In an effort to cut costs, women are using homemade injectables to plump their pouts at home.
Online, TikTokers have touted their self-injections of hyaluronic acid, a commonly used filler, to the dismay of doctors around the world.
A woman boasted that her lips “double in size for less money” when she uses an at-home hyaluron injection pen – which appears to be sold on eBay for around $40 according to the seller – while others show how to use the device.
This alarming beauty trend coincides with a rise in cosmetic procedures, especially among Generation Z. In 2022, hyaluronic acid filler injections accounted for 4,883,419 cosmetic procedures, a 70% increase from 2019.
A syringe can be expensive — patients pay an average of $684 for dermal filler, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons — which makes a cost-effective, at-home method all the more appealing.
“I can understand how someone might see a product like this in a TikTok video, or hear about a friend of a friend who got a ‘good result,'” said Dr. Martin Newman of the Cleveland Clinic, based in Florida. in a report.
“Unfortunately, some people try something without doing their homework simply because someone else did it first and got an acceptable result.”
The popularized needle-free device uses compressed air to push hyaluronic acid through the skin, which Newman says “sounds pretty traumatic.”
“The first question you really need to ask yourself is: How can you push a dermal filler – whose physical properties are those of a viscous gel, like Jello – through the skin? he thought.
Although similar devices are effective for delivering medications or vaccines, experts caution that they are not sufficient for dermal filler.
“My concern is that the procedure is not controllable,” Newman cautioned, adding that the injector cannot control the depth of the hyaluronic acid.
“When you perform a procedure like this, you need to have meticulous control over exactly where, what and how much you inject.”
Not to mention, hyaluronic acid purchased from online retailers may not be medical grade.
The Food and Drug Administration has previously warned consumers about the dangers of administering dermal fillers at home using needle-free devices.
Complications include blindness, stroke, necrosis, bleeding, infections, scarring, skin bumps and discoloration.
“The FDA has not evaluated the safety and effectiveness of needle-free devices for injecting dermal fillers,” the agency said. “The FDA has also not approved the marketing of needle-free devices for injecting these products.”