Barbie Botox
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There’s a trend on TikTok and it’s called “Barbie Botox”, but is this just marketing hype or something to worry about? We spoke to GP and aesthetic doctor, Dr Ahmed El Muntasar to find out more…
Barbie was undoubtedly one of the biggest hits of the summer. Social media feeds were full of people dressed in their best Barbie get-up posing inside oversized doll boxes at cinemas across the country and taking part in a viral trend on Instagram, which allowed them to create custom “This Barbie” taglines using a selfie generator. 
So it’s no surprise that all the hype around the movie has led to a new TikTok trend for aesthetic treatments – the so-called “Barbie Botox” – to elongate their neck and shrink their shoulders in order to mimic the looks of Barbie.
The procedure, which involves injecting the trapezius muscle (base of the neck), is nothing new. Previously coined “Trap Tox”, a term that also trended on social media, it can also be used to reduce tension in the neck area, reduce migraines and help improve posture. 
The trend has gained so much traction that even Forbes has reported on it, writing: “9.4 million. That’s how many views the hashtag #barbiebotox has on TikTok. The hashtag #traptox has 22.5 million views on the platform, and they’re both filled with creators and cosmetic clinics alike sharing the results of the procedure.”
GP and Aesthetic Doctor, Dr Ahmed El Muntasar is someone who has often spoken out about the pros and cons of social media when it comes to aesthetics. With over 1million followers on his @theaestheticsdoctor Instagram account, Dr El Muntasar is blue tick approved and knows the power of social media. He has received a rise in requests for Barbie Botox at his clinic, with patients wanting to look how Margot Robbie looks and achieve that scoop in the base of their neck and shoulders. He has also been keeping a close eye on the trend on TikTok. He says,
“I strongly believe that no-one needs to look a certain way and that some of the treatments I do, they are not a necessity and are essentially for vanity. So with this in mind, I think it’s very important that patients realise they don’t need these treatments or feel they have to and it’s a choice. There will always be celebrity trends out there, so it’s important that during a consultation with me we discuss in depth what they want and the reason why to make sure that patients are getting the right treatment for them, for the right reason and confidence that they understand what they are having done.”
What concerns Dr El Muntasar most about viral trends is that it may lead people to have treatments with non-medics.
“It’s super worrying that people are going to unlicensed medical practitioners or unlicensed injectors that do these treatments without understanding the anatomy, the consequences or the complications that can occur with patients. It’s very, very scary”, he says.
“Things can also go wrong because a nail technician that does Botox doesn’t have a regulatory body such as the GMC or the GDC so you can’t go to them if something goes wrong.”
This is exasperated with complex treatments like injecting the trapezius muscle. “I would urge caution”, says Dr El Muntasar.
“It’s a very unusual shaped muscle because it starts at the base of the skull and it slopes down all the way to the shoulders. If you inject incorrectly, it’s easy for things to go asymmetrical, and it’s easy to weaken someone’s ‘shrug’. We actually use our ‘shrug’ a lot when picking up items from above your head, so it’s vital we don’t do anything to damage this.”
So what does the Barbie Botox procedure involve, and is it safe?
The Barbie Botox treatment involves botulinum toxin to slim down the trapezius muscle. This large flat muscle originates from the base of the neck and stretches across the shoulders, reaching the central area of the back. It plays a pivotal role in facilitating motion for the neck, shoulders, arms, torso, and head. Its name is derived from its resemblance to a trapezoid shape.
By injecting toxin, you weaken the muscle so it gets smaller and therefore causes the base of the neck and the shoulders to look a little more petite and symmetrical.
“It’s essentially injecting botulinum toxin in three to four locations in each of the trapezius muscles to essentially cause hypotrophy, which is a reduction in the size of the muscle. It reduces in size and thus, it gives the kind of sought-after look”,
says Dr El Muntasar.
“It can help for migraines as well because some people’s migraines happen because of the pull of the muscle. The base of the skull can create a lot of tension.”
Usually, about 15 to 20 units of toxin are used on each side (depending on the brand of toxin of course). Results can be gained from one treatment and last anywhere from two to nine months.
This article was written for the Consulting Room Magazine.
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