surface, leading you to wish you could change your features to match those filtered images.
Because Snapchat dysmorphia is not a recognized mental health diagnosis, experts have yet to establish a standard definition, criteria, or symptoms.
Maybe you’ve tried filtering your selfies on apps like Snapchat and Instagram, removing pimples, brightening your hair or complexion, trimming your nose, or adding muscle definition.
This alone does not imply Snapchat dysmorphia. There’s also nothing wrong with wanting to change something about your appearance with a cosmetic procedure.
Here are a few indicators that your selfie-filtering habit should be scrutinized:
- You become obsessed with how you appear in selfies to the point where the real you no longer measure up.
- You become preoccupied with “flaws” that no one else notices, such as the shape of your brows or the size of your forehead.
- You devote a significant amount of time to taking and retaking selfies, as well as filtering and editing them to perfection.
- You frequently go back through old selfies to look for flaws or imperfections.
- Making comparisons between yourself and others causes you to be dissatisfied with your appearance.
- You desire to alter your appearance because you believe you “ought” to look a certain way.
- You frequently spend more time than you intended taking selfies or editing them.
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