Youth Trends: Accessorizing with Cosmetic Procedures

Youth Trends: Accessorizing with Cosmetic Procedures 

Remember the days when teens wanted a fake ID to get into a bar? Those of us old enough might even remember aughts teen detective Veronica Mars’ locker side hustle selling convincing fake IDs to her high school classmates (If you’ve never seen the show, it’s a bit of fun circa 2000 nostalgia).

Young people are still seeking out fake IDs, but it’s not necessarily to sneak past the bouncer of a hot new club. Plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures are the latest temptation.  

And yeah, you bet it’s dangerous. 

Where there’s a will there’s a way. Teens are getting creative in their pursuit of augmented lips.

Not only are they putting themselves and the practice at risk, in many parts of the world, your health ID is used to register that you’ve had a procedure done. If something goes wrong later, it can be impossible to find out what product was used, and insurance likely won’t cover follow up. It’s really not a healthy take on risk.

So, what’s going on?

A modern teen makeover with a new twist

We all know that social media takes a toll on youth, especially their developing self-esteem. Back in the days of Veronica Mars - pre smart phones, social media, and filters - teens of course felt pressure to alter their appearance, but it was less ‘at your fingertips’ than it is today. They also weren’t bombarded by clinic ‘before and after’ advertisements, promising new lips and snatched faces seemingly at every turn. Transformative makeovers – ugly duckling to swan narratives – have always been a part of the youth experience, but lately the options for that makeover have trended more permanent than a new outfit and hairstyle. 

Teens and young adults today are also a lot more open about admitting to having plastic surgery procedures than in the past. While that’s a good thing – it gives a sense of reality to the images we’re being bombarded with and helps combat stigma – it can make people feel insecure for not having a procedure, especially when all your friends seem to be getting one.

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Peer pressure, 24-hour bombardment of perfected images – it’s no wonder today’s youth are taking their makeovers to the extreme.

‘Botched to Barbie’ seems to be the makeover mantra of today’s youth.

So, what are the procedures teens and young adults are flocking to? One prominent influencer recently admitted to using a fake ID to get lip filler at 16. It’s popular, it’s supposed to be temporary, so what’s the big deal? 

While it’s true that hyaluronic acid, the most popular lip filler material out there, is broken down by the body over time and can be dissolved with hyaluronidase, it might be more accurate to call lip filler a ‘semi-reversible’ rather than ‘temporary’ procedure, and it’s something to be concerned about if you’re pursuing an extreme look. When a lot of filler is injected into the lip, it can migrate and stretch the lip out, like a balloon.

Even after filler is dissolved, over stretched lips might be permanent.

Even when the filler is dissolved, if the lips have been overly stretched, they may not be able to revert to their original state, and the effects can be cumulative. We’re seeing lips that after more than a decade of filling, stretching, migration and a build-up of scar tissue, no longer resemble the original lip even when the filler is dissolved. It can even require surgical intervention, such as a lip lift or lip reduction. Is there a greater risk of complications if people start young? We don’t really know, but over the next few decades we’ll be finding out. 

Rhinoplasties are also very popular among the younger set. The structures you are born with influence what’s possible, and young adults seem to be dialed in to this concept, asking for smaller changes – their nose only better. They’re self-aware which is great to see. 

PDO thread lifts are also trending as a temporary way to lift the eyes like a fox’s. Thread lifts are expensive, not particularly effective, and they don’t last very long. There’s also a risk of infection, bruising and the results are often unnatural. We don’t recommend this one, even for a special event. 

Veneers are another makeover staple but they’re expensive, and usually reserved for a more mature crowd looking to improve their smiles after years of dental wear and tear. However, a lot of young people and influencers are heading overseas, to places like Turkey, to have their teeth done. 

While veneers can improve how the teeth look, they also need to be replaced every 10-15 years, which a lot of young people are not factoring in. There’s also the issue as to whether removing natural tooth enamel to adhere the veneer at a young age is wise. Enamel won’t grow back, it’s a permanent change to your dentition, so shouldn’t be taken lightly. You have your teeth for a long, long time. The veneers? Not so much. 

Finally, Botox. Two places young people are getting Botox is the jaw and forehead. A lot of young women want Botox to slim their jaw. It’s a look that’s trending. They’re also getting Botox in the forehead to prevent wrinkles. As far as procedures go however, Botox is one of the safest. It really is temporary, and the changes are reversible. Botox wears off in 3-6 months and the atrophied muscles will recover with intermittent use.

Written by
Kristi Charish
Edited by
Dr. Gary Linkov
The content of this newsletter is for entertainment and educational purposes only. This content is not meant to provide any medical advice or treat any medical conditions. Patients must be evaluated by an appropriate healthcare provider on an individual basis and treatment must be tailored to meet that patient’s needs. Results and particular outcomes are not guaranteed.


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