We have all seen the power of social media and how this community based communication and sharing platform has spread into all aspects of our every day lives and activities. The world of cosmetic treatments and surgery has not escaped either. Many clinics actively participate in promoting their services on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, Pinterest and Instagram to name but a few.
It now seems that the world of celebrity and cosmetic surgery is a constant topic for discussion on these platforms with new content appearing daily, if not hourly! Unfortunately, it seems this can lead to social media led trends that are deemed unhealthy and potentially dangerous by medical experts. One such trend hit the Internet last week.
American reality television star, 17 year old Kylie Jenner, part of the Kardashian family, is known in the media for having voluptuous, bee-stung lips. This has led to a new trend with its own hashtag, #kyliejennerchallenge, whereby teenagers (girls and boys) are sucking into glass shot glasses or other small cup-shaped items in order to create swelling in their lips from the vacuum suction and achieve her look.
This worrying trend, condemned by medical practitioners, has sweep through social media with photographs and videos of those attempting the challenge demonstrating lips which have been blown up to ridiculous proportions through the swelling of tissue. In some cases there are horrific injuries from this alone, with oedema and bruising or the breakage of glass items used to achieve the vacuum suction having cut into the area around the mouth. Such trends are frankly unbelievable but it seems that many young people are now more prepared than ever to take risks with DIY beauty solutions.
All is not lost though...social media can be a useful tool for those thinking about undergoing cosmetic treatments, looking for information and advice or the documented experiences of others. In fact, at The Consulting Room we use both Twitter and Facebook to inform consumers, press and clinics alike about news and developments in medical aesthetics and cosmetic surgery. We now have a dedicated consumer Twitter feed for information and advice at The Cosmetic Guru.
One case reported this week, which is more representative of a patient story than silly memes and trends is that of an Australian woman who is documenting her journey to Thailand for nose surgery through Instagram.
Image Sourced and Shared From the Daily Mail Website (Copyright is theirs)
She now has a significant number of followers tracking her detail of the procedure and her recovering at #RhiannonGetsRhino.
Social media is clearly here to stay and whilst the taking of photographs of oneself on a mobile phone - the selfie - is said to be causing a surge in demand for cosmetic and anti-ageing facial treatments and procedures, and the fixation with celebrity 'nips and tucks' continues, it will no doubt be the go to place to see, learn, watch and hear about all that is involved with this procedures as we continue in the digital age.
We have to take the good with the bad, so if you're a clinician and you're on social media then make sure you use it to get the 'real truth' about cosmetic treatments out there and maybe we can stop silly practices from catching on!