Photoshopped magazine faces of celebrities have long been the inspiration for patients seeking out plastic surgery, but now one New York surgeon says patients are now asking to look like the Snapchat-filtered version of themselves. In an interview with the Huffington Post, Dr. Matthew Shulman said that while patients have always often brought in images, they are now using Snapchat filters as examples of how they want their skin, eyes or lips to look.
Several Snapchat filters, like that crown of flowers, will smooth out skin while many will also make the eyes look larger and the lips fuller. Those changes are all procedures that were available before Snapchat, the board-certified plastic surgeon says, like lip fillers and eyelid surgeries.
Plastic surgeon Dr. Michelle Yagoda, who also works in New York, says she’s seen an influence from social media as well. This is occurring in a less obvious way, since patients aren’t coming into her office with actual Snapchat filters as their inspiration. Yagoda says that the social inspiration, however, is making those images widely available — not altering the beauty standards themselves. The changes that she believes have been influenced by social media are common requests like smoother skin.
Shulman certainly isn’t against Snapchat — the surgeon himself was in the news last year for sharing his surgeries on Snapchat, where he averaged over a million views per day. Shulman says he actually prefers patients bringing in a Snapchat filtered image. Achieving a look that’s a doctored version of a selfie is often more realistic than trying to look like someone else entirely, especially when using a photo of a celebrity as a starting point.
Shulman isn’t alone in seeing patients bringing in images edited on social media apps — a cosmetic surgeon in the U.K. echoed similar sentiments earlier this month. In some cases, the doctor recognized body dysmorphic disorder and referred the patients instead to a counselor. Last year, a cosmetic surgeon told Cosmo that the 18-24 year age group was most often citing “wanting to look good in pictures” as the reason behind the surgery.
The trend factors into an ongoing discussion on how the selfie culture — and the ability to Photoshop ourselves at the press of a button — affects self-esteem and body image.