Face filters are an emerging issue fabricated by social media that is affecting people’s lives by changing their perspective of themselves and inspiring them to appear as someone they are not.
Face filter dysmorphia is a concern that has been developing over the years as technology has grown. According to the “Mayo Clinic,” body dysmorphic disorder is a mental health disorder in which you can’t stop thinking about one or more perceived defects or flaws in your appearance.
With the rise of the biggest social media platforms like Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram, the younger generation are dealing with more dysmorphia because their lives revolve around these social media platforms.
Being on these platforms for long periods of time is not healthy, especially when these platforms can distort your reality and can give you differentiating perspectives of how you look, which is what face filters are doing to people worldwide.
Dr. Keith Ladner, a plastic surgeon concerned with filter dysmorphia said in an article, “While there’s no crime in wanting to improve or enhance your appearance, you need to have realistic expectations. More frequently than not, these filters give people a warped sense of their appearance, often leading them to see imperfections that don’t exist. This can bring them to a plastic surgeon’s office wanting to achieve the image they’ve created.”
Face filters can cause harm for those who feel strongly affected by the result of changing their appearance on an app. Some people are more insecure than others and applying filters to their faces or bodies might improve their self esteem.
But becoming too reliant on filters to boost self esteem, and in extreme cases realizing there are professionals who can make those filters become a reality, is when face filters become an issue.
This definitely has a bigger impact minors, who are more susceptible to insecurities, but this also depends on how mentally strong that minor is. If they realize face filters are not real and that no one looks exactly how they appear online, then they may not be as affected.
Most kids can’t hide from social media platforms and the stress they bring. In an article, Emily Cavanagh explained why she believes Facetune, an app created to edit photos, can contribute to teen’s low self-esteem.
She writes about a condition called “Snapchat Dysmorphia,” which is when people obsess over their appearance and can develop unrealistic beauty standards based on how they’re able to edit their images with apps and filters.
Filters and apps will continue to develop and improve over time. It is inevitable that more apps and filters will be used by teens who aren’t happy with their image. Sadly, these apps or filters might be the only source than can boost their self-esteem.
Through my experience, I definitely have used filters in my photos to boost my self-esteem as they can remove my flaws and imperfections. My issue with social media platforms was that I began to compare myself to men who were good looking and fit, something I believed I wasn’t.
I fixed this personal issue by removing myself from social media for several months which definitely helped. My focus steered away from those platforms, which can be time-consuming and toxic, and it helped me focus on school and my mental health.
As for those individuals currently dealing with face filter dysmorphia, the best piece of advice I can give is to put your phone down for a couple of months, focus on your mental health and workout. As cliché as it might sound, taking time for yourself and working out will amplify your self-esteem more than any face filter.