It’s been proven that social media addiction is real, but what happens when that addiction goes beyond scrolling and posting? There’s a disturbing trend where social media influencers are being offered discounted, or free, cosmetic procedures in return for promotion on their social media channels. Some of these influencers, as young as 18 years old, have already had upwards of 10 cosmetic procedures. The cost of these procedures is offset by surgeons, clinics, and medspas that see social media influencers as a free way to advertise their services. Posting cosmetic procedures on social media platforms produces more followers, the more followers, the greater the discount, leading to more aggressive procedures. Do you see where this is going? It’s a vicious cycle of addiction. One TikTok star, Sebastian Bails, has 12.8 million followers and got his first cosmetic procedure when he was just 18 years old. In his words, “If you have an iPhone, it has affected you. I got my lips done, not because I was insecure, but because I was offered free lips. Who is going to say no to free lips?” This can have an insidious effect on many young people who struggle with body image as a result of comparing themselves to a fabricated image they see on social media. In fact, professionals in the industry have reported that young people make up a growing number of those seeking cosmetic procedures popularized on social media channels. As Bail says, “When I started changing my appearance, the likes and views and shares went up. I fed into that. I love that. That’s why I do social media, I love attention.” And that my friends, is the definition of addiction.
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