The Love Island effect 

In the UK the number of people undergoing traditional plastic surgery is going into decline, according to new figures the rise of fillers and other non-surgical procedures could be to blame. A procedure previously reserved for celebrities and reality stars has increasingly become part of mainstream culture.

This summer saw the launch of hotly anticipated fourth series of Love Island, fueling a massive response on social media. Viewer obsession with ITV2’s ‘sexy singles’, whose faces appeared on three million of our screens perfectly plumped with Botox, cheek and lip filler.

There has been speculation surrounding almost all the women as to what they have undergone to achieve that chiseled look. One stand-out star, however, was Megan Barton Hanson, a glamour model from Essex. Lips plumped with filler and a rhinoplasty nose job perfect enough to make you question the situation of your own nose. Megan’s face quickly became a hot topic on social media. Comparable to the Kylie Jenner effect of 2017 when the reality star revealed her plumped pout to the world. According to the tabloids Love Islands Megan has had £25,000 worth of plastic surgery.

Since entering the villa pictures of Megan before and after having been circulating on social media “No, I’m being serious. I need numbers of Megan’s surgeon or filler lady” tweeted one viewer of Megan’s dramatic surgical makeover.

The obsession with what the Love Island girls have had ‘done’ has inevitably lead to an increased interest in cosmetic surgery. Instagram has also been a primary facilitator in increasing peoples access to non-surgical cosmetic procedures. The app allows you to explore different localised aesthetic practitioners through a new homepage update. The ‘Love Island package’ of cheek and lip filer is offered by one of the UK’s most popular non-surgical cosmetic franchises ‘Kiss Aesthetics’.

However, the prevalence of cosmetic surgery on the show has not gone unnoticed. Reprimanded for the potentially harmful implications on body image, ITV2’s controversial choice to feature MYA cosmetic and plastic surgery adverts during the commercial breaks has come under considerable criticism. CEO of the NHS, Simon Stevens has said that adverts are “playing into set pressures around body image”.

Following the three months that the adverts ran the advertising standards agency ruled them to be irresponsible and harmful. Implying a link between women’s enjoyment of lives and cosmetic surgery. The advertisement showed women dancing and posing for photos, followed by a voice-over which offered a free consultation to viewers. Trivialising the viewer’s decision to undergo surgery, carrying the implication women could only be happy if they had enhancements. Broadcasting these adverts in mainstream media is arguably a psychological push targeting open-minded young girls, encouraging them to into surgery they don’t need for financial gain.

For generation Z and Millennials, who have grown up seeing dermatologists, using skin creams and spending considerable money on treatments such as eyelash extensions and laser treatments, fillers and injectables are the next logical step. Similarly, too expensive temporarily treatments like eyelash extensions and waxing cosmetic surgery is becoming everyday maintenance.

For this age group of millennials and baby boomers who are more informed about non-surgical treatment and what can be achieved. Unlike in the 2000s when cosmetic treatment was kept hush, the effects are far subtler. Were previously treatments were admitting to your body’s failure today’s perceptions have changed as part of a broader shift in cultural norms.

Celebs such as Kim Kardashian openly share their routines as part of everyday beauty conversation, posting images on Instagram and YouTube videos. The perception that women get cosmetic surgery because they have low self-esteem is questionable with a lot of women preferring their appearance enhanced.

Ultimately the rise of cosmetic surgery has come to be as people want to look and feel their best using the tools modern technology has to offer. As long as people are doing it for the right reason, everyone has the right to feel their best in their own bodies.