Kylie Jenner has admitted to having temporary lip fillers done, and her confession – which was a part of an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians – has made demand for lip injections skyrocket.
The procedure is something that is available at a relatively young age. You can get lip enhancement injections done even if you’re so young you can’t drink yet – and a huge number of teens are doing exactly that.
The injections cost $500 each, and since the gel, Restylante, was given FDA approval 20 years ago it has been used in injections more than 20 million times. Then there are other injections, such as collagen ones, which would increase that figure even more.
A Gateway Procedure
Lip fillers themselves are a safe and relatively non-invasive procedure, but they are also something of a ‘gateway’ procedure – with more than a third of young women saying that they want to get lip enhancement done before they get other forms of surgery. This is something that is often being referred to as the “Kylie Jenner effect”. Some teens, unwilling to wait until they are old enough to get Restylane injections, are opting to suck on the opening of a bottle or a shot glass to cause their lips to swell temporarily. This creates the swollen lip look for a few hours – but it can also lead to painful bruising.
Lip fillers are offered to those aged 18 and over, and there are several different kinds available. Restylane is the one that Jenner prefers – it is easily injected, and recovery takes just 2-3 days, but the treatment can cause some severe bruising. Injections last for about six months, and cost about $500 each.
Cosmetic surgeons say that Juvederm is a better choice for young people – it is slightly more expensive, but the effects last slightly longer, and it is a softer, more natural feeling filler. The injections are made from hyaluronic acid, just like Restylane. This acid occurs naturally in the body, so it should be completely safe. Juvederm is mixed with lidocaine, which numbs the lips to make the procedure less painful.
Collagen is still sometimes used for lip injections. Usually, it is bovine collagen that is injected – but naturally there will be some people who would prefer to avoid using animal products for cosmetic surgery. Collagen is quite expensive compared to the other treatments, and the injections do not last as long either.
Lip injections are generally safe, but the trend for young people to use other methods of plumping up their lips is worrying. The bruises will heal, but they are painful when they happen, and they raise questions about how women feel about their bodies, and what they are willing to put themselves through in an attempt to fit in with a given standard of beauty.
Kylie Jenner coming clean about her lip enhancement was a good thing because it has created discussion about beauty standards, but we need to take a long hard look at the pressure that teenage girls are under.