In the age of Instagram, Snapchat and image editing apps, modifying your appearance has never been easier.

In recent months, reports and articles of how social media affects our mental wellbeing have dominated headlines. Some of our favourite apps actually contribute to issues such as depression, loneliness and body insecurities, yet, In a recent report published by cosmetic advice site Flawless.org, the site found that over 700 million people still chose to log into Instagram every day. It also confirmed that 91% of 16-24-year-olds use social networking sites every day and 3 billion Snapchats are sent.

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Snapchat beauty filters

In the report, Flawless.org researched into the use of, and attitudes surrounding photo editing apps by young people. They surveyed 1,096 people aged 15-30, of which 70% were female, regarding their experiences and perception of how social media has negatively impacted on their mental health. They found that 49% of cosmetic surgery patients were influenced by social media whether to have surgery and 52% admitted they’d only post a selfie if it had a filter over it.

Beauty face — one of Snapchat’s most recognised filters — is used by 300 million people which is roughly the equivalent of the entire population of America. It’s received much criticism since its inception due to the grounds of making the user’s skin appear paler, inferring that paler skin is more attractive.

Racheal Thompson, a spokesperson from Flawless.org, commented: “The internet has become saturated with a plethora of photo editing apps which influence us to believe that we should be seeking to change our appearances and hide our imperfections, instead of learning to embrace what we’ve got. Constantly coming face-to-face with seemingly ‘picture perfect and flawless’ images, which are in fact highly edited, definitely damages someone’s self-esteem, especially if they already have issues with their appearance.”

Cosmetic surgery review site RealSelf also found that when patients were asked if social media influenced their decision whether to have surgery, 15.37% answered ‘yes’ and 33.40% said ‘somewhat’. It seems that there is far more behind a filter than what meets the eye.

Header image with thanks to Eduardo Woo/Flickr