After the youngest member of the Kardashian-Jenner clan
admitted to having "temporary lip fillers" in an episode of
Keeping Up With the Kardashians, we spoke with Toronto-based dermatologist Dr. Paul Cohen (who doesn’t work with Jenner) about the legalities of a teen getting fillers, the cost of upkeep and whether or not he thinks Jenner’s fillers look any good.
Kylie Jenner was around 16-years-old when she first had fillers put in her lips. Is there a legal age minimum to have fillers done for cosmetic purposes in Canada?
Dr. Cohen: To my knowledge there is no age restriction. I think there is a bit of a grey area because things like Botox – which is different than lip fillers – are used for medicinal purposes and they can be used in kids. So, I don’t think there is a real age [restriction]. I think there is a lot of discretion that needs to be used by a physician before he does a procedure like that on someone that young. I think in California you can find a physician in a heartbeat to do something like that. You really need to weigh out the pros and cons and really have a good sense of the person’s psychological state.
What’s the earliest age you recommend that someone have their lips done? As a person who performs cosmetic procedure, I have nothing against getting something to enhance your appearance. But I think it all has to be within reason, and there is so much pressure on teenagers as it is. Personally, I would be very hesitant to perform a procedure simply for cosmetic enhancement, rather than a scar revision or a deformity in their lip. I have not been in the position where I have been asked by someone that young to have any purely cosmetic enhancement. Obviously, you would want a parent to be involved in the decision making process, but does [the teen] have a sense of what could go wrong when you have a lip filler or what happens if they don’t like the way it looks? Different people have different ways how they’ll psychologically react to a bad outcome. If a 16-year-old girl wants to get a mole removed from her face because she doesn’t like the way it looks, I don’t think a doctor would hesitate very much as long as they would get a good cosmetic outcome. I’m playing devil’s advocate, but I think there’s a bit of a negative connotation [with the lips.] Like if she had a mole removed from her face just because [she thought] it didn’t look pretty, would anyone make a big stink of it? No. With this type of thing, I think people get more excited about it. Again, it’s about having people comfortable in their own skin, not encouraging. But in California that’s what everyone does. It is!
Are there any negative side effects to having fillers put in your lips as a teen? I guess there might be certain fillers, that usually don’t tend to be used in your lips, that cause rare bumps or lumps called granulomas that can persist. So you could theoretically get some bumps in your lips and with repeated injections – depending on the product used – they might be somewhat permanent. Thankfully, most of the lip fillers have very low risks of that complication. But you know, the more you do something, the more risk you have a complication. If you have a mild complication, how is the 16-year-old going to deal with it verses a 40-year-old? They might freak out.
What do you think of the work done on her
It looks pretty enhanced to me. Again, if she had pretty thin lips to start, enhancement can go along way. To be honest, hers don’t look terribly big, but they don’t look natural to me. They look pretty done. And that shot glass thing where kids were sucking on shot glasses? That wasn’t good either. What’s the message that she is sending out to the public and people who follow her? You have to take that into account.
How often would Jenner need to have fillers put in to keep them at her current size? What is the approximate cost? Twice a year, possibly 3 times a year. It would probably be $500-700 a syringe. If she only uses one or two, it could be up to $1,000 [per treatment].
Are fillers still the latest and greatest treatments available for people who want fuller lips? Juvederm, Volbella and Restylane are all still my favourite ones to use. The trick with lips is less is more. If you want a natural looking lip you can do [fillers], just don’t put too much in. And some people like it a little dramatic, but it scares many women off because they go "I don’t want to have these duck lips." You also have to remember that if you are a very thin-lipped person, and you are walking around with these huge lips, it just doesn’t look natural. You have to do something that matches your face. If you have a tiny little nose and tiny little eyes and you have crazy lips, it might not look right. But maybe if you had a fuller or rounder face, a bigger nose, you might be able to pull it off a bit better.
This interview has been condensed and edited.
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