The TikTok beauty 'hacks' putting young Aussies in danger

Younger generations are putting their health on the line for the sake of a snatched face.


Would you take beauty advice from an influencer with no experience or qualifications in cosmetic or health care? If the answer is yes, then you're not alone. New research from Anni, a health and wellness app that connects users to experts, has found a whopping 71% of Aussies surveyed turn to social media for beauty advice. Of that 71%, however, at least a third reported experiencing negative consequences, like health issues and skin problems, for following that same advice.

That number rises with younger, more impressionable users; over half of Gen Z (55%), and 46% of Millennials found themselves worse off for having tried a beauty hack they found on social media. And it's really no wonder, with the kinds of trends we're seeing bandied about on TikTok these days.

Young woman getting cosmetic injection in forehead
TikTok beauty trends are influencing young Aussies in bizarre and dangerous ways. Photo: Getty

Let's start with the ones that seem potentially the least harmful. "Barbie botox" and "traptox" are two new trends we're seeing go viral for their cosmetic benefits — and they're pretty much the same thing. Both see the popular and widespread Botox injection applied in the trapezius muscles in order to slim the neck, and give you that Barbie-inspired swan-neck look.

Along with the "lip flip" — a Botox injection that flips the top of your lip to make it look fuller without fillers — they're the hottest new trends currently being asked for at the local cosmetic clinic. Botox itself has been used for many years now, so it's relatively safe (with the all-clear from your doctor) and comes with only minimal side effects.


Next up on the TikTok beauty trend train we have a couple that I'd hazard to say sit on the dumber end of the spectrum. In an attempt to self-tan, we're seeing people undergo a "beer tan", bathing themselves in beer to darken their skin. Apart from the drying effects of alcohol, experts are warning people against trying this due to the potential damage to your skin.

Perhaps even dumber is something called "bone smashing". This is when — and stay with me here — people literally smash their face into something, like a hammer, to supposedly make themselves look hotter. If you didn't think that was dangerous enough (or dumb enough), there are also a bunch of people trying to rid their acne by eating apricot seeds, which contain cyanide.

Young woman lying down and looking at her face in a hand-held mirror
Around half of the young Aussies who've tried a beauty hack they'd seen on social media say its had a negative impact on them. Photo: Getty

This final trend has experts issuing warnings against these potentially deadly tips and tricks, and acts as a timely reminder for users to remember that the lack of regulation on social media sites can result in them putting themselves in harm's way for the sake of a beauty hack.

Sadly, this isn't a new thing, with experts and beauty sites seemingly releasing endless warnings against the latest viral hacks to hit our screens. In 2021 it was lube as a makeup primer, and drinking chlorophyll for acne treatments. In 2022 it was acidic, potentially harmful lemon juice facials, and "sunscreen contouring", which saw users forego sunscreen on certain areas of their face in a bid to mimic contoured makeup.

And if you're still tempted by TikTok, perhaps instead take a look at Tilly Whitfield's profile. The Big Brother contestant and now-influencer inflicted near-permanent scarring on her face following an attempt at an at-home beauty procedure she saw on the social platform. Now, she uses her considerable following to educate young people against trying out these hacks on themselves. All we can hope is that, one day, her message will finally get through.

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