The past few years have provided no shortage of dumb and dangerous beauty trends on social media — how can we forget the full face wax? That viral sensation now has a rival for the most ridiculous beauty challenge on TikTok: DIY lip filler.
Parentology has reported in the past on some dangerous TikTok challenges. One of these was the Kylie Lips trend, where TikTokers used the suction of a shot glass to puff their lips up, emulating the famously pouty Jenner heir.
While that trend was risky enough, the new DIY lip filler gaining popularity on TikTok is somehow even worse. Rather than using suction to plump up their lips, some beauty influencers are now using a special pen device to fill them with a substance called hyaluronic acid.
“This is one of the worst things I’ve ever seen,” dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman told Insider.
A Dangerous Beauty Treatment
The so-called “hyaluron pen” works similarly to a lip injection, where the substance would be administered with a needle. A report from Cosmopolitan explained that instead of piercing the skin, the pen uses pressure to push the acid in.
TikTokers have touted the hyaluron pen as a safer way to plump up lips than traditional injections. However, doctors have noted that the pens were designed for diabetics and other patients of illness to use under the supervision of health professionals.
“If you’re doing it at home, you may not realize the potential implications or side effects,” board-certified dermatologist Dr. Marisa Garshick said.
Some of the health risks of hyaluron pens include skin inflammation, abscesses, permanent discoloration, bacterial and fungal infections, disease transmission, and damage to skin, eyes and blood vessels.
“Unless these pens are being used as indicated for delivery of diabetic medications and under the care of a physician, they are not considered safe,” Dr. Corey Hartman, dermatologist and founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology, told Cosmopolitan.
On top of the risks of using the pen, the FDA has not approved the device, nor is it legal to market or sell online. As a result, illicit pens bought from outlets like Amazon, Alibaba and eBay carry a higher risk of containing counterfeit or otherwise harmful substances.
“[T]hey may not even be real fillers,” Dr. Jaliman said, comparing buying the device online to buying a dress. You can return a dress that doesn’t work out, she said, but “how are you going to buy a new face?”