A new Four Corners investigation into Cosmetic Surgery has revealed shocking practices involving free treatments and discounted surgery for influencers who have established a decent following.
It’s no secret that Instagram beauty influencers enjoy a variety of perks that come with the job, for example free skincare and makeup products and invitations to free non-invasive treatments such as facials or lasers. The spas and clinics offering the freebies expect to reach the influencers’ thousands – sometimes millions – of followers, which can be a very cost-effective marketing strategy.
But what about free invasive treatments that carry significantly more risks with them? Should Botox and filler ever be offered as contra to influencers, who tend to be in their early to mid 20s and arguably don’t need injectables yet? While this may be up for discussion, it’s another story when plastic surgery is offered at a heavily discounted rate to influencers. Even more so when a surgeon approaches a young Instagrammer, as in the case of Kate Szepanowski, who told Four Corners she regularly gets free treatments in return for Instagram endorsements, but that the freebies were taken to an arguably unsafe level when a surgeon called her up to offer her a butt lift.
The procedure, which has a significantly higher death rate compared to other cosmetic surgery, involves the reshaping of the butt through fat transfer. The Sydney surgeon, who remains unnamed but is, according to Szepanowski, not a trained Plastic Surgeon, allegedly called the 23 year-old and offered her 50% off the full price. Szepanowski went for a consultation appointment, but backed out after because she “got scared.”
Four Corners also revealed the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS) has put out a warning to its members about mortality rates relating to Brazilian Butt Lifts, with one in 3,000 people having the procedure dying. In comparison, the average mortality rate for all other plastic surgery procedures is one in 55,000.
Undoubtedly unethical, this surgeon-influencer relationship might be more common than expected seeing the rise in social media presences among surgeons who aren’t afraid to Snapchat or Instagram procedures. It’s safe to say more regulations and stricter guidelines regarding social media endorsements in the aesthetics industry are desperately needed.