A new app that virtually sheds pounds off your face has been slammed for promoting body insecurity.
SkinneePix, priced at $0.99, promises to "edit your selfies to look 5, 10 or 15 lbs skinnier in two quick clicks on your iPhone."
"It’s easy. Simple. Fun. Our little secret," the app's Twitter bio confides.
Unsurprisingly, the concept has already attracted a lot of controversy, with critics claiming it promotes an unrealistic and unhealthy body image, in a world already dominated by airbrushing and a need to be thin.
An ad for the SkinneePix app
"The majority of young girls wouldn't develop an eating disorder because of an app like this, but some might be more vulnerable and it could contribute," Lauren Dickson, from the Center of Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, told Reuters.
"The media obviously has some effect on people developing eating disorders, but it's not the only variable. It's one of many factors."
But the app's founders Susan Green and Robin J. Phillip of Phoenix-based company Pretty Smart Women have denied that they are trying to fuel insecurity or dramatic weight loss, pointing to the fact that the app only lets you lose 15lbs at the most, and just from the face.
"We definitely understand that people can have body image problems and we're not trying to contribute to that in any way," said Green.
Co-founder Susan Green's SkinneePix selfie
The app was originally designed to present users with a leaner version of themselves but the company has also promoted it as a means of triggering weight loss.
In a piece labelled "Getting Healthy with my Selfie" on the Pretty Smart Women website, Green says:
"When I took 15 pounds off [using SkinneePix] I was astounded. Not only was it a small amount of 'weight', but I found that I felt like I looked better. And I thought to myself, hey, 'I could lose 15 pounds and look like that, not such a big deal.'
"Now, I need to lose more than 15 pounds not because someone called me fat or that I feel bad about myself, but because I have reached a point where I want to feel healthier about my body. I need to start treating it better, and the first step is to try and get rid of some of the extra weight I am carrying around."
New York-based journalist Alyssa Vereznak slammed the app - which lets you edit your face using three different weight loss settings - as "digital plastic surgery."
"It sucks in your jawline and calls it a day," she wrote in a piece on Yahoo. "That’s not a way to promote a healthy body image and, on a broader level, it sullies how we should approach sharing images on our own social networks."
What do you think? Is SkinneePix a bit of harmless fun or yet another way of making women feel insecure about themselves? Let us know in the comments below or take a look at the app's co-founders talking through the app in this Wall Street Journal video:
Photos: SkinneePix and Rex Features