Molly-Mae Hague can pinpoint the exact moment she realised she'd gone too far with fillers. During an appearance at a nightclub, the 22-year-old took a selfie - and was left shocked at what the picture showed.
"I remember staring at it and thinking, 'I don't know what I've done to my face,'" she told Cosmopolitan earlier this month. "I went from looking like a teenager to someone on Botched."
The realisation saw influencer Molly-Mae, who shot to fame on Love Island in 2019, start to peel back on the procedures, getting all her fillers dissolved and removing the composite bonding from her (already very straight and white) teeth.
But Molly-Mae isn't alone in turning away from fillers. Gone are the days where every other influencer boasts razor sharp cheekbones, full, pouting lips and a mouthful of burningly bright veneers; cosmetic surgeons are now reporting an increasing amount of women attending clinics in the hopes of getting their previous cosmetic work dissolved.
Dr Tijion Esho, better known as Body Fixers' 'The Lip Doctor' has certainly noticed that 'filler face' is firmly a thing of the past, explaining to Tyla that women who come into his surgery are now seeking a more natural appearance.
"I've certainly seen an increase of people coming to me to get fillers removed," he explains. "We're seeing a trend for a more natural result now which is resulting in more patients coming to see me to reverse existing treatment and correct for a more natural look."
Esho attributes both high-profile celebrities, alongside social media, for propagating the initial popularity of filters.
"This led to what has become known as 'Snapchat dysmorphia' - a term I coined which describes a condition where more and more people want to try and look like the social media versions of themselves (where they use filters) in real life, due to the unrealistic beauty ideals they see online or even on TV," he says.
"In many cases these leads to a certain look that many young women or even men aspire to - from plump, filled lips to exaggerated jaw lines."
While cosmetic procedures are nothing new amongst celebrities, it was Kylie Jenner who spearheaded the relatively newfound interest in lip fillers.
Having sparked a flurry of interest around her newly full pout in 2014 (and releasing her lip kit range shortly after) she confirmed in a year later that she had her lips augmented - which sparked a series of young women to start getting filler.
The year of 2016 was hailed as the year of the 'lip job' with Google searches for lip fillers rising over 10 times compared to 2012, with whatclinic.com finding that lip augmentation was the most popular non-evasive surgery of that year.
The sudden and widespread availability of fillers saw public perception of them shift to seeing them as commonplace; a survey by VICE UK media reveals that 59 per cent said they viewed procedures like lip fillers comparable as getting a haircut or a manicure.
But even billionaire business mogul Kylie grew bored of the plump lip look, choosing to remove all her lip filler in 2018 after the birth of daughter Stormi saw her "reconsider" her regular cosmetic work.
"Now this trend has begun in popularity, we're almost seeing like a 'filler reset,'" Dr Esho says. "Lots of influencers are having their fillers removed and proudly sharing their 'after' face on social media.
"Over the last five years there's been a shift from the 'more is more' look to the 'less is more' approach to fillers."
So what's prompted this change in attitude away from having a face full of fillers? Dr Marian Adegoke, founder of Adegoke Wellness Clinic, believes the pandemic is a contributing factor. With national lockdowns resulting in usual top-ups having to be cancelled, many people found themselves embracing life sans filler.
Dr Adegoke adds that having to look at our faces day in, day out thanks to the popularity of Zoom quizzes and Microsoft Teams meetings may have also played a part.
"Treatments are so widely accepted," she explains. "Like with all trends, celebrities having filler was definitely a huge factor - full lips, contoured cheeks, chiselled jawlines were suddenly seen as very desirable.
"But filler adds volume, and too much can bulk your face. For example, with jawline filler, to get the chiselled angle that you see on social media from side on, you actually end up widen the face from the front, making the face more masculine which is the last thing a young girl needs.
"Sitting on Zoom calls all day certainly plays a part [in seeing what your filler looks like]."
Dr Esho agrees. "There's now a need not just to feel healthy, but to look it too. The overly plumped lips look was certainly a trend but I'm sure that for many people it could be linked to a deeper psychological need for us to improve our features," he says.
Dr Adegoke expresses concern about the age of young women who are attending appointment with botched filler, that needs to be readdressed.
"I mainly see people wanting their lip filler (done elsewhere) that has migrated dissolved, around mid twenties," she says. "Now Molly-Mae is sharing her story, she's certainly empowering young girls to learn from her mistakes and normalising not needing to conform to trends and get filler, especially when it doesn't suit your face.
"I hope that has encouraged younger girls to wait and make a more informed decision - especially as they are also seeing other celebs dissolving their filler."
Dr Esho adds that he's seen stunned by just how young some girls are when they come in for fillers.
"'I've seen patient's as young as 15 coming to me to have fillers dissolved which concerned me not just as a doctor but as a father," he says. "In 2018 alone over 100,000 patients aged under 18 had some form of cosmetic treatment!
"I'm really pleased that legislation has now been passed to make it illegal to administer fillers to under 18s as it's something I've campaigned for with many years of lobbying the government. Just because these treatments are non surgical doesn't mean they aren't medical and can have severe adverse effects which include blindness or even stroke.
"The repercussions if these go wrong in young patients can have long lasting physical and mental effects."
But before we give ourselves a pat on our back for embracing the 'natural' look, both doctors explain we're just as enamoured with surgical improvement as we have before.
"We're no longer seeing that over-plumped face, and people are trying to find a more natural look," Dr Esho says.
"'Zoom face' sees people look for fillers to make their face more natural and healthy, rather than plump.
"Ultimately the emphasis is on people wanting to achieve and maintain a more natural look with fillers, rather than over-filled obvious distortions."
Featured Image Credit: Instagram - tommyfury/YouTube
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