The concept of "Instagram versus reality" is nothing new. Influencers have a slew of tricks to make their bodies look a certain way using body-editing apps, which experts believe can trigger eating disorders and depression among young people.
One person using their platform to shatter the illusion of edited photos is Danae Mercer, a journalist and influencer specializing in health and wellness. On Tuesday, Mercer took to Instagram to show her 2.4 million followers just how easy it is to be fooled by editing apps on social media.
Mercer shared a carousel of photos with followers that included side-by-side mirror selfies that have been edited to varying degrees, with the text, "Editing isn't always obvious." Both the subtle and exaggerated edits show how misleading social media can be—and how skilled body editing apps have become.
"When we stare at warped images enough, they start to feel normal. Especially with social media. Especially with instagram. They even start to mess up images we already have in our brain," Mercer wrote. "Eventually we reach a point where the perfected, the edited, begins to feel real. And reality? Well, it all feels a bit dull, a bit grey."
Fans immediately weighed in on the uplifting post, praising Mercer for her honesty and vulnerability.
"I'm so flabbergasted by how different editing apps can make people look, it's not OK!" one follower commented. "It's crazy that people will go to such lengths to look different, when we need to celebrate everyone's own unique beauty."
"This caption. We are numb to the fact that most everything we see online is edited and curated- it makes us question our own beauty and worse, our own self-worth," another said. "Thank you for shining light into this!"
"Thank you for these honest and important messages! It gives me the confidence to be happy in my own skin," another follower said.
Last year, the influencer explained to Insider why she feels so strongly about her message.
"The danger with social media is we feel like it's more 'real life' than what we now see in magazines and on TV," Mercer said. "But it isn't, not really. It's incredibly filtered.
"So part of this whole conversation for me, one where I talk about the reality behind pictures, is to pull us back to a bigger topic: mental health...we need to broaden our understanding of health beyond just the aesthetic and really look at what's happening inside of us."