The Psychology of Social Media and Facial Aesthetics

From the mid 90’s, facial aesthetics was a well-kept beauty secret between socialites and the rich and famous. At that time non-invasive facial aesthetics was not really heard of, therefore, it was assumed that Hollywood stars must be a force of nature and blessed to have their stunning youthful appearance and complexion. By the early 2000’s the news was out about the use of botulinum toxin to treat glabella and forehead lines. However, people were still sceptical of its use; due to the fact it is a deadly poison. According to Dana Berkowitz, by 2015 there had been over eleven million people in the USA who had used botox.

Today the Aesthetics market has exploded as a result of the effectiveness of these procedures in addition to the minimal downtime, accessibility and competitive prices. In terms of revenue. The global aesthetic medicine market size was valued at USD 86.2 billion in 2020, and it and continues to grow in the UK at almost 10% per year even through a pandemic.

Surprisingly, as the aesthetics industry has pressed ahead. Particularly with the development of new technologies, innovative devices, increasing awareness leading to a high demand; and high profits. has captivated the interest of professionals from various backgrounds to seek training to perform these treatments, leading to disputation of who should be allowed to practise.

There is lack of Regulation in England and due to its failure to keep up with the current trends and the popularity of these procedures, it could pose serious consequences to the reputation of the industry and risk to the general public despite persistent calls for licencing from the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practice (JCCP) and CPSA.

There are clinics and training academies in almost every town across the Country and fast track training has become easily accessible to non-qualified individuals. Due to the lack of regulation, licencing or standardisation of education. There is no guarantee that newly trained practitioners will be sufficiently competent or knowledgeable post training. This has led to a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of people seeking these procedures and a rise in complications, with practitioners using unlicenced and regulated products purchased from unofficial suppliers.

There has been a call for the HEE to develop appropriately accredited qualifications available only to those with who hold minimum prerequisites which would mean that a specific selection of professionals would be able to access the training. Furthermore, the industry has attempted to self-regulate several times which has been unavailing, possibly due to the fact that only medically trained professionals were able to register. If these companies contemplated opening their register to suitably qualified non medically professionals, there is a high probability that it would motivate laypeople who are trained in these procedures to upskill to Government approved qualifications, which would contribute to safeguarding the general public seeking these procedures.

Cosmetic procedures can carry a risk to the health and wellbeing of individuals. These risks can be considerably reduced if all practitioners commit to continuing their professional development and remain accountable and ethical in their practise. There are constantly new treatments and technologies becoming available which is why it is vital to remain consistent with education, training and personal development to promote best practise.

With technological advancements and the influence of social media. A lot of clients seek to have aesthetic procedures so they can improve their appearance because they feel their appearance doesn’t match the herd, in addition to wanting to look good on pictures. Technology is a key resource for practitioners to project the growth of their practise. However, it is important that practitioners market their services responsibly, ethically, and legally. The Advertising Standards Authority has banned the advertisement of Botox and most social media platforms have put a ban on advertising these treatments. However, this doesn’t stop the reach. Time has moved on quickly from what was once a taboo subject that was not discussed. Now people post their before and after pictures and stories including blogging about their amazing results which creates a trend. Celebrities, Reality stars and influencers have a significant impact on the growth of the industry. Now having Botox and fillers has practically become as normal as getting a facial. Furthermore, there are many practitioners who are still advertising botulinum toxin treatments on social media despite advertising being banned. This is why regulation is needed. It is extremely important that consumers are educated about the risks associated with these procedures through transparency, and accountability. All clients should be provided with a cooling off period and consent is obtained.

The use of filters on social media platforms are putting more pressure on the public to undergo these procedures, making them appealing to not only the younger generation but there is increasing pressure for the older generation to look young for their age and achieve a socially acceptable appearance. According to Statistica ‘’During the year 2018/2019, the highest average amount of disposable income for any age group occurred in the 45 to 54 year-old group’’. and statistics produced by the Office for National Statistics suggest that life expectancy has dramatically increase in the UK which will continue to increase. Therefore, combined with the incentive to reinstate a youthful appearance would make this age group an ideal consumer.

Furthermore, over the last few years there are more men are seeking cosmetic procedures.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, there has been a 99% increase of men having injectable aesthetic procedures over the last 20 years.

Dr Mariam Adegoke suggested that social media can have a negative impact on a person’s mental health increasing the risk of body dissatisfaction, and low self-esteem. This can lead to conditions including BDD.Clients seeking these treatments with an idealised image of an airbrushed filter which are not attainable can lead to client dissatisfaction which highlights the importance of carrying out a through consultation for all clients.

Written by

Angela Blemmings

Company Director

EyeCandy Training Ltd

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