In the age of technology, social media has become a huge part of our everyday lives. But does social media cause body dysmorphia? Many people have started to question if social media has become a catalyst for the distorted perception of body image. In this blog post, we will explore how social media may be contributing to the development of body dysmorphia and how we can fight against it.

What is Body Dysmorphia?

Body dysmorphia, also known as body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), is a mental health condition characterized by an obsessive preoccupation with your perceived flaws or defects in physical appearance. People with body dysmorphia often experience severe distress and have a distorted perception of how they look. Despite being told that their concerns are exaggerated or unwarranted, individuals with BDD are unable to control their thoughts and may engage in repetitive behaviors, like excessive grooming, or seeking reassurance from others.

It’s important to note that body dysmorphia is not simply a dissatisfaction with your appearance; it’s a psychological disorder that significantly impacts a person’s daily functioning and quality of life. While body dysmorphia can affect anyone, regardless of gender or age, it’s more commonly diagnosed in adolescents and young adults.

Individuals with body dysmorphia often feel isolated and ashamed of their perceived flaws. They may avoid social situations or seek excessive reassurance to cope with their anxiety. The condition can lead to significant distress, depression, and even suicidal thoughts if left untreated.

How Common is Body Dysmorphia?

Body dysmorphia is a growing concern in today’s society, affecting people of all ages and genders. The prevalence of this mental health condition is alarmingly high, with estimates suggesting that around 1 in 50 people suffer from body dysmorphia. However, these numbers may be underrepresented as many cases go undiagnosed or unreported due to the shame and stigma associated with the disorder.

It is especially concerning that body dysmorphia is more commonly diagnosed in adolescents and young adults. This vulnerable age group is heavily influenced, and as a result, many young people develop an unhealthy obsession with their physical appearance and feel immense pressure to conform to societal ideals.

The Influence of Social Media on Body Image

Social media undeniably has a significant influence on our body image. The constant exposure to carefully curated images of flawless bodies can distort our perception of what is normal or attainable. Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat have created a culture that promotes comparison and idealized versions of beauty. We find ourselves scrolling through our feeds, bombarded with images of perfect bodies, flawless skin, and hourglass figures. It’s hard not to feel inadequate in comparison.

Social media has created a breeding ground for the creation of unrealistic beauty standards. Influencers and celebrities usually present an unattainable ideal of beauty, leading us to feel inadequate in our own bodies. This constant comparison can be damaging to our self-esteem and body image.

Social media also promotes a comparison culture, where we constantly compare ourselves to others and strive to achieve an unattainable level of perfection. We may feel pressured to conform to societal ideals and find ourselves engaging in unhealthy behaviors, like excessive exercising, or strict dieting.

The rise of photo editing apps and the use of social media filters on social media has made it even easier for individuals to present a distorted version of themselves. We see images that are highly edited and filtered, giving us a false sense of what is real and attainable. We may find ourselves trying to live up to these unrealistic standards, feeling pressure to alter our appearance to fit a certain mold.

The Impact of Likes, Comments, and Followers on Body Image

In today’s world of social media, the impact of likes, comments, and followers on our body image cannot be ignored. Every time we post a photo or share a post, we subconsciously crave validation in the form of likes, positive comments, and an increase in our follower count. For many, these social media metrics have become a measure of our worth and attractiveness, leading to a dangerous obsession with seeking external validation.

When we receive a high number of likes or positive comments, we feel a temporary boost in our self-esteem and body image. We associate the positive feedback with our appearance, and this can create a false sense of validation and happiness. On the flip side, when we receive few likes or negative comments, we may experience feelings of inadequacy and low self-worth. We start to question our appearance and wonder if there is something wrong with us.

The impact of likes, comments, and followers on our body image is not only detrimental to our mental health but also reinforces the harmful beauty standards perpetuated by social media. We may find ourselves constantly comparing our bodies to those of others who receive more likes or have a larger following. We strive to fit into a certain mold and alter our appearance to conform to these standards, leading to a distorted perception of ourselves.

The Role of Advertising on Social Media in Perpetuating Body Dysmorphia

Advertising on social media platforms plays a significant role in perpetuating body image issues. Every time we scroll through our feeds, we are bombarded with ads for weight loss products, beauty treatments, and cosmetic procedures. These advertisements prey on our insecurities and reinforce the idea that we need to change our bodies to fit a certain standard of beauty. They create a constant reminder that we are not good enough as we are and that we should strive for an unrealistic ideal.

These ads often feature models and influencers with perfect bodies, flawless skin, and ideal proportions. Seeing these images constantly can make us feel inadequate and dissatisfied with our own appearance. We start to believe that unless we look like them, we are not attractive or worthy of love and acceptance.

The role of advertising on social media in perpetuating body dysmorphia is particularly concerning because it is so pervasive and invasive. It follows us wherever we go, popping up in our feeds and infiltrating our subconscious minds. It capitalizes on our insecurities and exploits them for profit.

​Why Adolescents are More Susceptible to Body Image Issues From Social Media Use?

I mentioned earlier that body dysmorphia is more commonly diagnosed in adolescents and young adults. So what makes them more susceptible to this issue?

Adolescence is a vulnerable stage of life, where kids are still developing their sense of self and identity. This makes them more susceptible to the influence of social media on body image, among other things. During this crucial period, teenagers are actively seeking acceptance and validation from their peers, making them more likely to compare themselves to others and strive for unrealistic beauty standards promoted on social media.

Adolescents are also at a stage where they are still discovering who they are and what they value. Social media platforms provide them with a constant stream of information and images that shape their perceptions of beauty. They are bombarded with content, mostly edited and filtered images of influencers and celebrities who seem to have perfect bodies and flawless appearances. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem, as adolescents feel pressure to live up to these unattainable standards.

The adolescent brain is still developing, and kids may not have fully developed cognitive skills to critically analyze the media they consume. They may not fully understand the concept of photo editing or recognize that the images they see on social media are often heavily manipulated. They also may not understand the impact of advertising. This lack of critical thinking can make them more susceptible to believing that the idealized versions of beauty they see online are attainable or realistic.

Adolescents and Validation

Kids are also more likely to seek validation and affirmation through social media likes, comments, and followers. The number of likes and positive comments on their posts can become a measure of their worth and attractiveness. This validation-seeking behavior can make them more vulnerable to negative impacts on their body image, as they may feel anxious or inadequate if they don’t receive the desired attention. This can lead to even larger and scarier issues than body dysmorphia, including severe depression and suicidal thoughts. 

Steps We Can Take to Reduce the Negative Impact of Social Media on Body Image

Social media’s impact on body image and mental well-being is undeniable. However, there are steps we can take to reduce the negative effects of social media on our perception of ourselves. 

First, it’s important to be mindful of our social media usage. Limiting the amount of time we spend scrolling through our feeds can help prevent constant exposure to idealized versions of beauty. Setting boundaries and allocating specific times for social media use can promote a healthier balance in our lives.

Second, curating our social media feeds to include accounts that don’t focus on beauty is crucial. Unfollowing accounts that promote unrealistic standards and following those that celebrate things other than appearance can help shift our perception of what is considered beautiful.

On top of that, practicing self-love and self-acceptance is key. Instead of seeking validation through likes, comments, and followers, we should focus on appreciating our own bodies for their uniqueness and what they can do. Developing a positive body image starts with loving and accepting ourselves as we are. Surrounding ourselves with positive influences can counteract the negative impact of social media. 

We also have to focus on caring about the health of our bodies more than the appearance of our bodies. Negative body image comes from a hyper focus on unrealistic expectations and understanding how health contributes to overall happiness and even appearance can help you shift your focus.

Should Adolescents Use Social Media?

​This is a widely debated topic and considering I don’t have children, I hesitate to comment on it. But I feel like the question should be addressed here since I’ve mentioned the impact that social media can have on adolescents when it comes to mental health problems.

There is no denying the impact social media has on people in general, but especially the developing minds of children. I think about negative feelings that come up for me with regular social media use and it makes me shudder at the feelings that children would have. Considering I’m a pretty well-adjusted adult with a fair amount of confidence in who I am and a healthy love for myself and my body, if I’m experiencing negative effects from social media, how much more are developing children experiencing that?

The content we consume, be it from movies and TV, music, books, or social media, it all has a massive impact on our overall health and happiness. It matters what goes into the minds of humans, and especially little humans. Social media contributes to risk factors other than poor body image. In case you were thinking it only impacts adolescent girls because of beauty filters, think again. It impacts physical health because it promotes sitting and scrolling for long periods of time, and promotes other mental health issues like anxiety disorders, depression, and more.

According to the University of Utah Health, “Research has shown that young adults who use social media are three times as likely to suffer from depression, putting a large portion of the population at risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors.”

Saying No to Social Media or Managing it Responsibly

Social media is a huge presence in our world today and many parents think it’s impossible to keep their kids from using it. The prevalence of social media is definitely a contender in that argument, especially as your kids get a little older. Many of their friends are using it and not allowing yours may be a constant battle. But that’s like saying that the “all my friends are doing it” argument would fly with other things that you know are blatantly harmful. In short, for what it’s worth, I believe that social media is just another one of those hard things parents have to fight against along with all the other things you wouldn’t let your kids do because you know they aren’t good for them.

If you do choose to allow your adolescents to use social media, there are some very important things you may want to be doing constantly. Setting boundaries, monitoring their online activities, and providing alternative forms of validation may help adolescents navigate social media in a healthier and more mindful way. Ultimately, finding a balance between online and offline activities is key.


In conclusion, we can’t deny that social media has a significant impact on our body image and mental well-being. The constant exposure to idealized versions of beauty and the pressure to conform to societal ideals can contribute to negative body image and increased risk of developing body dysmorphia. Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat have created a culture that promotes comparison, perpetuates unrealistic beauty standards, and fosters a constant need for validation. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, and a distorted perception of our own bodies. 

But it is not all doom and gloom. There are steps we can take to mitigate the negative impact of social media on our body image as adults. When it comes to adolescents and social media, it is important for parents and guardians at the very least to have open and ongoing conversations about the potential risks and rewards and, at best, just keep them off of it entirely.

In the end, it’s up to each individual to take control of their social media consumption (or their child’s) and prioritize their mental well-being. If you’re dealing with excessive negative thoughts about your body or in general, mental health professionals can help, so reach out if you need to! 

​Other Posts You Might Like:

How to Stop Comparing Your Looks to Others
Neem Honey Benefits
The Best Loose Leaf Tea Sample Sets