TikTok Trends: Please don't try to give yourself fillers

Health Canada says using needle-free devices like Hyaluron pens are dangerous — no matter what TikTok says.

Emma Jones 3 minute read October 21, 2021
hyaluron pen tiktok

Many elements of skincare are harmless — but Hyaluron pens are dangerous. Getty)

The FDA is following in the footsteps of Health Canada and warning people about a concerning TikTok trend, telling users that injecting derma fillers with needle-free devices – most commonly called Hyaluron pen – is never a safe bet.

In videos posted by several different accounts – many of which have been taken down – users place a loaded Hyaluron pen on their lips and inject a substance into their face, with the goal of either reducing wrinkles or plumping up their lips. One user injects multiple different sites on her upper lip, excitedly telling the camera “I’m just so excited right now, I’ve just never had [lips].”

According to the safety warning, “The FDA is aware of serious injuries and in some cases, permanent harm to the skin, lips, or eyes with the use of needle-free devices for injection of lip and facial fillers… Needle-free injection devices for aesthetic purposes do not provide enough control over where the injected product is placed.”

Users claim that the substance loaded into the device is Hylauronic acid, a temporary filler commonly used in medical spas and dermatology clinics for fine lies, wrinkles, and to fill out areas of the face like the lips or even cheeks. However, as one dermatologist points out, there’s no guarantee these products that are bought online are exactly what’s advertised.

“Those are something you can buy online that no doctor uses because we don’t know exactly what’s in them,” Dr. Shirley Chi, M.D., an LA-board-certified dermatologist told Bustle. “Board-certified dermatologists and plastic surgeons buy their fillers directly from the companies that make them.”

The FDA warning further confirms that there are no dermal fillers available without a prescription, and warns that “lip and facial filler products sold directly to consumers online may be contaminated with chemicals or infectious organisms.”

What are need-free devices?

Hyaluron pens inject the chosen substance into your skin using just pressure, not an injection. They’re apparently relatively painless, and were initially designed for use by diabetic patients to make injecting insulin easy and pain-free. However, no Hyaluron pens have been approved for use in Canada.

Health Canada has previously issued a warning that needle-free dermal filler devices are not licensed for sale in Canada, and that the use of these devices carries the risk of developing hematomas and abscesses, or contracting transmissible diseases. Importing, advertising or selling unlicensed medical devices is illegal in Canada, according to the Medical Devices Regulations.

Another major concern with use of any injectables is cutting off blood vessels in the face – either through the injectable material entering the blood vessel itself or creating external pressure on the vessel that pinches it closed. Depending on where the filler is being injected, cutting off blood vessels can carry serious risk – including necrosis (where tissue actually dies), stroke or blindness. Injecting anything into the face requires a solid knowledge of anatomy to reduce this risk, and an open channel to an emergency room if things go wrong.

Some users are not heeding the warning, posting on TikTok or writing in blogs that they intend to continue to use this method, since the results only last a few months. However, as dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman explained to Insider, getting rid of your laugh lines isn’t as easy as buying a new dress online. If things don’t work out you can always buy a new dress, she said — but “how are you going to buy a new face?”

Have a TikTok Challenge you think we should be talking about? Let us know at info@healthing.ca.

emjones@postmedia.com@jonesyjourn