I have noticed more and more women coming forward on social media, speaking openly about the dangers of using filters.

I am not talking about coffee or furnace filters, but rather apps  on your phone that change how you look.

One woman went on Instagram and posted eight photos of herself with filters on, with one in the middle of what she looks like without the filter.

A local photographer then created a video discussing filters, noting it is not surprising there are young women with serious body dysmorphia issues because of these apps, which are so tempting to use. Many people feel they should actually be banned. The apps can can change eye colour, fix blemishes, alter the shape of your face and remove wrinkles.  

I have spoken with men whose biggest pet peeve is when women use the filters for their dating profile pics. Sometimes it’s pretty obvious when it’s not really you.  (Who can forget the infamous zoom meeting a year ago, when Rod Ponton, a county attorney in Texas, could not figure out how to turn off the cat filter during a hearing? The judge presiding over the case was telling the lawyer he had a filter turned on. Ponton could not get it turned off and his sad kitten face remained on the screen as he urged the judge to continue with the proceedings, He then clarified to everyone that he was not a cat — becoming an international sensation while doing so.)

My kids used to tease me about the awful selfies I posted. They were so hideous, in fact, that they played an April fool’s prank on me that became a national news story. Google “Kamloops Mom fed up with April Fool’s Day” and you will see my awful selfies, which were seen enlarged all across Canada.

Of course, if I was trying to impress someone, I would be more selective in what photos I used for a first impression, but I would never alter my appearance as that would be lying. If I ended up meeting someone in person, how would I explain my lack of transparency?

Photos need to be unfiltered. The best grouping of photos would be a nice headshot and a few full body lifestyle pictures doing some fun activities that show personality. Do not send bathroom selfies or hold a big fish that completely blocks your body — and don’t have sunglasses and ball caps in all the pictures, either.

Sadly, I read a story about selfie dysmorphia a young woman had due to filters on her phone. At the age of 21, she was obsessed with Snapchat and, at the peak of her disorder, she was taking 25 selfies a day. She had always been insecure about a bump on her nose, but when the filters removed it, she decided that’s how she wanted to look, so she made an appointment with a cosmetic surgeon and showed him what she really wanted to look like. The doctor said it was impossible and  noted more and more young people are booking appointments for botox and fillers to try to achieve the perfect look.  

These stories are sad and I agree that filters are causing serious mental-health issues.

Let’s face it,   aging isn’t fun, but we can’t fight it. We can, however try to take care of ourselves. I am 55 and if I were to talk to my younger self, I would say there are ways to avoid having my skin age early:

1. Avoid the sun on your face and wear sunscreen. As you get older, that tan you thought looked great turns into sun-damaged age spots.

2. Drink lots of water.

3. Eat healthy foods and stay active.  

The most important advice, though, would be to turn off the filters —unless you want to be a cat for a day.

If you are happy, single and don’t need to use filters, reach out to me by email at holmes@wheretheheartis.ca as I know some people who will like you just the way you are.