FOR Cassidy Valentine, lip fillers nearly cost her more than the £270 price tag.
The 22-year-old beauty blogger says her lip nearly fell off and DIED after hyaluronic acid - a substance used in some fillers - was wrongly injected into an artery by a London beautician.
Within hours of the 'botched' treatment, Cassidy was in agonising pain and terrified, with her lips swelling up rapidly in the middle of Asda. By the next morning, they were black and blue.
Fortunately, the YouTuber's pout was saved by kind-hearted doctors, who agreed to inject her for free with an enzyme that dissolves acid after they failed to "find a pulse" in her swollen lip.
'Moments from falling off'
But she was horrified to be told that if she'd waited any longer, her lip would have fallen off.
Now, Cassidy, from north London, is backing Fabulous's new Had Our Fill campaign to regulate Britain's growing filler industry, having learned the hard way just how dangerous cosmetic treatment can be.
From Kylie Jenner and Katy Perry to Love Island stars, plenty of celebs have admitted tweaking their faces with them.
At present, fillers - injections which are used to plump up lips and cheeks - are totally unregulated and you don’t need any qualifications at all to buy and inject them. There is also no legal age limit for dermal filler, despite the dangers.
Our campaign aims to make fillers illegal for under 18s, crack down on social media sites plugging 'bargain' treatments, and establish a government register to accredit all practitioners.
HAD OUR FILL CAMPAIGN
BRITAIN'S Botox and filler addiction is fuelling a £2.75billion industry.
The wrinkle-busting and skin plumping treatments account for 9 out of 10 cosmetic procedures.
50% of women and 40% of men aged 18 to 34 want to plump up their pouts and tweak their faces.
Fillers are totally unregulated and incredibly you don’t need to have ANY qualifications to buy and inject them.
83% of fillers are performed by people with no medical training, often in unsanitary environments - with devastating results.
Women have been left with rotting tissue, needing lip amputations, lumps and even blinded by botched jobs.
Despite the dangers, there is no legal age limit for dermal filler, which is why Fabulous has launched Had Our Fill, a campaign to:
- Make fillers illegal for under 18s
- Crackdown on social media sites plugging fillers
- Establish a government register to accredit all practitioners
We're working in conjunction with Save Face and are backed by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) and British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS).
We want anyone considering a non-surgical cosmetic treatment to be well-informed to make a safe decision.
We’ve Had Our Fill of rogue traders and sham clinics - have you?
Free fillers - at a price
It was in April last year that Cassidy's lip filler horror began.
The blogger was at home when a direct message popped into her Instagram account.
While this in itself wasn't unusual - she has 22,000 followers on Instagram and 280,000 on her YouTube account, where companies regularly reach out to her - this message was different.
It was from a London-based aesthetics clinic asking Cassidy if she wanted free fillers in her lips in exchange for her promoting them on her page - an offer that left her shocked.
"I immediately said no," she tells Fabulous. "I didn't want young girls who look at my page to think I wasn't happy with my appearance and needed fillers."
She adds: "I don't want to be the type of person to influence boys and girls to change how they look when I am trying to bring the message across 'you are good enough how you are'.
"But the idea of me getting fillers had been planted in my head."
'I thought fuller lips would make me feel better'
Cassidy, who suffers from anxiety, admits she was feeling vulnerable at the time - partly caused by social media, where she's confronted with pictures of "gorgeous girls" every day.
"I was feeling down about my appearance at the time," the blogger tells us.
"There were all these gorgeous girls online who I would look at and I felt huge compared to them.
"I had gained a lot of weight and developed alopecia and I wanted to feel pretty... they all had the best hair and looked great. I thought fuller lips might go some way to making me feel better about myself."
£270 for 10 minutes
So, the very next day, Cassidy visited the clinic who had contacted her and got fillers injected in her lips.
"I'd watched loads of YouTube videos about people having fillers so I knew what it looked like and how long it took," she says. "I was shocked, therefore, when it only took 10 minutes. It didn't seem long at all."
It cost Cassidy £270 to get the fillers done by a beautician and immediately, she felt uncomfortable.
"The woman injecting them asked if I bruised easily and I said 'no'," she adds.
"I could feel my lip swelling up and it was painful."
FILLERS BY NUMBERS
£2.75 billion - estimated value of UK’s non-surgical cosmetic industry
59% - 13 to 24 year olds see lip fillers as routine as getting a haircut or manicure
68% - young people say friends have had fillers
160 - different types of dermal filler available for use in Europe, compared to only 10 in the US where they have tighter regulations
1,617 - complaints received by Save Face last year regarding unregistered practitioners
1.2 million - posts for #lipfillers on Instagram
3.9 million - Google searches for ‘lip fillers’ in UK last year
40% - 13 to 19 year olds say images on social media cause them to worry about body image
Agony in Asda
Still, Cassidy left the clinic and headed to Asda with her mum Jackie, 48.
But once inside the supermarket, her lips started to swell more and more.
"I felt worse and worse and pulled my scarf over my face," she recalls.
"My mum was worried so I took pictures and sent them to my friend who works in a clinic. I had a gut feeling something was wrong, my lip got bigger and bigger and bigger on one side.
"She called me straight away."
Cassidy was referred to another aesthetic clinic, who advised her to come in urgently. And by the time she arrived at the clinic the next day, she was horrified by the state of her top lip.
"I couldn't believe the size of it," she recalls.
"It was white at the top. At the new clinic in Harley Street I was treated for free and doctors told me I had had filler injected into my artery and if I had come in any later it would have fallen off."
Alarmingly, the medics touched her lip and "couldn't find a pulse".
Doctors told me I'd had filler injected into my artery and if I had come in any later it would have fallen offCassidy Valentine
"My lip was very close to dying," she adds.
"I was injected in the lips with hyaluronidase, a type of enzyme that breaks down fillers.
"They returned to normal within a few days and now I am left with just a tiny scar.
"I contacted the other clinic and they offered me my money back but I didn't want it. I only want to warn other people to be careful."
WHAT ARE FILLERS?
DERMAL fillers are a popular cosmetic procedure where substances are injected into the body for different aesthetic purposes.
Fillers are normally made from hyaluronic acid - a naturally occurring compound in the skin.
The acid stores moisture, making skin look more hydrated and plump.
When it's injected as a gel-like substance, it integrates into skin and draws moisture into the tissue, creating volume.
Fillers are commonly used to enhance facial features by making sharper cheekbones, stronger jawlines or bigger lips, but they can be used all over the body - they're even used in penis enlargement treatments.
The effects of fillers usually last between six and 18 months depending on where they've been used on the body.
Fillers are different to Botox, which blocks nerve signals in the muscles where it's injected to restrict movement and prevent 'expression lines'.
most read in Had Our Fill
'Teens don't need to change their faces'
Cassidy is now backing our campaign to prevent others from going through the same terrifying ordeal she did - and to stop young girls and boys from getting filler treatments.
"I want to make fillers illegal for under 18s," she says. "Teenagers don't need to change their faces which is why I refused to promote the clinic on my Instagram page."
She adds: "That's the same reason I support a crackdown on social media sites supporting fillers.
"Meanwhile, signing up for the the Save Face database, so people know a clinic is a wonderful idea.
"You need to be able to trust someone who is doing what is fundamentally a medical procedure to you."