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Is Snapchat Helping the Plastic Surgery Industry?


Of all the different factors that are pushing plastic surgery forward both here in the United States and abroad, it’s hard to believe that something as simple as Snapchat – a social media outlet used primarily by younger people – is one of the leading factors. There’s evidence to suggest that Snapchat truly is driving more people into their plastic surgeons’ offices, and it may not be for the reasons you think.

A Recent Publication

Susruthi Rajanala published an article in the Journal of American Facial Plastic Surgery recently that highlights the ways in which Snapchat is affecting the industry as a whole. While people often seek plastic surgery to boost their own self-confidence and to help slow or reverse the signs of aging – and others seek it out to correct damages caused by injuries – there’s a growing portion of the population who are turning to facial surgery in particular for a startling reason. They want to look better on social media, both in photos with friends and family and in their selfies.

Where Does Snapchat Come into Play?

Snapchat is not the number one reason why people want plastic surgery, but the evidence clearly shows that it’s driving the industry forward. You’ve probably seen the filters all over your own social media; the cute deer nose or the floppy puppy years are adorable, but not realistic. Snapchat also offers other filters that can make wrinkles vanish, brighten skin, and hide blemishes – and this is one of the reasons why it may be causing people to turn to plastic surgery more often than ever before. In fact, there’s even a term to describe what happens when people get used to looking at filtered photos of themselves, and it’s called “Snapchat Dysmorphia.”

Should Surgeons Concede?

With this information in mind, it’s only natural that people would want someone to “blame” for the increases in plastic surgeries that may result from the use of Snapchat. Snapchat likely did not foresee an influx of patients demanding plastic surgeries to make them look more like their filtered selves, so much of the responsibility falls on the surgeons themselves to determine whether patients should or should not have said surgeries. Almost 70% of plastic surgeons admit to turning down patients when such surgeries aren’t viewed as necessary, and many people hope this trend continues as Snapchat dysmorphia spreads among the population.

Using Filters Appropriately

It’s important to keep in mind that filters are exactly that – a lens via which you can view a photo of yourself or someone else. Fortunately, social media encourages men and women alike to forego the filter (and sometimes even makeup) and share all-natural photos of themselves with the #nofilter hashtag. Ideally, one should not compare his or her appearance with others and should instead embrace the flaws and anomalies that make him or her different, and that’s what this tag suggests. Otherwise, there’s nothing at all wrong with using filters for social media photos as long as you remember that filters do not equal reality for you or for anyone else.

Snapchat may be putting more people into plastic surgeons’ offices than ever before, but the truth is that most plastic surgeons would never give someone Botox or perform a facelift on a patient who clearly doesn’t need such a procedure. For others, though, social media may be the first step in improving their self-esteem through such procedures. Understanding the difference and knowing when surgery or injections are beneficial is the real key.

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