Photo by Sam Moqadam on Unsplash

No Teen Girl Needs Acids or Poisons for Fat Lips to Pose on Social Media

“I was 15 and I was insecure about my lips. I have really small lips. And it was like one of my first kisses and a guy was like, ‘I didn’t think you would be a good kisser because you have such small lips’… I don’t know, it just really affected me. I just didn’t feel desirable or pretty. Kylie Jenner

My 15-year-old niece, Alice, recently asked me a favor, her brown eyes, big and earnest as ever.

“Can you ask my mom so I can get lip injections like Kylie? Or maybe Botox might be better for that upper lip curl. She did when she was 15 and she says it’s easy to be beautiful like her.”

I glanced away knowing the illusion of social media. So many kids didn’t realize those people have been filtered and morphed with Photoshop. That is part of the education and discussion process that teens should go through before anything is done.

She insisted again, “You may not know but it is extremely common for high school girls to have their lips plumped up as a reward for graduating.” I didn’t know that.

But I had read enough about real risks for young people who have sought more affordable services from inexperienced or unqualified injectors that resulted in swelling, infection or even more severe complications, such as necrosis or blindness.

“Alice, let me do some research and we can sit down and talk with your Mom and yourself. But what if you don’t want big lips for a lifetime? Always remember that you’re pretty enough already.” She only answered with a grimace.

But as more facts were discovered, the greater the realization of the shocking reality about what social media was doing to our society and its effect on our vulnerable teenage girls. There were even new Game Apps so kids could have fun performing plastic surgery on cartoon characters.

Some General Facts

Kylie Jenner once owned a cosmetic company called Kylie Cosmetics which had 2019 revenue of $200 million built on the back of a social media following that reached more than 175 million people.

In 2002, the Food and Drug Administration approved Botox for cosmetic use; plastic surgery became more normalized; injectables like lip and facial fillers became mainstream, and by 2006, Botox had become a $1 billion business.

Along the way, social media platforms branched out and branded an increasingly image-conscious society where the facial aesthetic became the dominant feature to like and be liked or deleted. Of course, teenagers’ Selfies were the main denizens of this habitat with all their insecurities and peer pressures fearing social exclusion. Celebrities with brow lifts, contoured cheeks and augmented lips also became popular. Interested teens were only a click away to try Botox and other injectables that became a plastic surgery phenomenon fueled by this social media.

They became so convinced that looking like a celebrity would make them happier and more successful.

How extremely sad and worrying about this fact that many teenagers today are seeking plastic surgery. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons noted that teens’ ages 13 to 19 had nearly 12,000 Botox injections in 2018, and some of them got multiple doses. Some 229,000 cosmetic procedures were performed on patients aged 13 to 19 in 2017 … with patients spending more than $6.5 billion.

“As the saying goes, ‘Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.’ This reflects the current dilemma presented to plastic surgeons … the demand for plastic surgery in adolescents has increased dramatically, despite the controversy over performing plastic surgery procedures in this population.”

What are two ways to get fatter lips?

  1. Inject lips with dermal fillers that come in different forms like calcium hydroxylapatite gel solution, hyaluronic acid or polymethylmethacrylate beads … the only permanent type of dermal filler available.
  2. Inject lips with Botox, a neuromodulator, to create the Botox lip flip by relaxing a muscle around the lips at the corner of the mouth and near the Cupid’s bow. Over a few weeks, it gently unfurls thin lips to make them appear larger and fuller.

What is Botox and alarming new research?

Botox is the brand name for botulinum toxin–a, one of the most lethal poisons known. The neurotoxin is produced by the bacterium Clostridium, a spore commonly found in plants, soil, water, and animals. The toxin paralyzes muscles by blocking the release of acetylcholine, the principal neurotransmitter between nerve and muscle. .. Dr. Richard E. Cytowic, professor of neurology at George Washington University.

An alarming consequence has appeared with ongoing research that Botox injections in the forehead and face can rearrange the brain’s sensory map of the hands. The changes in brain remapping are dependent on doses: the more you use, the bigger the effect. Now the big question is whether repeated treatments over a period of years can result in permanent changes to the brain.

What are other experts saying?

Plastic surgeons say lawmakers need to curb inappropriate celebrity endorsements of cosmetic procedures that target vulnerable young people with self-esteem issues.

Dermatologists say that girls are having cosmetic treatment when they don’t need it, a behavior caused by “more body dysmorphic syndrome and a terrible loss of self-confidence.”

Practitioners need to understand teens’ motives for undergoing procedures and do careful, extensive evaluations to make sure they’re appropriate candidates for their desired procedure where presently there are few.

Maybe it’s time to consider an international effort to ban the inappropriate use of Botox for people under 18 from all cosmetic treatment as recommended by the Nuffield Council of Bioethics.

The Most Outrageous Shock of All

There are new game apps for young people that simulate cosmetic surgery so they can practice plastic procedures. A brightly colored cartoon character appears so the kids can perform liposuction, a nose job, lip fillers, or a double-eyelid surgery to make an ideal beautiful clown.

“These apps send a horrid message … they are saying that there is a beauty ideal, and if you’re outside of it, you need to modify yourself with an invasive approach.” Alyson Schafer, a family counselor, author and parenting expert.

The more you look at this exploitive state by adults for profits, the more our adolescents will suffer … more fragile, less resilient and more overwhelmed than their parents ever were when growing up. Pressure begins early enough on their developing brains to start to see self-image from a distorted perspective, a bit like looking through a cracked windscreen. They see more “sexy” padded bras, G-strings, high heel shoes, heavy makeup, eyebrow lifts, butt lifts and large puffy lips. Social media is the giant clown face that steals their innocence and beauty.

I only hope my perfect niece, Alice, will listen to me not Kylie.

Annemarie Berukoff

Index for Timely Tale for Teen Girls Struggles, Regrets and Survival on Social Media with a Superpower Tool

More Girls as Young as 13 are Getting Botox — Experts Warn

Should You Let Your Teenager Get Plastic Surgery

Botox vs Fillers — Side Effects

Retired teacher — wisdom of Timely Tools for Changes: self-franchise internet marketing, social media attacks, ecology

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