While periods of lockdown and quarantining popularized do it yourself beauty treatments from haircuts to organic face masques, there’s a limit to the beauty services that can be safely performed at home. Unfortunately, the renewed interest in DIY treatments has encouraged some women to take aesthetic procedures into their own hands, resulting in horrifying consequences.
The latest ill-advised trend to appear on TikTok is using hyaluron pens to self-inject hyaluronic acid into the skin in an attempt to plump the treatment area. Originally designed to deliver medications like insulin and specific vaccines, the blunt devices force the product under the dermis roughly five to 18 millimeters deep using pneumatic pressure, instead of the needles and cannulas used by licensed professionals. An uncontrolled action that can vary in depth according to the user’s pressure and grip, as well as the device, some of these hyaluron pens are even unable to piece the skin’s surface to reach the desired area.
While some TikTok users have suggested the use of hyaluron pens as a cheap alternative to seeing an actual doctor, the first hand accounts from those previously enticed by the trend serves as a warning. Hyaluron pen users have report lumpy and misshapen lips, skin deformed by beads of hyaluronic acid caught under the skin, and scarring from pellets of product hitting the skin at a force of 1,000 to 5,000 PSI (pounds per square inch) – a bullet has a force of 1,000 PSI and up.
London-based plastic surgeon, Dr. Yannis Alexandrides, says that using a hyaluron pen at home is incredibly dangerous. “It is never appropriate to inject yourself for aesthetic reasons,” says the founder and surgical director of luxury aesthetics clinic 111 Harley St, and creator of skincare brand 111Skin. He says that besides the risks involved with the quality of the claimed hyaluronic acid, at-home punters lack the knowledge and insight in understanding exactly where and how to inject into the lips, nose, cheeks, and face. “There is a reason why doctors train for years to do these services safely,” explains Dr. Alexandrides. “It takes incredible expertise and technique to navigate the intricate web of muscles, fascia and skin within your face without causing serious damage.”
In addition to potential physical damage, using a hyaluron pen can also place a user’s health at risk, including infections, allergic reactions, and vascular occlusion, which occurs when an artery is blocked and restricts blood flow, potentially leading to risks of strokes, loss of eyesight, and clotting causing the death of the dermis. In short? Book in for a professional consult for any filler plans, rather than trusting risky TikTok trends, as some treatments simply can’t be DIYed.