Psychology of aesthetics: Beauty, social media, and body dysmorphic disorder

Clin Dermatol. 2023 Jan-Feb;41(1):28-32. doi: 10.1016/j.clindermatol.2023.03.002. Epub 2023 Mar 5.


The perception of beauty is fluid within society and can morph based on cultural practices and societal interaction, such as social media exposure. The exposure to digital conference platforms has increased significantly, leading users to check their appearance constantly and find flaws in their perceived virtual appearance. Studies have shown that frequent social media use may lead to unrealistic body image ideals, a significant concern with appearance, and anxiety. Also, social media exposure can worsen body image dissatisfaction, social networking site addiction, and comorbidities of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) such as depression and eating disorders. Additionally, excessive social media use can increase preoccupation with imagined image defects among BDD patients leading them to pursue minimally invasive cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures. This contribution aims to provide an overview of the evidence surrounding the perception of beauty, cultural aspects of aesthetics, and social media's consequences, especially on BDD's clinical specifics.

MeSH terms

  • Beauty
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorders* / psychology
  • Body Image
  • Esthetics
  • Humans
  • Social Media*