True Cellular Formulas Team - March 19, 2023

Snapchat Dysmorphia

How AI Filters are Leading to Real-Life Plastic Surgery

Snapchat Dysmorphia

There has been a significant increase in plastic surgery by women who want to look more like the filters used on Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok. Today we unpack why this is dangerous for mental and physical health and some things to start addressing the impact.

The Detrimental Impact of Social Media Filters

Social media filters have gone viral. The new AI technology with filters like the Bold Glamour filter these filters are becoming almost indistinguishable from real-life faces. Old filters were less seamless and would oven glitch back to your unfiltered face if your hair or hand passed in front of your face. On the other hand, the latest technological upgrades are a whole new world and have led to an actual diagnosis called Snapchat Dysmorphia.[1]

Facebook and Instagram report that over 600 million people have experimented with the platforms' augmented reality effects, and the same goes for over 63% of Snapchat’s 375 million daily users.[2-3] As something so rampantly used, we must start exploring their impact.

Filters are convenient. Much like makeup, they allow you to present an ‘elevated’ version of yourself so that you may feel more confident. The new technology does more than add a hue or a little makeup. The Bold Glamour uses AI technology to sculpt users' facial features, smooth out their skin, and brighten their eyes.

In the short term, it may boost your confidence. But in the long term, these filters' negative impact is enormous, especially since it’s driving more and more people to get plastic surgery on their faces in real life. So let’s explore the effect through two different lenses.

Mental Health

An obvious place to start is the impact on self-worth that these new AI “beauty” filters are having on their users. The comparative nature of social media is already a big problem. Self-harm and bullying have been on the rise in the age of social media, with roughly a third of U.S. school girls in the U.S. have seriously considered attempting suicide, according to a 2021 survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.[4] 

When it comes to the filters in question, an even bigger reinforcement of low-self worth occurs when someone is validated for a face that is not theirs. On the surface, we may think the compliments received by these filters may boost self-worth, but since people are being complimented on who they aren’t, the praise may have the opposite impact.

Finding self-love isn’t skin deep. Eating well and exercising may help you feel good, but it’s not as simple as “look better, and you’ll feel better.” When we exercise and eat well from a place of self-love, this gift we give to our body amplifies a healthy relationship between ourselves and our body. 

When we exercise from a place of self-hate or eat healthy simply to change the bodies we dislike, it can amplify dissociation from the body. Body dysmorphia and other challenges can lead us to keep cutting calories and exercise more to achieve the ‘perfect body’ we think will finally make us feel worthy. This trap of never feeling good enough is a slippery slope that can only be amplified by our excessive attempts to attain perfection.

Physical Health

The standards set on us by beautifying filters can lead to various problems regarding physical health. From toxic makeup, all the way to plastic surgery and injections, the toxicity associated with these alterations can be incredibly high. Let’s explore the physical risks with three of the most common ways we alter our physical appearance. 


Conventional cosmetics are a chemical nightmare. With direct access to your bloodstream via your pores, you must become diligent with the quality of products you put on your skin. Some chemicals used in personal care products have health risks even at very low doses and can interfere with the body’s hormonal system.[5-6] Endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in cosmetics like parabens and phthalates can lead to developmental malformations, interference with reproduction, increased cancer risk, and disturbances in the immune and nervous system function.[7-8]

Dermal Fillers

Dermal fillers are injectable fillers placed into the skin's soft tissue at different depths to help fill wrinkles, provide facial volume, or augment facial features. These fillers are typically temporary since the body eventually absorbs the liquid. The ingredients of the fillers in question vary but include Poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA), a biodegradable, synthetic material, as well as polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) beads, which are tiny round plastic beads suspended in a solution that contains bovine (cow) collagen.[9]

When procedures go right, side effects include:

  • Acne-like skin eruptions
  • Asymmetry
  • Bleeding from the injection site
  • Bruising
  • Damage to the skin that results in a wound and possible scarring
  • Infection at the injection site
  • Lumps
  • The palpability of the filler under the surface of the skin
  • Skin necrosis (ulceration or loss of skin from disruption of blood flow)
  • Skin rash with itching
  • Skin redness
  • Swelling
  • Under- or over-correction of wrinkles

When things go wrong, the consequences of fillers include serious injury, including long-term pain, infection, permanent scarring or disfigurement, and even death.[9]


Botox reduces wrinkles’ appearance by injecting toxicity into the body that causes paralysis. Botulinum toxin, or botulinum neurotoxin, is a neurotoxic protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum and is one of the most poisonous biological substances known.[10] Botox injections prevent the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine at the neuromuscular junction, which causes flaccid paralysis.[10] Despite this, there is an estimated 3 million injections of Botox happening per year across the world.[11]

Plastic Surgery

The biggest elephant in the room regarding the conversation about social media filters is that people (especially women) are going out and getting permanent plastic surgery to look more like the filtered version of themselves.[12] This “Snapchat dysmorphia” is causing people to lose perspective of what they look like, a slippery-slope problem that can open the floodgates for a lifetime of procedures and never truly feel good enough.[13]

Plastic surgery has a range of dangerous side effects, including.[14]

  • Abnormal scarring
  • Blood clots
  • Blood loss
  • Complications of anesthesia, such as respiratory issues during the procedure
  • Fluid build-up (edema)
  • Infection
  • Nerve damage leading to neuropathy
  • Scarring that prevents natural movement
  • Slow-healing wounds and incisions that take longer than expected to heal

The Solution?

Ditch the Filters

The first step in addressing our root cause of insecurities requires us to ditch the social media face filters. When we do this, we might find insecurity or fear-- but addressing these realities will pave the road to long-lasting, real change in our life. Facing ourselves and finding self-love beyond filters is what generates real-life confidence. Hiding behind face-altering apps will only promote anxiety, and low-self worth.

Alongside quitting filters, you must seek the support you need to start feeling more embodied and whole in your real authentic self. The most beautiful people aren’t aesthetically perfect; they are the ones that exude the natural confidence that comes from self-acceptance. Fixing our low-self worth at the root cause means looking at what comes up when we ditch the masks.

Mental Health Support

Although filters, makeup, and even more permanent interventions like plastic surgery can promote alleviation from our low-self worth, they are not optimal solutions to finding long-lasting inner peace. Understanding and accepting aging and the generally imperfectly perfect nature of our human bodies can require support. Unfortunately, most of us didn’t grow up with the kind of examples of deeply-rooted inner peace and vibrant mental health needed to learn how to properly care for our mental health. 

Finding support can be daunting because opening up in an unsafe space can traumatize us. Reach out to a hotline or a reliable friend, or join a support group. These challenges we face regarding our self-worth are common. You are not alone; connecting with others is vital to overcoming these patterns and beliefs. 


Although our bodies are naturally built to detoxify, our modern life exposure typically loads them up more than they can process out daily. As a result, we build up a toxic load in our fat and tissues, leading to a wide range of health problems, including fat-loss resistance, neurotoxicity, lack of energy, trouble sleeping, and more. If you have chosen to engage in any alterations (including simply makeup) that can promote increased toxicity build-up in your body, consider CytoDetox®, a potent liposomal zeolite clinoptilolite with fulvates. CytoDetox supports the removal of environmental toxins like heavy metals, chemicals, pesticides, and biotoxins at the cellular level, safely and 100% naturally.[15]

Note that we cannot out-supplement a toxic lifestyle. Unfortunately, we cannot fully outrun the many toxins we are exposed to daily (like car fumes), so make sure to mitigate toxicity wherever you can and use products like CytoDetox to help undo some of the past exposures that have built up over time. 


Beautifying filters on social media may appear harmless. Still, they have a real impact on mental health, driving people to get plastic surgery to look like an artificial version of themselves. The various ways in which people, especially women, fall prey to changing their faces through toxic makeup, fillers, or plastic surgery is taking a serious toll on women's mental and physical health worldwide. Dealing with the influence of this modern era of AI filters requires a holistic approach that supports women physically and emotionally.

  1.  Wigmore, Ivy. “What Is Snapchat Dysmorphia?”, TechTarget, 20 Feb. 2019, 
  2. Ryan-Mosley, Tate. “Beauty Filters Are Changing the Way Young Girls See Themselves.” MIT Technology Review, MIT Technology Review, 20 Oct. 2021, 
  3. “Snapchat Revenue and Usage Statistics (2023).” Business of Apps, 3 Feb. 2023, 
  4. Tin, Alexander. “Nearly a Third of Teen Girls Say They Have Seriously Considered Suicide, CDC Survey Shows.” CBS News, CBS Interactive, 14 Feb. 2023,
  5. Laura N. Vandenberg et al., Hormones & Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals: Low-Dose Effects & Nonmonotonic Dose Responses, 33 Endocrine Rev. 378-455 (2012),
  6. Veldhoen N et al., The bactericidal agent triclosan modulates thyroid hormone-associated gene expression and disrupts postembryonic anuran development, Aquat Toxicol (June 2007),
  7.  Andrea C. Gore et al., Executive Summary to EDC-2: The Endocrine Society's Second Scientific Statement on Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals, 36 Endocrine Rev. 593-602 (2015),
  8. EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 
  9. Commissioner, Office of the. “Dermal Filler Do's and Don'ts for Wrinkles, Lips and More.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, 
  10. Nigam, P K, and Anjana Nigam. “Botulinum toxin.” Indian journal of dermatology vol. 55,1 (2010): 8-14. doi:10.4103/0019-5154.60343
  11. Witmanowski, Henryk, and Katarzyna Błochowiak. “The whole truth about botulinum toxin - a review.” Postepy dermatologii i alergologii vol. 37,6 (2020): 853-861. doi:10.5114/ada.2019.82795
  12. Kelly, Samantha Murphy. “Plastic Surgery Inspired by Filters and Photo Editing Apps Isn't Going Away | CNN Business.” CNN, Cable News Network, 10 Feb. 2020, 
  13. Ramphul, Kamleshun, and Stephanie G Mejias. “Is "Snapchat Dysmorphia" a Real Issue?.” Cureus vol. 10,3 e2263. 3 Mar. 2018, doi:10.7759/cureus.2263
  14.  “Plastic Surgery: Types, Benefits & Potential Complications.” Cleveland Clinic, 
  15. Mastinu, Andrea et al. “Zeolite Clinoptilolite: Therapeutic Virtues of an Ancient Mineral.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 24,8 1517. 17 Apr. 2019, doi:10.3390/molecules24081517

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