Teens begging for lip fillers ahead of school formals
Schoolgirls are begging their parents to get lip fillers ahead of their formals in hopes of impressing their peers. Experts said the trend is on the rise because of social media and Instagram influencers such as Kylie Jenner.
Lip fillers are among the most popular procedures with teens, with one 17-year-old who receives injections admitting she wanted to look like Kylie Jenner, the 21-year-old member of the Kardashian clan.
Experts have warned the pressure teenagers feel to look perfect has risen because of social media, with youngsters even telling practitioners they want their lips to look like some that have been doctored on Snapchat.
Leading child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg said the "Instagramification" of teens was driving the worrying trend and also pointed the finger of blame at obliging mums and dads. "Any parent who allows their kid to have this sort of procedure - that is weapons-grade stupidity," he said.
The 17-year-old girl, from southwest Sydney, gets lip fillers with the permission of her parents after she convinced them she was not happy with the way she looked.
"I felt like my lips were too small and my older sister got a lip injection and then I saw Kylie Jenner," she told The Daily Telegraph.
But the girl had to beg her mum to let her go through with it.
"At first she said I was too young, and I spoke to her and said it was acceptable to do it at my age and after a few months she agreed," she said. "She thinks it is nice."
The owner of Bankstown's About Face Cosmetics Rebecca Ziegler confirmed she had seen many teenagers begging their parents to sign release forms so they can get their lips injected.
"It is all about the Kylie Jenner, the Kardashian look," Ms Ziegler said.
"The young girls they save their money for this."
But she said she had to manage the girls' expectations because their perception of what looked normal had been warped by social media.
"They will show me a pair of lips that have been filtered in Snapchat and they say: 'I want these lips', but you have make sure these young women know it is not realistic," Ms Ziegler said.
Teen educator Dannielle Miller visits hundreds of Australian schools a year to speak to girls about body image. She said the pressure to look good for Instagram was driving teenage girls to cosmetic procedures as well as extreme dieting.
"The filler in the lips is very normalised for young people, it is considered part of taking care of your appearance now," Ms Miller said.
And she said the pressure to look good could have repercussions beyond school: "Formals really are the perfect storm for an eating disorder to be triggered."