‘A woman’s lips can never be too big.’ At a conference last year, I listened with horror as a delegate from Beverly Hills lectured an audience of cosmetic surgeons and aestheticians.
Only in LA, you might think — yet an hour in front of reality TV, or scrolling social media, shows just how mainstream such a view has become here in Britain. Women’s faces have changed from being ‘tweaked’ in a subtle, deniable way, to crazily over-enhanced.
You know the look: cartoonish lips in a huge, wet-lipsticked pout; startled, frozen facial expression; and a face either oddly sculpted and sucked in under the cheekbones or bizarrely puffed up by fillers.
Much was said about Madonna’s appearance at the Grammy Awards recently, when she appeared with a misshapen face after cosmetic work. Yet what concerns me most is how many very young women are chasing the same look.
Why are so many of them under 30 slavishly following a fashion that at best makes them look ‘overdone’ and at worst near-grotesque?
Dr Michael Prager has been been a leading cosmetic doctor for more than 20 years and thinks Botox has now gone too far
I’ve been a leading cosmetic doctor for more than 20 years and — excuse the pun — I have skin in this game. And I believe it’s time for professionals to say: ‘This has gone too far.’
Yes, doctors bear responsibility for their work. But why are so few of us brave enough to say that anyone having these treatments is also partly responsible for the results? If they don’t want to look silly, they should use a little common sense.
Women first came to me wanting vast ‘Russian Lips’ in the mid-2010s. What has changed is the sheer ubiquity of the ‘pumped-up’ look. It has become a scarily normal aspiration.
Once, patients went out of their way to stop people finding out they’d had surgery, fillers or even Botox. Now it is flaunted.
Big lips are a status symbol on a par with a designer handbag, a rite of passage into womanhood desired even by teenagers.
It is out of control.
I wonder if these young women know what they look like in the cold light of day — or whether lives lived so entirely online mean the only likeness they really see is the one viewed through heavy filters on a phone screen.
Certainly, after many years of procedures it seems Madonna may have lost sight of how she truly appears.
Once, patients went out of their way to stop people finding out they’d had surgery, fillers or even Botox. Now it is flaunted (stock image)
Don’t get me wrong. In some ways, we cosmetic professionals can only admire what the tech industry has done for beauty.
It took decades for us to decide exactly how to make a person look younger and more attractive, yet the developers of online filters and apps worked it out in no time.
Today, any of us can look younger or ‘sexier’ at the click of a button. It isn’t hard to see how addictive that is.
But such idealised images are not real, and if you pore over them for too long, you are very likely to be disappointed when you look in a boring old mirror. Self-esteem plummets, or young girls may even start to suffer full-blown body dysmorphic disorder, where tiny ‘flaws’ in their appearance are exaggerated and obsessed over.
The trouble is, with Botox and other injectables, we have given women the tools to take such insecurities to a new level. I see women who assume I can ‘fix’ their face just like an app on a phone. Ultimately, they are trying to make themselves feel better on the inside by doing work on the outside — which is destined to fail.
Alongside the big lips and slug-like brows, young women are increasingly asking for ‘preventative Botox’. Frankly, I’m amazed by their stupidity.
Reality TV has spawned a new brand of ‘Injector Influencers’ — women who encourage their hundreds of thousands of followers to have cosmetic procedures by showing off their own on social media (stock image)
A 25-year-old who has Botox every two-and-a-half months will atrophy her facial muscles and accelerate, not freeze, the ageing process. Over time, she will develop papery skin and a scrawny face.
On the right face, Botox can be a highly satisfactory way to turn back the clock a little. But the way some younger women are using injectables is tantamount to self-harm.
Reality TV has spawned a new brand of ‘Injector Influencers’ — women who encourage their hundreds of thousands of followers to have cosmetic procedures by showing off their own on social media.
Their success is only really possible if they can continually display bigger, ‘better’ looks. So the lips keep on expanding. The butt gets bigger. It’s insane.
At the moment in Britain, deeply unhappy young women can have almost limitless work done by people who hold no qualifications in aesthetics. Should the Government step in with regulation to protect them from themselves?
The trouble is, new laws won’t stop unqualified practitioners offering cheap, unregulated injections under the radar.
I won’t undertake any cosmetic procedure on a woman in her 20s unless she has a medical need, but I fear some practitioners are less discriminating.
The answer? Women must proceed with caution. If a practitioner has been overdone to the point of looking weird, don’t use them.
And if their Botox or filler costs a quarter of what it costs at a reputable clinic, run a mile.
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk