health

Can facial fillers and other procedures actually make you look older?

Image: Kylie Jenner (right) with her older sister Kendall (via Getty) 

Kylie Jenner has only just turned 18, but over the past few months she’s increasingly drawn comparisons to her big sister Kim Kardashian, who is 34.

This partly comes down to Kylie’s evolving fashion and makeup choices, but social media users and websites are also pointing to facial tweaks as a potential reason. In May, the reality star admitted she’d had lip fillers; however, cosmetic experts suggest she could’ve also undergone jaw reshaping, facial fillers, a mandible implant, and/or changes to her eyes.

So can facial fillers and procedures make some young women look older than they actually are? Plastic surgeon Dr Benjamin Norris from Costhetics.com.au doesn’t believe this is necessarily the case, but he says these procedures can make their age “indeterminate”.

“Given we’re used to women in their late 30s and early 40s having fillers and Botox [which] can successfully make them look 10, 15 years younger, I guess if younger women are having the same procedures… they all come together at a similar age. I would argue that in fact everyone is looking a little uniform,” he explains.

What Kylie Jenner looked like in 2011, age 14 (Getty)

"You can see plenty of women... where you're hard-pushed to say exactly how old they are. For an older woman that's a good thing because they probably look younger, but for a 20-year-old looking like a 30-year-old, you'd argue that's not necessarily a good thing because she's actually aged herself."

Dr Norris says the similar look among many women who have had facial procedures generally comes down to the quality of the surgeon's work.

"Well done fillers, Botox and non-surgical treatments of the face are subtle and... a very gentle improvement on what the patient already has," he explains.

"Poorly done fillers make everyone look the same. There's that very 'triangular' look, where they've all got quite massive cheeks, narrowed eyes or almond eyes, and plumped lips."

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Where Kylie Jenner is concerned, Dr Norris says you can only appreciate how different she looks when you compare current photos with older ones.

"If you didn't see the before and after, you'd go, 'That's a mid-20s woman', she has basically started to look like all the other [Kardashian] sisters," he says. (Post continues after gallery.)

It's important to note that in Australia, the law dictates injectibles cannot be administered without being prescribed by the doctor, usually following a conversation about the patient's reasons for it and potential allergies.

Dr Norris says he would simply refuse to give an 18-year-old fillers for sculpting reasons, unless they're intending to correct aesthetic irregularities like acne scarring or prominent bumps on the nose.

"For a properly informed 18-year-old, who is an adult and more than capable of making their own decisions themselves, it's appropriate to use [fillers] subtly for those particular reasons," he says.

"Merely using them to plump up your cheeks or plump up your lips doesn't make sense to me."

"Poorly done fillers make everyone look the same. There's that very 'triangular' look."

Furthermore, if a young woman walked in to his practice saying, "I want to look like this celebrity" or asking for fuller cheeks, Dr Norris says he'd be concerned that a form of body dysmorphia was at play.

"I think there's increasing pressure on young women to conform to a particular look, and I don't agree with that. If you look at selfies... they suck their cheeks in and they pout their lips, which automatically is going towards that rather 'triangular' look. It makes the cheekbones look fuller, pouting makes the lips look fuller, and they're narrowing their lower face."

Have you ever had facial fillers? Were you pleased with the outcome?