Love Island has returned to the nation’s screens again, amid controversy about the impact the show has on contestants’ mental health after two people who had previously starred in the popular ITV2 series commited suicide in the past year. Producers have pledged to do more to ensure people are cared for before, during and after appearing on the show. But what about the wellbeing of the millions of people who watch Love Island and follow related content across social media?
The show has faced criticism about its lack of diversity and promised to do more to represent a variety of people in the 2019 series, yet so far it seems that the current contestants all fit neatly into the physical stereotypes seen in every previous series. The problem with this is that, for many, this is an unattainable and unrealistic body ideal which is often only achieved by undergoing cosmetic procedures. And this becomes even more concerning when you note that the 2018 Love Island final was ITV’s most watched programme for 16-34 year-olds, with 1.6 million people aged between 16 and 34 tuning in.
A ComRes study for BBC Radio 5 Live found that 21% of 18-24 year-olds would be more likely to consider having cosmetic procedures or plastic surgery after watching reality TV shows like Love Island and The Only Way Is Essex. And a recent article in Closer magazine explored the case of 27-year-old Emily Dorrell, who spent £15,000 on cosmetic surgery in the hope of appearing on the show. Speaking to Closer magazine, Emily said she multiple procedures to boost her chances of meeting the presumed beauty ideal of successful candidates on the show.
From our own research, we know the harmful impact that content demonstrating the effects cosmetic procedures can have on people, especially younger generations. Our study found that 23% of people think seeing this kind of content on social media can have a negative influence on how they feel about their own appearance, while the figure jumps to 38% among 21-25 year-olds.
In addition the impact these images can have on mental health, we must also consider the physical implications if somebody rushes into cosmetic procedures without doing adequate research into finding a trusted, safe practitioner. Love Island is fast-paced and its influence is immediate. Outfits worn on the show have been known to sell out before the episode has even ended, and this kind of impulsive reaction could be catastrophic when applied to cosmetic procedures and plastic surgery.
Michael Saul, from Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors, said: “Cosmetic surgery can have a positive impact on people’s lives if it is performed safely by qualified and experienced practitioners and the patient fully understands all its implications. Our concern is that cosmetic procedures like Botox and fillers simply aren’t regulated in the same way as surgery, yet they are instantly available on every high street.
“If somebody watches Love Island and feels inspired to emulate one of its stars through the use of Botox or fillers, they can Google their nearest beauty salon and within hours might have undergone a procedure that has disastrous implications.
“Of course, some procedures are reversible, while compensation and legal procedures might be an option in the case of malpractice. But the impact this has on a person could last a lifetime. I would urge people to think twice before attempting to emulate the appearance of somebody who appears on their TV screen or social media feed. If you are committed to undergoing treatment, be sure to conduct plenty of research and consult a register of approved practitioners, such as SaveFace for non-surgical procedures, or a surgical register.”
We have launched a petition demanding better protection from Instagram for young users who are currently able to view content demonstrating the effects of cosmetic surgery and procedures. To support our campaign and find out more, click here.
If you have already undergone a cosmetic procedure or surgery that has gone and want to explore legal action and compensation, contact us today.