#KylieJennerChallenge: RealSelf Docs Warn Teens of the Long-Term Risks of the Beauty Trend

Jager Weatherby on 21 Apr 2015 at 7:00pm

Kylie JennerNo matter how you feel about reality TV, you’ve undoubtedly heard about Kylie Jenner. The youngest member of the Kardashian-Jenner clan has been the subject of much plastic surgery speculation as the 17-year-old’s pout has gone from thin to beestung over the last year and a half.

Just as big sis Kim Kardashian has helped inspired the rapid rise of the Brazilian butt lift, Kylie is now the center of her own beauty craze. In an effort to mimic the reality star’s lips without injections, plumpers, or exaggerated liner, teens are going to creative, yet terrifying lengths.

On Sunday, April 19, social media flooded with photos and videos tagged the #KylieJennerChallenge. The images show teens, some much younger than Kylie, cramming their lips into an open bottle or shot glass and sucking in for as long as possible. The result is a swollen, oversized pucker — and often a shocking amount of bruising. Unfortunately, these teens have more to worry about than a purple pout.

“Using glasses and other devices to … artificially enlarge lips is dangerous, particularly at such a young age,” says dermatologist Dr. Daniel Levy. If done repeated, the #KylieJennerChallenge can lead to infection and scar tissue around the mouth, as well as bruising, cupping marks, and numbness. “Aside from that, the pressure and swelling can damage the lip structure,” he explains. Subjecting the lip’s delicate vessels to “this type of unnatural pressure” can weaken skin-plumping collagen — exactly what women looking for a better pucker don’t want.

KJ Challenge

“Damaging your face or lips with what is basically direct trauma does not result in beauty,” adds dermatologist Dr. Jennifer Reichel. “It can lead to exactly the opposite — loss of underlying muscle and plumpness due to necrosis, which is death of the tissue.”

The desire for a plush pout isn’t just popular among teens. In the last six months, interest in lip augmentation on RealSelf has grown 46%. These procedures can include invasive surgeries with implants or temporary fixes with fillers.

The difference between those and the #KylieJennerChallenge? These treatments are performed by a qualified physician in an accredited facility with minimal risk of long-term effects. They’re also primarily performed on candidates over the age of 18 — not teenagers looking for a popular Instagram pic.

“Kylie Jenner should speak out against this type of mimicry,” says Dr. Levy, and we can’t help but agree. Whether or not she’s undergone some form of lip augmentation herself, she should use her fame to encourage her fans to make safe, responsible decisions… and maybe pass along a few lip liner tricks in the process.

[Editor's note: On Tuesday, April 21, Kylie responded to the challenge on Twitter. "I'm not here to try & encourage people/young girls to look like me or to think this is the way they should look," she said. "I want to encourage people/young girls like me to be YOURSELF & not be afraid to experiment w your look."]