In the research spanning 300 people across four cities, it was found that the process of taking, altering and posting selfies negatively affects self-esteem and body image perception as well as promotes body dysmorphia.
Selfies are notorious not only for causing injuries and death among people lost in the act of clicking themselves with a phone camera; they also have a disastrous psychological impact, leaving selfie-takers feeling more anxious, less confident, and less physically attractive. The feelings of inadequacy are intense enough to drive many of them to undergo cosmetic surgery to change their facial appearance. These are the findings of a landmark study conducted by The Esthetic Clinics involving 300 patients who presented themselves at its branches in Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad for cosmetic surgery procedures.
The study found that people posting selfies untouched without using any filters saw a significant increase in anxiety and decrease in confidence. Participants who had the opportunity to retake and modify their selfie before posting it to social media still experienced decreases to mood and anxiety. Significantly, the majority of people posting selfies wanted to undergo cosmetic surgery and procedures to change their looks.
Dr. Debraj Shome, Director, The Esthetic Clinics, said, "This first-of-its-type study in India, conducted across four cities, has found that the process of taking, altering and posting selfies negatively affects self-esteem and body image perception, and promotes body dysmorphia. Patients who took and posted selfies reported feeling more anxious, less confident, and less physically attractive afterward. Harmful effects of selfies were found even when participants could retake and retouch their selfies. We found that the act of selfies being taken and posted contributes to significant feelings of inadequacy overlooks, and a strong desire to change looks through cosmetic surgery and procedures."
Dr. Rinky Kapoor, Cosmetic Dermatologist and Co-Founder of The Esthetic Clinics, stated, "It is well known that selfies are a risk to one’s life and limb, with hundreds of people dying or sustaining injuries while taking selfies. This study has now shown for the first time that selfies have an adverse psychological effect on one’s personality too. The impact is even more devastating on people with low self-esteem who take to social media to engage in public behavior with a reduced risk of disgrace and social anxiety. We cannot find any upside to the act of taking selfies, and strongly recommend that the Government seriously consider banning front-facing cameras in mobile phones. There is also a need to launch a nationwide campaign to discourage people from taking selfies."