Cosmetic injectables and surgery belong in an adults-only category of aesthetic treatments.
But in 2015, when Kylie Jenner admitted to plumping up her pout with filler at the young age of 17 to quell a lifelong insecurity, a legion of impressionable teens followed her lead.
In the decade since, stories of parents signing consent forms that allowed their teenage children access to injectable treatments (otherwise reserved for human beings three times their age) swirled around the Internet.
More recently, Bella Hadid admitted to getting a rhinoplasty procedure at just 14 years old. Hadid has since admitted her regrets, and Jenner belongs to an ever-growing lineup of celebrities dissolving their lip filler.
But what are the long-term effects of undergoing cosmetic procedures during the final stages of physical and neurological development? We asked Cosmetic Doctor, Dr Yalda of All Saints Clinic fame, for her professional opinion.
How old should you be when you start getting injectables?
According to Dr Yalda, most cosmetic doctors are of the opinion that “teenagers really shouldn't be getting cosmetic treatments if they are under 18”.
However, “there is no hard rule on the suitable age for injectable treatments,” she explains. “As long as the individual is over 18, suitability needs to be discussed between the practitioner and patient.”
What are the risks of getting injectables in your teens?
Surgical procedures may have an impact on physical maturation, but temporary cosmetic treatments should not affect physical maturation as they “augment facial features rather than rejuvenate them,” says Dr Yalda. But excessive treatments can alter appearances “often to the point where individuals forget how they once looked”.
She also thinks psychological dependence and addiction to cosmetic treatments is more prevalent in younger patients.
“I often see patients in my clinic who are only in their mid-20s but have been getting treatments for years, often a little too prematurely,” she explains. “They can have long-lasting implications, whether physical or psychological.”
“We also face problems when individuals have treatments based on trends and influencers,” she continues. “This leads to unnecessary treatments to constantly keep up with trends, [and] essentially [leads to] risks and complications.”
Coupled with the fact that the “non-surgical cosmetic field is a relatively new field, and there is a lack of training standardisation across the world,” there’s a growing number of younger people seeking discounted treatments from dangerous sources.
What is the future of cosmetic treatments?
Dr Yalda predicts that injectables and procedures will become more prevalent in the future, especially when you consider their increasing accessibility, affordability, and the diminishing stigma attached to these treatments.
“My current worry is that I see more younger patients in their 20s going towards surgical facial changes such as surgical eyebrow lifts, lip lifts and buccal fat removal,” she explains.
While she understands that so long as these patients are legally adults they can make decisions about their bodies, she is also concerned that they’re making these changes in order to keep up with current beauty trends —“surgical treatments cannot be undone.”
However, she’s already seen a number of her patients return to a more natural look, opting to dissolve their fillers; “Lip fillers are the area that I commonly dissolve,” she explains. And she’s thankful that “overdone filler and anti-wrinkle injections” are losing popularity, with patients leaning towards more natural enhancements and skin treatments.
“The younger generation are so clued up,” says Dr Yalda. “I think we will see them undergoing skin treatments such as needling, radiofrequency, resurfacing lasers, PRP and skin boosters [in the future].”
Love hearing a professional’s insights? These are Dr Yalda’s expert tips for taking care of your skin in summer.
Main image credit: @kyliejenner & Getty
Briar is the Beauty Editor at BEAUTYcrew. Her 'down for anything' attitude has resulted in more than a handful of hair transformations, and she doesn't mind being used as a guinea pig for the industry's most unusual products and treatments. Her work has also appeared on Refinery29, Girlfriend and beautyheaven.