Is there a link between face-changing apps and demand for plastic surgery?

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A face-manipulation app aimed at kids that came under fire for claiming to make faces ‘prettier’ taps into something inherent in all of us.

That’s according to a cosmetic surgery counsellor who suggests that this app, and others like it, can often come up in online searches for plastic surgery but – like it or not – are set to stay.

The Slim Booth app, which uses altered pictures of a child’s face in its advert, can narrow faces and change eye shape and is just the latest in a long line of photo-changing apps that have been widely criticised.

But Deborah Sandler, who set up a cosmetic surgery counselling service to provide independent patient support before and after cosmetic surgery, suggests that it is far better to manage expectations than attempt to clamp down on technological advances.

She says: ‘Slim Booth is a basic photo-manipulating app targeted at children. It didn’t really work very well when I tried it. This type of app is a reflection of the new possibilities that are part of our culture.

‘Like it or loathe it, cosmetic surgery and all that goes with it have become entirely normalised. Humans of all ages have always shown a desire to improve their appearance and Slim Booth merely taps into something that is already inherent in many of us, even now at a very young age.’

But she advises: ‘We can’t turn back technological progress or cultural trends. Much more worrying are the photo-manipulating apps that barrage users of all ages and genders with pop-up ads for specific cosmetic surgeons. Slim Booth and apps advertising cosmetic surgery usually come up in the same search. This stealth advertising might prompt children to phone for consultations.’

Deborah is a member of British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (MBACP) and has undergone a number of cosmetic treatments herself in the past.

She adds: ‘CosmeticSupport.com was set up in 2000 to help patients understand what realistic expectations are and how they can best be achieved. The service is needed now more than ever and is available to prospective or ex-patients, as well as to their parents, friends and families.’

Developed in Japan, the app blurb reads: ‘Make your FACE slim and EYES bigger with “Slim Booth” app on your iPhone or iPod Touch. Just like magic, immediately you can see that cute look.’
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