A new report from NBC News shared that online influencers are receiving thousands of dollars worth of cosmetic surgeries for free as a way to market to a wider audiences.
Companies are offering influences free cheek and lip fillers, breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, Botox and more. These influencers then promote the services to their millions of fans, which are often made up of a younger, more impressionable demographic.
Reporter Kat Tenbarge explains that “medical providers have turned to social media for a new kind of personalized advertising that comes directly from influencers. And in the growing industry of cosmetic providers, there are few to no rules when it comes to advertising body modifications, which opens the door to offering teenagers free, unlimited cosmetic procedures.”
Cosmetic surgery is becoming more and more commonplace in society as women and men turn to small procedures to make major alterations. Additionally, NBC News spoke with a dozen influencers who said not only are they “addicted” to getting filler or Botox, but they actually now “regret” getting the procedures in the first place.
One influencer NBC News spoke with, Bails, shared that while he now realizes the procedures “ruined” his face and could damage his health, he felt it was a necessary evil because it allows him to gains views and followers.
“Health is really important, but it’s almost like your image becomes more important when you’re in this world of social media,” he said. “There are a lot of complications that can go wrong. But I’m willing to take that risk so I can look good online.”
Some influencers are honest with their followers about their procedures and the negative side effects, but many are not. They simply share the “positive side” of cosmetic surgery, misleading many young teens to believing they, too, need some sort of appearance-altering procedure.
Social media has been a major contributor in low self-esteem among young people, and influencers getting cosmetic surgery is a key part of it. Teens and young adults are constantly comparing their body to influencers and trying to emulate it in some way. But influencers are misleading their fans by thinking that surgeries are a simple and fun procedure instead of an actual, life-altering surgery.
For now, young people still make up a small portion of adults seeking cosmetic procedures (the main demographic is primarily women 30 and older). However, as social media continues to flourish, more and more young people will seek out cosmetic surgeries.
Earlier this year, several US attorney generals launched an investigation into the role social media companies such as TikTok effect young viewers self-esteem.
“Our children are growing up in the age of social media — and many feel like they need to measure up to the filtered versions of reality that they see on their screens,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta in a news release. “We know this takes a devastating toll on children’s mental health and well-being.”