Videos on social media showing children using insulin delivery pens to self-inject hyaluronic acid has prompted a safety warning from the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association.
In the safety warning, issued on Feb. 18, the ASDSA reported that ASDSA members, all board-certified dermatologists, have seen evidence online of young people using so-called “hyaluron pens” to inject hyaluronic acid filler in the epidermal and upper dermal skin.
The pens being used and promoted in social media for do-it-yourself filler injections are medical devices originally developed for insulin injections. “The use of air pressure technology causes these pens to deliver the hyaluronic acid to insert nanoscale molecules of the filler through the skin,” according to the ASDSA statement. Marketing materials state that the pens can be used to create volume and shape in the lips, and to improve the appearance of nasolabial lines, marionette lines, brow lines known as “elevens,” and forehead wrinkles. Claims that the hyaluronic acid only reaches the papillary layer of the dermis, and is therefore safe, do not alleviate the risk of injury in inexperienced hands, the ASDSA statement points out.
“We are concerned about California children falling prey to products that are not appropriate and safe for them to use,” Elan Newland, MD, member of the ASDSA and the California Society for Dermatology and Dermatological Surgery (CalDerm), said in the statement. “The power of social media is very strong, especially for impressionable teenagers. CalDerm supports alerting consumers and regulators of the dangers of these pens,” he said.
“TikTok is proving to be an extremely powerful platform to communicate, entertain, and even educate, which is why many physicians are getting involved and finding success there. Unfortunately, just like the World Wide Web, there is misinformation there and even dangerous lies,” Sandra Lee, MD, who practices in Upland, Calif. (and is also known as “Dr. Pimple Popper”), said in the statement.
“It’s very concerning to see young people posting a How To on injecting their own lips with hyaluronic acid serum using an ‘airgun’ pen, which acts much like a BB gun to push with force the product under the skin,” she added. “So many things can go wrong.”
The ASDSA has contacted the Food and Drug Administration to report these safety concerns. “In addition, the ASDSA is alerting state medical and estheticians’ boards regarding these patient safety concerns and alerting consumers directly about the risks through social media and other education materials,” according to the statement.
This article originally appeared on MDedge.com, part of the Medscape Professional Network.
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