The boss of L'Oréal has claimed Instagram is good for business because young women need to buy more make-up to look like their filtered selfies.
Jean-Paul Agon, chief executive and chairman of the parent firm of Maybelline, Garnier and Lancôme, said social media features to digitally enhance appearances boosted the make-up industry.
His comments were condemned last night as "appalling and irresponsible" by one British MP, who suggested it would further heap pressure on vulnerable young people.
Mr Agon told MarketWatch: "The more you make yourself look really great online, the more you have to work on yourself when you go out, because if, when people meet you, they discover that you are completely different from what they thought, then you have a problem.
"If they want to use filters to look better online, they have to do something in real life also to look better, and that is why they use more cosmetics, more make-up, more skin care, more everything."
He said that despite disappointing make-up sales in the United States, the beauty business was "pretty immune to crisis".
"That is why, by the way, as you know, the price-to-earnings ratio of a company like L'Oréal is pretty high... because investors and analysts acknowledge the fact that, whatever happens, L'Oréal will be able to keep growing, keep developing, and keep increasing its profitability," he said.
His comments were criticised by a member of the British all-party parliamentary group on social media and young people's mental health and well-being.
MP Bambos Charalambous said: "I think the comments are appalling and irresponsible. It's an admission that (L'Oréal) are very happy that young people feel pressurised to look good and they are very willing to use that as a marketing ploy for their products.
"There are enough pressures on young people as it is, and the idea that people are happy to make money on the back of a fake life is really sad."