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BEWARE OF PHOTO FILTERS: “Selfie-itis”

August 15th, 2018

Selfie Filters example

BEWARE OF PHOTO FILTERS: “Selfie-itis”

Do you use photo filters on social media like Instagram or Snapchat? There is new data suggesting that the extreme use of glamor filters on social media might cause BDD or Body Dysmorphic Disorder. According to the Mayo Clinic, BDD is described as intensely obsessing over your appearance and body image, repeatedly checking the mirror, grooming or seeking reassurance, sometimes for many hours each day. So when a person gets used to seeing themselves in Selfies that are not accurately representative of how they really look, dissatisfaction of personal appearance might start to take hold. In the past, expensive photo altering programs used to be available only to Hollywood stars, to create clear skin, flawless hair, and slenderized body parts. Retouched photos filled glossy pages of popular magazines. Now in this hyper digital age, social media users are turning to relatively inexpensive custom filters to look perfect, like the one above. Plastic Surgeons, including myself, are seeing more patients not happy with their online photos. It is important to know the warning signs when a fun hobby becomes an unhealthy obsession. When BDD leads to obsession and the inability to function adequately in your daily life, causing significant distress, there may be a problem. Perhaps it is time to consult with a mental heath professional, not a cosmetic surgeon. Physicians, as well, need to be aware of what I call Selfie-itis.

Screenshot above- RetouchMe: Body & Face Edition, Beauty app for Perfect Selfie

by Alexander Lozitsky

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Cosmetic Surgery Too Much of a Good Thing?

November 26th, 2012

When is cosmetic surgery too much of a good thing? I filmed a segment for the local Fox News Affiliate here in Minneapolis, hosted by Medical Correspondent, Dr. Archelle Georgiou.  They filmed part of the segment while I was performing a lower blephaorplasty or lower eyelid surgery.  My patient did have some other plastic surgery  in the past and while gathering routine background information, Dr. Georgiou inquired whether I felt that the patient was perhaps choosing cosmetic surgery too often.  In other words, did I think the patient suffered from a possible cosmetic surgery addiction?  As with all my patients, I am careful to evaluate a patient’s motivations for surgery and attempt to uncover any unhealthy desires for seeking cosmetic surgery.  In this case, I feel confident that my patient had legitimate concerns regarding the unsightly bags under her eyes and that she was an excellent candidate for eyelid surgery.   She expressed realistic expectations from the surgery and in my opinion; she is certainly not a cosmetic surgery addict.

However, while we are on the topic, let me elaborate. There are several characteristics that are common among cosmetic surgery addicts and for the most part, they are not dissimilar to other addictions.  Patients that have Body Dysmorphic Disorder are likely to seek cosmetic surgery to correct “perceived” physical flaws.   This disorder has significant psychological components and it is unlikely that any amount of cosmetic surgery will correct feelings of having physical deformity that may not exist.  This disorder leads some patients to have excessive cosmetic surgery.    As a physician, I feel a professional and moral obligation  to refer patients that exhibit these difficulties to the proper psychological care when it is appropriate.  

Without a doubt there are patients who do suffer from this problem.  The pop culture media machine is quick to point out the cosmetic surgery obsessions of Michael Jackson, New York’s “Cat Woman” and Joan Rivers, to name just a few.  

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