The Effect of Instagram & Reels on an Individual’s Perception of Beauty

The giant social media platform “Instagram” has an undeniable grip and effect on our everyday life. This massive platform has influenced our entire routine in such a way that we wake up to the ringing of the notification bell as a new like, follower, or feature pops up on our screens. Instagram is designed to make us feel inadequate, sad, and addicted. Instagram reels have blown up like crazy and everyone from small businesses to creators is benefitting from it. This has helped many individuals and groups to explore their creativity and expand their businesses but has also dampened the spirit and mental health of many. Creators and artists often bear the brunt of the infamous “Instagram algorithm” as their reels, posts, and stories do not meet the expected reach, which in turn makes them spend some hard-earned money for the “boosting” of each post.  This never-ending maze is a deep pit that never fully satisfies its user and due to this, an individual keeps coming back for more.  People have a distorted view of their body, face, and imperfections, and a shiny, perfect version of beauty and life are presented to its consumers in the form of special filters and editing tools. Let us go through 5 possible “side effects” that Instagram and its new rip-off feature “reels” have had on our lives in general. 

1. Kills your Creativity  

Kills Your Creativity

Instagram is designed to sell, market, and promote a plate of perfected vision to its users. This rat race of trying to dance on “trending” songs and re-create viral steps has been pushing its customers to blatantly blend in the crowd and do what everyone else is doing. This in turn demotivates and kills the creativity of many talented and budding artists who hardly get any reach on their posts and creatives. Everybody wants a smoothing primer or that blurring range of new skincare serums to achieve that perfect “filter-like” appearance in real life. Creative work for the beauty industry like body painting, illusion makeup, and other “out of the box look” hardly gets any reach as compared to the people who are doing random steps.  The infamous Instagram algorithm will make anybody and everybody famous overnight which in turn often leads artists to simply quit or not post on their profiles anymore. Do you think Instagram should be more mindful of what it is selling to its consumers?

2. Impacts our Mental Health 

Impacts our mental health

In a recent study, it was found that Instagram has a huge negative impact on people’s mental health. The ones who are already struggling with various issues like anxiety, depression, and loneliness can react very strongly to certain posts and visuals on Instagram; especially reels. Whenever the image/video of acne clear skin with perfectly curled and silky blow dried hair pops up on our feed, we often suffer from feelings of inadequateness and anxiety. That feeling of being “less” beautiful than the person on screen can often pop into our subconscious mind. This popular social media app also triggers a host of other issues like sleep deprivation, FOMO (fear of missing out) restlessness, and more. It also creates a dependency syndrome which leads the consumers to come back for more even if it is harmful to their mental health. Do you think Instagram should look into this issue more seriously?

 3. Creates Body Image Issues 

Creates body image issues

Instagram’s new short video feature “reels” had a viral controversial trend going on a few months back in which an individual had to show off their slim, sculpted waist while walking on a catchy beat. This led to a huge uproar where people raised their voices to create unrealistic expectations and body image issues. While properties like body hair, stretch marks, pores, and texture are all extremely normal and a part of a healthy beauty routine and body; trends like these can often cause massive self-esteem issues, especially in young females and teenagers. Viral videos and trends like this, create a host of problems for people who are already suffering from illnesses like anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders.  

 4. Deterioration in the Sleeping Pattern 

Deterioration in sleeping pattern

A healthy individual requires at least 7-8 hours of sleep. In current times, our lifestyle changes have hampered one of these important aspects. In addition to the problem, social media apps like Instagram have deteriorated our sleeping patterns even more. The “rush” and addiction of mindless scrolling for hours and binging useless content can wire our brains to want more. Have you ever wondered what makes Instagram the perfect marketing platform? Why do consumers rush to buy another new range of concealer? The answer is simple! Instagram creates a chain of advertorials in which it is shown that tired dark under-eye circles are unattractive and make one look sleepy. To cover all that up, a shiny new concealer bottle is there to our rescue.  This makes us fall into an endless loop of staying awake and yet feeling exhausted. Do you think Instagram should filter its content better?

 5. Makes us Dependent on Beauty Products  

Makes us dependent on beauty products

Instagram reels have pushed the concept of marketing and consuming content to a different level altogether. From transition reels where one goes from “blah” to “glam” in the matter of a few seconds to make up hacks, tips, and tricks; this social media app often blurs the thin line between fantasy and reality. This leads to a massive distortion in our thoughts. From shiny new filters arriving in the market to smoothening pores, blurring lines, and changing our facial features; Instagram has the ability to make us feel worse about our imperfections. This leads one to buy endless creams, serums, and cosmetic products which can only make us feel dependent upon them in the long run. 

In conclusion, Instagram can be used effectively if used in moderation and with a key purpose in mind. However, excessive usage and addiction to this application can cause major emotional, mental, and psychological damages which might show up as serious illnesses in the long run. What do you think about the side effects and negative impacts of Instagram? Do let us know!