If you’re a fashion-focused person, you probably follow a few dozen beauty accounts on social media. This makes sense, as many social accounts share great beauty tips and can help you stay up to date with the latest trends.

However, you may follow more than a few toxic accounts, too. These accounts typically promote unrealistic beauty standards and post highly doctored images. Following these accounts can harm your mental health and well-being.

The link between beauty ideals and poor mental health is backed by data, too. Today, 35% of adults say they feel ashamed of their body. This can lead to further issues like anxiety, eating disorders, depression, and low self-esteem.

Fortunately, social media also offers you more options than ever before. This means you can unsubscribe from harmful accounts and start building a more supportive network on your socials.

Social Media and Beauty Standards

The meteoric rise of social media has been driven by content creators who publish high-quality content that rivals traditional beauty brands and magazines. However, spending too much time on the platform can lead to body image disorders and feelings of shame. This sense of self-loathing is heightened if you enjoy sharing images from your own life, but spend hours comparing yourself to others before you hit “send”.

Social media platforms with filters have shifted beauty standards, too. This has led to a rise in what researchers call “Snapchat dysphoria” which occurs when people want to look like their filtered image. Alarmingly, some social media users have asked their plastic surgeons to make them look like their filtered Snapchat selves, too.

Trends like beauty standards change quickly on social media, too. This can be stressful if you’re constantly tethered to your phone and want to stay in touch with the latest makeup and fashion tips. While there’s nothing wrong with self-expression through fashion, feeling pressure to stay up to date with the latest trends could be a sign that social media is starting to undermine your mental health.

Mental Health

Spending too much time on social media is linked with a decline in mental health. This sentiment is backed by researchers who point towards a strong correlation link between time spent online and worsening mental well-being. This is deeply concerning, as 4.5 billion have a social media account today.

Social media may be particularly harmful if you find yourself chasing unrealistic beauty standards while online. This can lead to negative self-talk that undermines the important link between self-acceptance and self-care. By chasing beauty standards, you are prioritizing societal expectations above your own needs and may become hyperfocused on perfectionism.

Unfortunately, chasing beauty standards will only worsen your well-being. It’s hard to eat healthily, exercise regularly, and drink enough water when you’re anxious about the way you look and are constantly comparing yourself to others. Heightened stress will lead to increased acne, dry skin, baggy eyes, wrinkles, and rashes. This can send you into a spiral of self-loathing that is hard to break out of alone.

Financial Strain

Keeping up with trends can be extremely expensive. Designer clothes and high-end makeup will set you back thousands of dollars a year and will only end up in the back of your closet when trends change. This can put a real strain on your budget and may cause you undue stress.

Take control of your wardrobe and slash your spending by hopping over to the thrifty side of Instagram and TikTok. There, you’ll find plenty of influencers who can give you tips on how to save money while staying up-to-date with fashion.

Buying vintage clothes can help you keep up with trends on a budget, too. Fashion cycles tend to come back around every 20 years or so, meaning the vintage items you find in thrift stores are waiting to be reborn. If you’re willing to get deep into the wacks, you’ll even find vintage clothes that look like they’ve never been worn before. Just remember to set a budget, as it’s easy to overspend even when buying vintage clothes.

Social Media for Good

Most of the discourse around social media focuses on the negative effects of overuse. However, in many ways, social media has changed the beauty industry for good. Thanks to social media, people are more willing to talk about the impact of beauty standards, practice self-reflection, and have the opportunity to show what beauty means to them.

Social media has emboldened calls for greater diversity in body type, skin tone and other representations. This is crucial, as beauty standards can become hegemonic if real people don’t get to share their opinions and push back against traditional outlets. As an active participant online, you can even encourage folks who decide to use their platform to share self-care and unedited versions of themselves on their beauty pages.

Following the right folks on social media can even improve your health and well-being. Timely health advice can make a world of difference if you’ve been pressured into believing that beautiful people have a size zero waste and drink only water. Following folks who spread positivity can be a powerful reminder that true beauty happens when you feel at home in your own body.


Social media can put a real strain on your psychological and financial health. Shifting trends and extreme filters can undermine your self-esteem and rock your mental well-being. Rather than following folks who make you feel bad about yourself, make a positive change by subscribing to influencers and content creators who foreground health, promote wellbeing, and are keen thrifters.

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