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Exploring the Trend: TikTok's Current Obsession with Barbie Botox

19.08.2023 08:00 AM
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Exploring the Trend: TikTok's Current Obsession with Barbie Botox
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Isabelle Lux, a 32-year-old content creator hailing from Palm Beach, Florida, recounted her mixture of apprehension and anticipation as she sat in the chair, awaiting her "Barbie Botox" treatment. The procedure involved injecting 40 units of neurotoxin into each trapezius muscle, responsible for supporting her neck. Her motivations were twofold: to refine her shoulder appearance for her upcoming wedding and to alleviate upper back discomfort. She shared, "Throughout the process, I kept thinking, 'If this goes well, it's going to be amazing, and I can't wait to share it online. If not, I should definitely warn others.' In essence, I knew I'd share my experience no matter the outcome. I fervently hoped for a successful outcome."

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Exploring the Trend: TikTok's Current Obsession with Barbie Botox

Isabelle Lux, a 32-year-old content creator hailing from Palm Beach, Florida, recounted her mixture of apprehension and anticipation as she sat in the chair, awaiting her "Barbie Botox" treatment. The procedure involved injecting 40 units of neurotoxin into each trapezius muscle, responsible for supporting her neck. Her motivations were twofold: to refine her shoulder appearance for her upcoming wedding and to alleviate upper back discomfort. She shared, "Throughout the process, I kept thinking, 'If this goes well, it's going to be amazing, and I can't wait to share it online. If not, I should definitely warn others.' In essence, I knew I'd share my experience no matter the outcome. I fervently hoped for a successful outcome."

Initially designed to address excessively strained trapezius muscles, which could lead to migraines and severe neck tension, the procedure has now expanded beyond its intended purpose. Off-label usage involves using it for cosmetic purposes, aiming to reduce shoulder size and elongate the neck. This trend has found traction across various social media platforms.

 
 
 

Dr. Parisha Acharya, the lead cosmetic doctor at the renowned London medical aesthetics clinic Waterhouse Young, explained the process. "When Botox is introduced into a muscle, it severs the nerve connection. Over time, this leads to muscle weakening and paralysis, causing the muscle to shrink."

The hashtag "Barbie Botox" has garnered over 7 million views on TikTok. Videos posted by MediSpas and clinics depict the injection process, accompanied by captions in pastel pink and sparkle emojis. Isabelle Lux's video, where she shares her personal experience with the treatment, has amassed more than 250,000 views. Lux claims to have coined the term "Barbie Botox." She noted, "I named it based on the notion that the procedure could make you resemble a Barbie doll. This, in my opinion, isn't a negative thing. It elongates the neck, slims the shoulders, and cultivates a delicate physique when executed correctly."

However, if the procedure is mishandled or improperly dosed, it could lead to complete muscle paralysis, cautioned Dr. Acharya. Additionally, there's a risk of the neurotoxin migrating from the injection site, affecting other nearby muscles. This is especially concerning if it impacts the neck area, potentially affecting one's ability to hold their head upright.

Lux, who received the $1,200 treatment as a gift from an on-demand booking app for aesthetic services, was advised to refrain from carrying heavy backpacks, strenuous exercise, and massages for at least 72 hours. Reflecting on her experience, she admitted, "I was genuinely nervous. Once the Botox is in, there's no turning back. In the first week, I experienced considerable pain, tension, and stiffness in my neck, shoulders, and upper back. It was quite concerning." Presently, two months post-treatment, Lux feels better than ever and plans a follow-up session during winter.

 
 

However, Lux emphasizes that this treatment should not be taken lightly. She stressed, "I believe it's crucial to consult a surgeon or a medical doctor. If the procedure isn't performed at a reputable establishment, it's honestly not worth the risk."

Dr. Acharya echoed Lux's sentiments, expressing concern over the popularity of "Barbie Botox" on social media, particularly given its appeal to a younger audience. She emphasized, "Medical procedures should be treated as such. Regrettably, the aesthetics industry lacks regulation in the UK. Shockingly, anyone can administer botulinum toxin injections, even individuals with no clinical experience or knowledge of anatomy. This is genuinely worrisome."

Forecasts predict that the global facial injectable market will double by 2032, reaching $36.8 billion. A 2021 survey by The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery indicates a 54.4% increase in minimally invasive procedures, such as Botox and fillers, since 2017.

Lux defends the pursuit of doll-like features and thinness, asserting it shouldn't be condemned. Online, she's been labeled anti-feminist and insecure, with one commenter even dubbing her "a victim of patriarchy." In response, she shared, "Desiring a particular appearance has historically been dismissed as frivolous, a waste of time and resources, especially for women. But when men seek a specific look, it's considered scientific and cool. We need to stop belittling women for their interests, including their desire to look a certain way. It's not insignificant; it's genuine."

Ironically, Dr. Acharya sees "Barbie Botox" as running counter to the message of empowerment in the newly released movie. She remarked, "The movie promotes feminism and encourages us to move away from objectifying our bodies. Using Barbie to promote slim necks contradicts this message. We should embrace ourselves for who we are."

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