Katie Couric Posts No-Makeup Selfie To Buck The Snapchat Dysmorphia Trend

Snapchat dysmorphia is fueling plastic surgery requests.

These days, it's near-impossible not be affected by social media trends and tools. One tool that's got people particularly excited is Snapchat filters, which enables a user to make themselves appear as a flawless, stylized version of themselves. People are loving the filters so much, in fact, some are attempting to physically change their faces to match what they see on the screen. 

A recent article in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), published on August 2, reports a rise in people seeking plastic surgery for this reason. The phenomenon has been dubbed "Snapchat dysmorphia."

"The pervasiveness of these filtered images can take a toll on one's self esteem, make one feel inadequate for not looking a certain way in the real world, and may even act as a trigger and lead to body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)," it says in the article, written by by Susruthi Rajanala, BA, Mayra B. C. Maymone, MD, DSc, and Neelam A. Vashi, MD. 

It's estimated BDD affects one in 50 people, and the most current data shows that 55 percent of surgeons have patients requesting surgery to "improve their appearance in selfies." Furthermore, there are more patients showing their plastic surgery results on social media.


After reading about Snapchat dysmorphia, Katie Couric took to social media to share her own no-makeup selfie to "buck the trend."

"An article in the latest issue of JAMA says plastic surgeons are increasingly getting requests to make people look as good as they do in their selfies after they edit them. Researchers call it 'Snapchat dysmorphia' and they say it is having a negative impact on self-esteem and can even trigger body dysmorphic disorder, which is classified as a mental illness. Clearly, I am bucking that trend. I also have a terrible sore throat. #happymonday."

Couric's post has people discussing the impact of social media on society, and why it's so important we combat harmful messages, and instead spread messages of self-love and body positivity. 

The JAMA article reaffirms this notion, and describes Snapchat dysmorphia as "an alarming trend" because online selfies will often present an unattainable look which will likely leave patients dissatisfied with the surgery. "In such cases, the choice of action is not surgery, which will not improve, or may even worsen, underlying BDD if present," it says in the article. "The typical treatment consists of psychological interventions, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, as well as medications ..."

Vashi explains looking at your true self in the mirror, compared to an edited selfie, can bring conflicting emotions which could potentially lead to Snapchat dysmorphia. 

“It can bring feelings of sadness, and then if one really develops this disorder, that sadness clearly progresses to something that can be dangerous and alarming.”

It's especially important for those with large social media platforms, such as Couric, to use their online presence to depict honest versions of themselves. The more we unveil Photoshopped images as simple illusions, the more we can hopefully stop feeling the need to compare ourselves to unrealistic standards of beauty. 

Commenters on Couric's post are voicing their support for her, and the idea that we should all be more transparent. 

"I couldn't agree more with your statement. What have we turned into a society where everyone looks the same," proclaimed one Instagram user. "I miss the old days when everyone looked different. Our untouched flawed selves make us the beautiful, unique individuals that we are!"

"Love your transparency," responded one user.

Hopefully, more social media influencers will follow Couric's example and limit their use of filters.


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