CVS announced last week all unaltered images in the stores’ marketing campaigns would denote a “Beauty Mark” to certify the photo was not retouched (smoothed, thinned or digitally altered.) This comes after the brand announced last year that it would phase out retouched photos in store ad campaigns — along with beauty brand partners’ ads including L’Oreal, Maybelline and Rimmel — by 2020.

I think it’s definitely a step in the right direction. And I would love to think what CVS is doing can level the playing field but the game was changed a long time ago.

Right now, we (my generation: the Millennials and a good majority of Gen Xers and Boomers since almost everyone has a smartphone and even your Grandma has a Facebook) look at our faces more than ever through photos.

By introducing Instagram and Snapchat filters into our world that slim our faces, make our eyes and lips bigger and give us perfect cheekbones, it’s hard not to feel weird — disappointed, even —when you look in the mirror.

So we edit our own photos with apps like FaceTune that can remove spots, soften lines and even change the shape of our faces and bodies. If not, we’re at least slapping on a photo filter that smoothes skin and lines and brightens up our entire complexion.

Some people are taking that one step further.

Now, instead of a celebrity photo, people are more likely to bring in an edited selfie of themselves into the plastic surgeon’s office, according to a recent story by WBUR, Boston’s NPR station.

They’re calling it “Snapchat dysmorphia.”

The story states that Massachusetts General Hospital had to write a practical guide for plastic surgeons to help them recognize and treat the symptoms of body dysmorphia disorder (BDD.) There’s no official data that social media has an effect on BDD, it said, but social media has “become more integrated into BDD patients’ symptoms and rituals.”

I truly don’t know if CVS and a few beauty brands can change the culture with how infatuated we have become with  looking like the most “perfect” (so many air quotes around that loaded word) version of ourselves.

To be my best devil’s advocate, I have to say that at some point, the pendulum is bound to swing the other way. In some ways, it already has.

The #acnepos movement that took over Instagram last year still holds millions of photos of people proudly showing their acne. Billie, a women’s shaving company, was the first shaving ad to show women’s stubble in 100 years — in an effort to celebrate what women choose to do with their body hair. We also can’t forget how far we’ve come in the body positivity movement either.  As a preteen girl bombarded with tabloid images of super-thin celebrities, I never thought I’d see a day where models like Ashley Graham were accepted and revered as beautifulas they should be.

CVS’s Beauty Mark campaign is its “pledge to pass a healthy self-image on the next generation.” Maybe that’s exactly what is it — for the next generation before they’re tainted with Snapchat filters and FaceTune.

Maybe this IS for the next generation to not repeat our mistakes.



What do you think about CVS’s Beauty Mark campaign and selfie culture? LET ME KNOW AT GMAZUR@TIMESSHAMROCK.COM, @GMAZURTT ON TWITTER OR @MISS.GIA.M ON INSTAGRAM.