'Barbie tox' is taking over the cosmetic space. Here's why doctors are worried.

Gather around, friends. Because there's a new cosmetic surgery treatment that experts say is booming — and we're going to need to talk about it because it's truly everywhere right now.

It's called 'trap tox' or 'Barbie tox', and in case you haven't heard of it, just take a look at social media. It's all over the internet.

The hashtag #traptox has racked up millions upon millions of views on TikTok, and is quickly becoming one of the most popular cosmetic treatments out there — with people sharing everything from their before and afters to what the procedure involves.

Watch: 'I asked "The Doll Maker" what she'd do to my face'. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

So, what exactly is 'trap tox'? And why is it so popular right now?

To put it simply: People are now getting injectables in their necks to make them look slimmer. And there's one reason behind it.

We asked a cosmetic doctor everything we need to know.

What is 'trap tox'?

Also dubbed 'Barbie tox', 'trap tox' is a treatment that involves anti-wrinkle injections to the shoulder or trapezius muscle (also known as the 'traps').


While the procedure is intended to help reduce the pain of chronic migraines or chronic tension in the neck and shoulders, cosmetic experts are reporting a surge in people getting it purely for aesthetic reasons.

As Dr Imaan Joshi from Skin Essentials told us, the treatment claims to offer benefits for "shoulder slimming" and creating a “more 'feminine' shoulder profile".

Similar to anti-wrinkle injections in the face, the treatment is temporary and the effects can last around to three-to-four months.

While 'trap tox' is not necessarily a new thing (it's actually been one of the most popular procedures in Korea for years), the treatment has exploded in recent months, with Dr Joshi confirming the movement is reflective of what she's seeing in her clinic. 

"There’s certainly been an uptick, at minimum, in requests for 'trap tox,'" she said.

And it's all thanks to — you guessed it — Barbie.

"Trap tox isn’t new for functional issues such as an overactive side that causes pain, affects the ability to lift at the gym etc., but the focus on its use for slimming, which requires big doses, seems to have seen a recent boom."

And while cosmetic trends come and go, cosmetic professionals around the world are predicting that interest in this treatment is going nowhere. 

What's involved in the 'trap tox' procedure?

As the trapezius muscle is quite large, it takes a fairly hefty dose of anti-wrinkle injection to perform the procedure.


"Large doses of toxin (100 units are the starting dose for both sides) are injected alongside the trapezius muscle," said Dr Joshi.

We're just going to leave this here:

@glo_haus Trapezius Slimming with Nurse Issy. #glohaus #brisbaneinjectables #botox #traptox #barbiebotox #trapeziusslimming #cosmeticinjector #cosmeticnurse ♬ original sound - Glo Haus

"Depth of the injections is important to avoid missing the muscle, as well as technique, to avoid the rare possibility of puncturing the lung inadvertently."

Yes. Puncturing the lung.

Meaning? This is not a procedure you want to cheap out on — if you're interested in it, you'll want to do your research and see an experienced injector. And it can be pricey, especially keeping in mind it's not a permanent procedure and will require top-up treatments.

"The cost can be significant given the large dose, which lasts approximately six months on average." 

Who is a good candidate?

Dr Joshi said she focuses on this treatment for functional reasons rather than aesthetic.

"So, someone with chronic pain, headaches and other functional problems related to an overactive muscle.

"As it’s a drug, the usual contraindications would apply. You can’t be pregnant or have other reasons not to have anti-wrinkle injections."

Other side effects include bruising, swelling and the possibility of some muscle weakness.

The trapezius muscle, of course, covers the back of your neck muscle and upper back and is literally responsible for doing everything from turning your head to raising your arms — so it's not something you'd want to do willy-nilly without consulting your doctor.


Dr Joshi said there's also the concern of large and frequent dosing.

"Toxin resistance is a new thing that seems to be emerging in the medical literature," she told us. 

"There are some concerns that large, frequent doses used inappropriately for aesthetic reasons may lead to resistance and will eventually limit the use of toxins for medical purposes if needed down the track e.g. following stroke, Bell’s palsy, etc."

@drimaanjoshi Replying to @tonche28 ♬ original sound - Imaan Joshi

"As always, a largely unregulated market pushed as 'just beauty' means these finer points are overlooked or poorly understood by patients and often, practitioners themselves, without thought to the long-term consequences of their choices."

When we asked if 'trap tox' or 'Barbie tox' will increase in popularity, Dr Joshi said, "Sadly, yes."

"It’s taken us so long as a society to move away from blonde, blue-eyed young women as the ideal for ALL women — it’s disheartening to see us potentially going backwards."

Have you heard of 'trap tox'? What are your thoughts? Share with us in the comment section below.

Feature image: TikTok; @cymaaesthetics.

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