In this day and age, you can buy virtually everything you want on the Internet: clothes, personal care products, cars, pets and even your groceries. But what about buying tools for do-it-yourself cosmetic procedures? Yes, you can buy those, too.
According to The Plastic Surgery Channel, an online media outlet that shares doctor-delivered news, information and opinions about plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures for consumers, some people are skipping plastic surgery completely and opting instead to pursue the look they want using wearable devices like smile-trainers, lip re-shapers, jaw-enlargers and nasal-slimmers at home.
Although DIY plastic surgery is popular in South Korea, Japan and other Asian countries, the trend is slowly making its way to the U.S.
Self-improvement products have been on the market for many years. Waist trainers have been in use for centuries, and in 1936, Isabella Gilbert of Rochester, New York, invented a machine to create dimples. (The dimple-making device was worn over the face and featured two knobs designed to push into the cheeks, making temporary dimple-like indents.)
The interest in devices like these has increased as plastic surgery has become more socially acceptable.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 17.1 million plastic surgery procedures were performed in the U.S. in 2016.
The most popular procedures included breast augmentation, face-lift surgery, nose-reshaping surgery, eyelid-lifting procedures, Botox, and injectable fillers like Restalyne and Juvederm.
Wearable devices, purchased on the Internet from sellers like Amazon and Alibaba, are often marketed as an alternative to plastic surgery and tout the benefits of no pain, recovery or scarring.
They also cost much less than plastic surgery, with the average “nose-slimmer” for sale for as little as $15.99.
But does DIY plastic surgery work?
“Not likely,” said Dr. Jack Peterson.
Peterson is a Topeka, Kansas, plastic surgeon.
“Nose-slimmers, dimple creators, fat blasters and waist trainers may give users momentarily visible benefits, but they are usually very temporary. These products may also have serious unintended consequences,” Peterson said.
Sometimes DIY plastic surgery goes beyond just wearing a device; it also could mean danger and even death.
“Some individuals go beyond just wearing these kinds of products and take matters into their own hands in an attempt to give themselves fillers, Botox and professional-grade chemical peels,” Peterson said.
There are video tutorials on YouTube to teach people how to administer their own injectables.
To inject fillers and Botox correctly, it takes extensive knowledge of the blood vessels, muscles and tissues of the face.
“Do it yourself incorrectly, and you could end up disfigured,” Peterson said.
Some individuals also have attempted to give themselves major surgical procedures, such as the tummy tuck.
Others have injected themselves with things such as commercial-grade silicone, Vaseline and even cooking oil to give their lips, breasts or buttocks a boost. Using these materials can leave them at risk for infection, disfigurement and severe health issues.
“It happens frequently; people want to save money, so they take a risk and go a much cheaper route and try to do it themselves, or they end up in the hands of someone completely unqualified to do the procedure, often in less-than-sanitary conditions and using substandard and unsafe materials,” Peterson said.
Peterson recommends that individuals seeking plastic surgery procedures use a board-certified plastic surgeon.
“Plastic surgeons have the training and knowledge of how to perform procedures safely and correctly to give patients the results they want,” Peterson said.
The Plastic Surgery Channel. Are DIY Cosmetic Procedures Legit? 18 December 2017.