Nilay Patel, writing for The Verge
Ever since the iPhone XS came out, there’s been criticism of its front camera — specifically, that it overly smooths skin. This, of course, was dubbed “Beautygate” in reference to Samsung-style beautification filters, which Apple has always insisted it doesn’t use.
Whatever the case, it was definitely there, but now it’s going away: during our iPhone XR review, Apple told me that iOS 12.1 will fix a bug in its smart HDR camera system that resulted in smoother-looking photos taken by the front camera on the iPhone XS and XR.
Essentially, Smart HDR was choosing the wrong base frame for HDR processing when you took a selfie.
When this issue came about, people thought it was due to Apple intentionally doing some overly aggressive noise reduction or something else.
But nope, just a Smart HDR bug.