The Instagram Face that is taking over 16 year olds

With the rise in Instagram influencers and reality TV’s unrealistic expectations, more and more of today’s younger generations are wanting cosmetic procedures like lip fillers. But should this be allowed?

By Georgia Dossis

Cosmetic fillers have been circulating since the 1960s and have continued to grow in popularity since celebrities, such as Kylie Jenner, first started getting them in 2015.

Ideals of body image have changed dramatically over recent years. Celebrities and reality television stars are now getting small procedures in order to tweak their natural beauty. There is now more pressure to acquire the new “Instagram face”.

“The perfect look”

In May 2019, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons found that around 28,000 procedures took place the previous year, a small increase since 2017. A poll conducted by Vice shows that 59 percent of people compare cosmetic procedures to getting a haircut or manicure. 

With over 1 billion active users, Instagram is the third most used social media and the most used for advertising and endorsing these types of procedures. Because celebrities regularly post airbrushed images, more and more younger people are trying to replicate what they believe is the “perfect look”.

Even 16-year-olds are following this trend by augmenting their lips and editing their bodies in order to look more like their favourite celebrities. In recent research, around 90 percent of practitioners in the south UK have been found to not ID their clients before they book in for an appointment, therefore making fillers and Botox easily accessible to younger people. Firms are not legally required to do so.

Psychological effects

Registered cosmetic surgeon Dr Andrea Marando told Leeds Hacks about cosmetic procedures and the psychological effects that it has on people. “The world today is more visual and everybody uses smart phones, Facebook, Instagram etc. The direct effect of this aspect in modern life, is a constant exposure of our image to the ‘others’.

“One of the obvious consequences is that people comment on images and if the person has some level of insecurity  or possibly low self esteem – quite normal and often expected in younger people – the confidence is significantly affected and possibly diminished. Some people therefore consider cosmetic surgery a possible way to “enhance” or “restore” the lost or desired confidence.”

“Cosmetic surgery has become more and more socially acceptable in the past 20 years and therefore the increase has been steady and predictable. There has also been a significant increase in the demand for non surgical treatments (such as Botox and fillers). Where in the past cosmetic surgery and non surgical treatments were aiming at “rejuvenation”, now the growing trend is towards ‘beautification’.”

Part of the perfect new Instagram Face.

The ‘Love Island’ effect

It almost seems as though if you aren’t naturally blessed with the perfect features, there are ways to rectify it. Younger people now have easy access to reality programmes such as Love Island, where both women and men are carefully chosen primarily on their looks, most of which have undergone small noninvasive procedures. By young people being exposed to essentially airbrushed images, they begin to idolise the perfect look. 

Claudia Dee, a student who receives lip fillers, explained her reasoning for the procedure was to build her confidence. “A lot of social media influencers are showing off lip fillers and how it’s given them the confidence to achieve the perfect look which I think a lot of girls are after these days.

“I think 16 is far too young, as by 16 their bodies still haven’t properly developed yet and it’s a shame that young people are trying to change their natural beauty if they haven’t reason to.”




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