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Maybe She’s Born With It … Maybe It’s BOTOX®

Injectables like BOTOX® Cosmetic and KYBELLA® are seeing a rise in acceptance that mirrors that of early makeup adoption.

Does reality TV imitate life or does life imitate reality TV? That’s a question you might be asking after some recent comments made by Khloe Kardashian, the newly appointed ambassador of double chin treatment KYBELLA®.

KYBELLA, an FDA-approved injectable treatment that reduces double chin fat and that’s popular at my Albany plastic surgery practice, is teaming up with Kardashian for its new Live Chin Up campaign, which seeks to empower men and women to live the life they desire. The 31-year-old fitness fanatic is embracing her new role and has recently injected a healthy dose of honesty into the discussion over injectable treatments, telling Glamour magazine’s Lipstick blog that she wishes injectables “were treated more like makeup.”

Kardashian’s wish appears closer to reality (actual reality) than ever before. Commercial makeup, now considered an empowering means of self-expression and a daily staple for many women, was once at the center of harsh criticism from those who believed it was false, vain, or even immoral. In fact, at one point in our history, makeup was associated with covering up vices, according to Kathy Peiss, author of Hope in a Jar: The Making of America’s Beauty Culture. Still, that didn’t deter women from enjoying bold lipstick and rouge. In her book, Peiss uses an example from 1938, when Volupté introduced 2 new lipsticks, the demure Lady and the bold Hussy. At the time, Mademoiselle magazine reported Hussy outsold Lady 5 to 1.

Still, after renewed criticism in the 1960s, cosmetics that looked natural saw a rise in popularity with slogans like Maybelline’s iconic catchphrase “Maybe She’s Born With It, Maybe It’s Maybelline™.” Things didn’t slow down. Over the years, women have continued to embrace and celebrate makeup, with revenue from the global beauty care market expected to reach $461 billion by 2018, according to some researchers.

Injectable treatments are seeing a revolution of their own. The focus these days is on a natural look, similar to the rise of subtle makeup. There were the days of obvious BOTOX and lip injections. But today, women and plastic surgeons are taking more of a “maybe she’s born with it” approach, favoring natural-appearing enhancement over dramatic changes.

Early adopters of BOTOX were considered vain and even shameful, similar to early adopters of makeup. But many women I meet at my practice no longer feel they need to be ashamed of their use of injectables. In a way, Kardashian and KYBELLA’s new campaign are giving those women a voice.

“I’m allowed to contour my face, I have nose contour and cheek contour on, highlighter on, I’m overdrawing my lips, and nobody really says that’s crazy. I don’t understand why. I basically put on a mask every day. I just really hope stuff like this [KYBELLA] becomes treated like makeup,” Kardashian said.

As injectables become “acceptables,” they’re also becoming more popular. According to the latest statistical snapshot from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons®, BOTOX injections were up by a whopping 759% in 2015 compared to 2000. During that same time period, soft tissue fillers saw an increase of 274%.

So maybe Kardashian will get her wish after all. We’ll just have to wait and see.

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