A staggering 14 million UK residents are active on Instagram every single month, proof that our social media obsession shows no signs of slowing down. With 'super celebrities' such as Kim Kardashian West sharing their lives through social media, we feel closer than ever to our favourite celebrities.
Social media has also opened up countless opportunities for business too, particularly in the fashion and beauty industries. Scrolling through a newsfeed you can see hundreds of posts about inspirational money makers who claim to have made their fortune entirely through social network marketing. Here at The Mint Clinic we are able to instantly upload before and after pictures showcasing our work, and also network with fellow practitioners anywhere in the world... all in a single click!
Instagram, in particular, boasts thousands of fashion and beauty shops - where you can instantly snap up the latest designer inspired dress that you have just seen your favourite TOWIE babe post on her account.
But with celebrities and beauty bloggers posting seemingly everything they eat, drink and wear - could this new insight into their lives actually be compromising the safety of consumers?
Take Kylie Jenner for example - she was at the centre of a media whirlwind when she finally admitted that her lips were not the product of simply 'over lining' her pout, but were actually the result of injectable dermal filler. A year has passed since her confession, and lip augmentation with dermal fillers is now the third most requested treatment in the aesthetics industry. This is not coincidental, with countless girls inspired by Kylie's look to try the treatment.
So this is great for the aesthetics industry, right? Well perhaps in some ways, but it's important for professionals like me to tread with caution. With increased popularity comes an influx of underqualified (often unscrupulous) people happy to take advantage of the young girls requesting this treatment. There are lots of potential risks associated with cheap product, poor policies and protocols and sometimes even sharing syringes with multiple clients. A poor result isn't the worst case scenario, as a lack of health and safety processes could even lead to blood borne infections such as HIV being passed on.
Somewhat controversially it seems, I am of the opinion that only medically trained professionals should be carrying out aesthetic procedures and that safety should be paramount in everything that we do within aesthetics. With this in mind, it saddens me to see reality stars endorsing anyone who is not medically trained to carry out procedures such as lip filler. More responsibility needs to be placed on these people who have an influence on what we do to educate the public and help them make informed choices about medically based aesthetic procedures.
The issue of responsibility and safety isn't exclusive to the aesthetics industry. Take for example the recent trend of beauty bloggers trying a make-up hack in which children's crayons are used as eyeliner. Safe for your eyes? I don't think so!
By all means take some inspiration from your favourite stars, but do your own digging first and prioritise your health and safety. If they have really white teeth but say that they've gotten them from a 44% peroxide whitening kit, is it really worth risking permanent damage? Remember that aspirational celebrities are paid (often thousands of pounds) to promote these products, meaning their endorsements aren't always based on genuine love of a product at all. So do your research before committing to a treatment or procedure, check the qualifications of any practitioner you're considering and give yourself some thinking time before handing over your hard earned money!