'Selfie-culture' prompts plastic surgery, mental health concerns

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LONDON (CNN) The selfie-culture is putting so much pressure on beauty standards it's driving many young people to seek cosmetic procedures, according to plastic surgeons.

With almost half a million followers Kyrhys Devoe -- or "Tuggzie" to his fans -- makes his living through Instagram. Like others in his generation of social media influencers, he's on a constant quest for physical perfection.

"We all want to have smooth skin, we all want to have high cheekbones, we all want to have frozen faces, we just want to look perfect," Devoe said.

Devoe spends at least an hour editing each selfie using apps like Facetune and Airbrush. He's also part of a new trend which is seeing the Snapchat selfie look spill over into real life. "I want to be a Bratz doll, a living Bratz doll," he said.

Reporter Hala Gorani: A doll is not human -- by definition. Why do you want to look less human?
KyRhys Devoe: Because a doll's perfect. I just want to look like my actual photos on Instagram. I want to look selfie-ready all the time.

Devoe even gets regular cosmetic procedures done to look more like his edited selfies. He is not alone. Leading plastic surgeon Dr. Dirk Kremer says he's noticed his clientele get younger and younger, and edited selfies play a big role in what people ask him for. "Most of them come with a phone and show me pictures saying, 'That's how I get most likes and followers and could we do that in reality. I'm tired of editing the picture,'" he said.

Dr. Kremer says before social media, clients would mainly compare themselves to celebrities. "Now, you see the girl next door who looks amazing on the Instagram photo with all the filters they apply. Suddenly the competition is much, much higher," he said.

Reporter Hala Gorani: But do you think that makes people more anxious about their appearance on social media?"
Dr. Dirk Kremer: Definitely, you know the pressure's on. Young people, if they want to have a very successful account, they post constantly. They wake up -- picture. They go to work -- picture.

This obsession with personal appearance that selfie culture encourages may have darker implications for mental health. "In those people who have that psychological vulnerability, it can be particularly concerning. They are constantly bombarded with images and constantly referencing their own image in a way that was not seen before," said Bruce Clark, a consultant psychiatrist with Maudsley Hospital.

At its most extreme, this fixation on appearance can manifest in a mental health condition known as body dysmorphic disorder, or BDD. For people like Alanah Bagwell, BDD can be completely debilitating. "I rarely left the house. I was stuck in a dark room, curtains closed, sleeping most of the day. I wouldn't let my family see me. They'd have to bring food to the door," she said.

Bagwell says although selfies didn't cause her illness, the hours she spent taking pictures of herself exacerbated her condition. "I felt like I looked so disgusting and deformed and monstrous that I just wished to be normal, so I'd post selfies in the hopes of this sort of reassurance from other people

Our collective obsession with social media can be a very innocent and fun experience, but we are only just beginning to understand the potential mental health impact on this selfie-generation.