Hope & Healing: The UF Health Blog

No sealed lips here: What you need to know about lip fillers

For years, people in America and around the world have experienced celebrity envy: wanting to be like or look like certain celebs. Recently, this envy struck new levels with the obsession over Kylie Jenner’s lips among young adults. With 68 million followers on Instagram and a lipstick line that sells out in mere minutes, it comes as no surprise that young women want to emulate her look.

However, this has spurred a shockingly popular trend known as the #KylieJennerLipChallenge. Teens are grabbing a shot glass, inserting their lips and sucking for 30 seconds to a minute to plump their lips. Bruce Mast, MD, chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the University of Florida College of Medicine, comments that, “It’s like getting punched in the mouth and can cause permanent scarring and tissue damage.” With concerning measures being taken to imitate her look, it is important to note that Jenner admitted to temporary lip fillers at just 17 years old.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, more than 1 million 13-29 year olds had a cosmetic procedure in 2015. When you combine this with a finding from a 2015 PEW Research Center study showing that 90 percent of young adults ages 18-29 use social media, a 78 percent increase from 2005, it is easy to assume that there is a connection.

There is mutual agreement that the increase can be partly explained by the “Kardashian Effect,” which is impossible to deny with the sisters’ combined 413 million social media followers. Kim’s enviable derriere may not be the sole cause of individuals wanting a curvier backside, but with buttock-related procedures being one of the fastest growing types of cosmetic surgery in 2015, it is certainly an interesting phenomenon. In addition, soft-tissue fillers, such as the ones Kylie uses to fill her lips, have seen a 274 percent increase since 2000, with an increase among the 13-29 age demographic from 2014-2015.

While Dr. Mast has not seen a huge increase in individuals pointing to social media for inspiration, he has seen more patients bringing in photos from Internet searches. He notes, “It’s only a matter of time.”

Dr. Mast cautions young adults wanting to move forward with cosmetic procedures based on current trends.

“You cannot treat cosmetic procedures like buying a dress. If the dress doesn’t work out or you outgrow it, you can give it away, but not these procedures. Once you do something to your body, in some manner it is permanent.”

Two women from BuzzFeed documented their own lip injection journey after being inspired by Kylie Jenner to have thicker, fuller lips. The young women pointed out a fact often overlooked when discussing celebrities and cosmetic surgery,

“We talk about celebrities, but we don’t talk about the fact that they are actual people. That they have to go to a doctor’s office and get needles in their face.”

In addition to an associated risk with any cosmetic or aesthetic procedure, lip fillers require maintenance and money, which could be one of the reasons the lip challenge went viral. Instead of participating in self-harm, Dr. Mast suggests young women looking for fuller lips use makeup for now and turn to a board-certified physician for lip fillers when they are older and the time is right.

If you are an adult looking for lip enhancement, the UF Health Plastic Surgery and Aesthetics Center offers solutions with dermal fillers. A consultation with a highly trained specialist will provide the best plan for you.

The decision to have lip fillers is personal and should be done for you, not to satisfy someone else’s desires or achieve a perfect image.

Call us today at 352.265.8402 or visit us at UFHealth.org/plastics.

If you are thinking about cosmetic surgery, we urge you to ensure your doctor has the following:
• American board certification, preferably with the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
• Experience in the procedure you want.
• Privileges at a local hospital for the procedure you desire.
• Good reputation and minimal malpractice incidents.
• Emotional connection established between patient and doctor.
• Personally dedicates time to answer all of your questions.

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University of Florida Health represents the shared vision and commitment to patient care excellence of more than 22,000 employees of the University of Florida Health Science Center and UF Health...Read More