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In 2017 we wrote a blog titled, ‘How Cosmetic Surgery Affects Society’, which has become the most popular article ever posted on our website, receiving over 7,000 views to date.

The extraordinary success of this article got us thinking - what exactly was it about this subject that has attracted so much attention? As a quick recap - the blog discusses the rise and rise of social media as the driving force behind the thickening correlation between cosmetic surgery and society. Eighteen months on since we published that article, it is now clear to see that these two issues are now irrevocably interlinked, to the point that it can be quite difficult to unpick which has more impact on the other - society on cosmetic surgery, or cosmetic surgery on society.

Celebrities and influencers

One of the key elements of this relationship is the way in which increasing numbers of influencers and celebrities use social media to share intimate details about the beauty treatments they undergo in order to maintain their appearance. For example, Kylie Jenner will upload a picture on Instagram promoting her latest lipstick one moment, and then in the next post a Story thanking her cosmetic dermatologist for a late-night top-up of her lip fillers.

Kylie Jenner thanking cosmetic dermatologist on Instagram

It is this casual grouping-together of a regular beauty technique such as applying lipstick with the mention of an invasive procedure that has led to several profound changes in society's attitude towards cosmetic surgery in the past ten years. These changes include:

  • The growing normalisation and acceptance of a new kind of beauty trend, marked by smooth foreheads and exaggerated lips and cheeks, which has recently been coined the ‘Rich Girl Face’ look
  • The growing acceptance that this look is achieved through the use of Botox, dermal fillers and chemical peels
  • The growing pressure on young men and women to replicate this look by incorporating these procedures into their standard beauty regime.

And it is not just celebrities with profiles as high as Kylie Jenner who contribute to this impact on society. In recent years, reality shows such as Love Island, The Only Way is Essex and Geordie Shore that frequently feature a cosmetically-enhanced standard of beauty among its cast members have grown in number and popularity. As the stars from these programmes accrue hundreds of thousands of followers on social media, it again reinforces the normalisation of procedures that would have been considered, some ten years previously, to be the exception rather than the rule.

What effect does this have on society?

Botox and dermal fillers are not cheap, and undergoing these treatments regularly to maintain the ‘Rich Girl Face’ look can become very expensive. As people struggle to afford procedures offered by qualified and licenced medical practitioners, they may become more inclined to seek out cheaper deals - many of which can be found on social media by cowboys who have sprung up to meet the burgeoning demand.

Due to this, perhaps the most worrying effect of social media and its relationship with cosmetic procedures is the increase in risk to health.

The non-surgical cosmetic industry is notoriously unregulated, essentially meaning anyone can set up a shop to offer these treatments, and this has led to increasing numbers of people experiencing painful and even permanent side effects such as facial disfigurement, scarring, nerve damage and blindness.

To further demonstrate how social media platforms act as a wild west for treatments, Save Face - a government-approved register of accredited practitioners - received over 934 patient complaints in 2018. Of these, 62 per cent (579) found their practitioner on social media.

Our petition to protect young people

At Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors, we are concerned about social media’s impact on society and the resulting increase in interest in potentially unsafe invasive treatments. We are particularly concerned about the effect this may be having on children who use platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat, especially as they are able to create a profile from as young as 13 years old. As such, we have launched a petition with Save Face to ask the government to do more to safeguard children on Instagram by introducing an age limit. You can find out more about the petition and our proposals here, or go straight through to sign it here.

How we can help

We believe that anyone who wishes to undergo a cosmetic procedure of any kind has the right to do so. But before they go ahead with treatment, we urge them to do their research in order to make an informed decision, and this includes investigating and sourcing a safe, qualified and insured practitioner.

For support in making the right choice, you can view our checklist, ‘How to choose a safe cosmetic surgeon’.

If you are interested in undergoing any of the treatments discussed in this article, visit Save Face to explore their register.

Should anything go wrong due to medical negligence, we are here to support you and help you gain the compensation you are entitled to on a no-win, no-fee basis. As the first law firm in England and Wales to specialise in cosmetic surgery, we have the experience and knowledge to help you every step of the way. Get in touch with us today - call 0808 274 6721 or complete our online enquiry form to request a call back

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