Is the rise of Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner lip, cheek and jaw filler packages a cause for concern?

  • By Natalia Jorquera and Lewis Denison

The promise of achieving a celebrity look has always been a central selling point for the beauty industry.

But the changing faces of famous influencers on social media has injected a whole new demand from cosmetic customers to go 'under the needle'.

The advertised 'Kimmy K' and 'Kylie' packages - named after Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner - are just two of many pouting procedures promoted on Facebook and Instagram and seen by children as young as 13.

In the past there was an attitude of secrecy towards the kind of lip-filling, face-smoothing treatments undergone by the rich and famous, who would often deny having had them done at expensive private clinics.

Now the Kylie package - which in a single session injects filler into the customer's lips, jawline and cheeks - can be carried out on the high street for around £350 to £500.

The three-prong Kylie Jenner cheek, jaw and lip package retails at around £500. Credit: ITV News

But are the adverts for the 'dermal fillers' encouraging some to have unnecessary procedures? And what’s being done to protect vulnerable young people from seeing them online?

ITV News joined Emma as she had a Kylie package at cosmetics clinic Infinesse Aesthetics in Cheshire.

Emma said seeing the face-changing procedures promoted by 21-year-old Kylie Jenner convinced her to get the injections at 38.

She told ITV News she carried out her own research into dermal fillers after frequently seeing the social media posts, before booking in her appointment.

Emma paid for the Kylie package at cosmetics clinic Infinesse Aesthetics in Cheshire. Credit: ITV News

"You see it all the time, with celebrities and stuff, and it lifts your face and makes you feel a bit more confident," she said.

Infinesse Aesthetics manager Kaya Louise, who carried out the injections on Emma, said the Kylie and Kimmy K treatments she advertises on social media are now among her most popular procedures, enabling her customers to undergo a considerable transformation in a single session.

"The packages that I’ve created are created for the people that would benefit," she told ITV News.

"So instead of doing five different treatments separately, we just do it together. Sometimes, if a number of treatments are needed to get that look, that’s why it’s done.

"Somebody might just want their cheeks doing, might just want their lips doing. It really does depend on what they want to look like at the end result."

Infinesse Aesthetics manager Kaya Louise says the injections give her customers a confidence boosting without having to go under the knife. Credit: ITV News

The beauty therapist, who refuses to inject fillers on under 18s, said she tries to prevent young people from viewing her social media posts by adding age restrictions.

She said that still has not stopped 16-year-old girls regularly contacting her seeking the treatments.

"They're saying 'my parents are quite happy to come in and give consent' and it isn't actually illegal," she said.

"But we wouldn't do it to anybody under the age of 18, because you are still growing. Anything that you might not like at that age is going to change."

The beauty therapist said her package deals mean her adult customers can achieve desired, confidence-boosting, celebrity looks, without having to go under the knife.

Emma went 'under the needle' after being inspired by celebrity social media posts. Credit: ITV News

"No matter what you do you can't actually change the shape of your face," she said.

"Maybe (a client has) had weight loss and so they're quite jowly around the jaw and you can't go to the gym and train your face, so this is their only other option other than actual surgery."

Ms Louise agreed celebrity looks are not achievable for all faces and said it is part of her job "as a professional" to "manage expectations" during "quite a detailed consultation process" before any procedure.

She believes the rise of Kylie and Kimmy K packages is down to the way celebrity transformations are so closely documented in public.

Kylie Jenner's look has changed in the public eye. Credit: AP

"If you think of Kim Kardashian, Khloe and Kylie Jenner...we've seen them go through puberty and their face has changed, their identity changed and whether they've had these treatments or not to look like that, they've definitely changed massively," she said.

She said the way in which the stars have proudly highlighted the work they have had done on their famous faces has also had a massive impact.

"It's not as secretive now, you can go and get it done and you'll post about it, you will boast about it and brag about 'I've had this done'. There is no shame about it anymore," she said.

"It's not a secret, whereas I think years ago people were having things done, but they weren't necessarily shouting from the rooftops that they'd had it done."

Some psychologists fear this greater public exposure and apparent normalising of the filler treatments could fuel self-esteem issues in already vulnerable young people.

Emmy Brunner, the founder of The Recover Clinic in London, said she's seen a rise in young people with symptoms of body dysmorphia, a mental health condition which leaves people preoccupied by apparent flaws in their appearance.

London-based psychologist Emmy Brunner says social media has obscured the idea of a 'normal' level of beauty. Credit: ITV News

She believes the influencer-driven online adverts promoting filler packages are part of the problem.

"I think what social media has done is it has provided a really obscured scale as to what we aspire to as 'normal' level of beauty," she told ITV News.

"Even those of us who haven't had clinical or beauty procedures can manipulate and filter how we look. So the very basic norms of what we're perceived to look like are skewed."

Ms Brunner said the adverts could have the "most traumatising impact" because "they're confirming a young person's worst fears about how they look".

Dr James Shilvock, a GP who also works in cosmetics, agreed some adverts are "encouraging people to have an off-the-shelf package which may not necessarily be what they need or what they want".

Dr James Shilvock wants beauty clinics to introduce a more vigorous screening process. Credit: ITV News

Social media companies Facebook and Instagram currently have no restrictions on posts promoting such procedures.

When ITV News asked Facebook and Instagram about the concerns some have raised about the posts promoting fillers to young people, they said it takes the well-being of its community seriously and are committed to making their platforms safe places.

Away from social media, Dr Shilvock said changes need to be made at beauty clinics before the filler-filled needles are applied to customers' faces.

He believes those seeking the package procedures should be screened for mental health issues to try to prevent vulnerable people from having fillers they don’t need.

"Body dysmorphia is a massive thing and these packages are driving people to think that they need to look different," he told ITV News.

"If it's driven by the fact that they don't like themselves or they perceive their appearance to be wrong - wrong for society or wrong for themselves - then we have to really think who we treat and who we don't treat."

Back at Infinesse Aesthetics, Ms Louise said she already turns people away if she doesn't think they're having the procedure done for the right reasons.

Infinesse Aesthetics manager Kaya Louise warns it wouldn't be easy to introduce extra screening processes. Credit: ITV News

"I would say to them politely, 'I don’t think you should have it done,'" she said.

The beauty therapist said her package treatments are not aimed at or intended for people who are suffering with poor mental health.

She warned introducing an extended interview process to detect mental health issues would not be easy.

"I think screening will be quite difficult because it is a long process ... you would need to interview them, really in-depth, a couple of times before you can say they definitely have some sort of mental illness," she said.

"I'd say there is a fine line between wanting to look a certain way and then having something like body dysmorphia."