What A Mental Health Expert Has To Say About TikTok's Bold Glamour Filter

When TikTok unveiled its Bold Glamour filter, millions of users were impressed by how realistic the makeup and face sculpting were compared to other filters. Some told NBC News how shocking it could be to look so glamorous one moment and then to see their real face the next. Although using Photoshop and mobile apps to enhance one's appearance isn't necessarily new, Dr. Allison Nahmias, a clinical psychologist at Stony Brook Medicine, told Health Digest in an exclusive interview that it can significantly impact someone's mental health.

Nahmias says that how we use filters such as Bold Glamour factors into how they can affect us. "If someone is using the filter solely for entertainment purposes or to be 'silly,' and does not spend much time on social media, the filter may not have any meaningful impact on someone's self-esteem or well-being," Nahmias said. "However, if someone is using the filter to present an ideal version of themselves or sees others using the filter as an ideal, this can contribute to negative social comparisons that can have a negative impact on self-esteem and well-being." In other words, some people may come to feel frustrated that they aren't able to achieve this ideal in real life.

How TikTok's Bold Glamour could affect people long-term

In a video that's garnered nearly 400,000 views as of this writing, TikTok user Rosaura Alvarez criticized the Bold Glamour filter for what it could do to young people. In the caption, Alvarez said she suffered from body dysmorphia while growing up — and she worries the filter will contribute to the condition in others. 

Indeed, Dr. Nahmias says that some people could be more susceptible to negative effects than others, such as people with low self-esteem or with internalizing symptoms such as anxiety, depression, or body dysmorphia. People who spend more time on social media are also more likely to feel the negative impact of the Bold Glamour filter.

Dr. Nahmias says there are some benefits and drawbacks to using filters such as Bold Glamour. "For some people, having the experience of seeing themselves with and without the filter may increase their understanding that many images in the media (including social media) are touched up or filtered. Using filters on social media can also be a way for someone to feel more comfortable when interacting online," Dr. Nahmias said. "For others, over time, the use of and exposure to this filtering could lead to the development of an internalized unattainable beauty ideal and could contribute to a desire for plastic surgery to achieve it."