The term ‘rich girl face’ has hit the headlines in recent weeks, however there is little being discussed of the inherent dangers associated with attempting to achieve this look that involves the extensive use of dermal fillers, chemical peels and BOTOX injections.
Undergoing a cosmetic procedure of any kind can be risky, especially as this side of the aesthetic industry is dangerously unregulated in the UK and elsewhere – meaning the practitioner delivering these types of invasive treatments is not required by law to have any medical training whatsoever.
Generation Z and Social Media Influencers
What is particularly concerning is that this cosmetic fashion is most popular among Generation Z, those aged 20 to 29, a fact that we believe is directly attributable to the high numbers of this demographic who follow celebrities and influencers on social media that share images of themselves depicting the effects of cosmetic procedures.
Seeing this ‘rich girl face’ so frequently has the effect of normalizing the look achieved by cosmetic treatments, which in turn builds the pressure on this age group to include these types of procedures as part of their standard beauty regime – treatments that they may not be physically or emotionally suitable for.
Our Petition to Improve Beauty Safety Standards
As such, we have launched a petition to ask that Instagram does more to protect young people who are using the platform from these types of images. We’re asking for an age restriction of 21 to be added to cosmetic procedure related images from verified accounts, or for these account holders to place a sensitive content warning over specific images that depict cosmetic enhancements, which can only be lifted by users who are aged 21 and over.
We decided to launch this petition after our survey in February 2019 discovered that 38 percent of 21-25-year-olds and 36 percent of 26-30-year-olds who see images that promote or demonstrate the effects of cosmetic surgery and cosmetic procedures report feeling more negatively about their own appearance as a result.
Our goal is to protect and support young people using social media so they can make a more informed decision should they wish to undergo a cosmetic procedure later in life.
The Impact on Mental Health
Seeing these kinds of images on Instagram can lead to the normalization of cosmetic enhancements, which in turn can cause anxiety, depression, lack of confidence, body dysmorphia and other mental health-related issues among users.
In our petition, we suggest ways in which Instagram could help to protect young people, including the introduction of an age restriction of 21 on content from verified accounts that specifically advertise, feature or demonstrate the effects of cosmetic surgery and procedures.
As well as introducing an age limit, we’re also encouraging celebrities and influencers to use the hashtag #CosmeticFilter in order to show their support for the campaign and help raise awareness about the issue among their followers.
Michael Saul is a partner at Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors, the first legal team set up in 2005 to deal with substandard treatment as a result of negligent cosmetic surgery, and is a passionate advocate for ensuring patients are fully informed before undertaking cosmetic surgery. Michael is aware of the negative consequences of the lack of regulation in the industry, and takes issue with the practice of profits before patients and commerce before ethics.