And because I’m such an awesome mom, I responded with something along the lines of, “Oh, cool,” without even glancing up. “No, Mommy, LOOK!” my daughter pressed, spastically waving the phone at me. “Loooook!” So I did.
What I saw was a close-up pair of 12-year-old lips, swollen and bruised, with what looked like tiny red dots surrounding them. “Wait. This is Jami?” My daughter nodded. “Are you telling me she got her lips injected?” There was an eye roll, and then my kid snatched her phone back because apparently I had just failed some kind of test. “Ugh, no,” she said. “She was doing the Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge.” Then she turned and sauntered out of the room before I could even attempt to understand what she was saying.
And that’s what they invented Twitter for. A quick search revealed that the #KylieJennerLipChallenge is a very real thing. And a very dangerous one. Because apparently teen girls all over the country are using the hashtag to post graphic images of themselves attempting to duplicate the perfectly poufy pout of the 17-year-old Keeping Up With the Kardashians star. And you know how they’re doing it? By using a shot glass or bottle to suction their lips until the blood vessels burst.
You heard me. And as you can imagine, some of the results are pretty rough. Type in the hashtag on Twitter or Instagram and you’ll find hundreds of photos and videos of the challenge gone wrong—that’s a hashtag now too, btw. Results range from overly swollen, black and blue lips to those with some serious-looking broken blood vessels and cuts.
“The practice of trying to engorge your lips by suctioning can be dangerous,” Dr. Andrew Salzberg, an associate professor of plastic surgery at Mount Sinai, told CBS News. “It’s a traumatic injury when you’re suctioning anything,” he said, adding that “this stunt has the potential to cause a number of long-term and permanent problems, including micro-trauma to the vessels of the lips, scarring, hematoma or fibrosis, which is the thickening of the tissue around the lips that can cause disfigurement and deformities.”
Scary stuff. Meanwhile, Kylie credits her own trout pout to good old-fashion squeezing and pinching, along with some wicked lip liner skills. She took to Twitter yesterday to address the whole disturbing situation: “I’m not here to try & encourage people/young girls to look like me or to think this is the way they should look,” she wrote. “I want to encourage people/young girls like me to be YOURSELF & not be afraid to experiment w your look.”
I’m all for promoting individual experimentation, and I know Kylie is only 17. But this girl has a huge online following, and with so many impressionable teens purposely injuring themselves in an attempt to look like her, I just wish she had used the platform to try and put an end to the challenge. A simple, “Guys, please stop suctioning your faces off” would probably have done the trick.
I know. Too much to ask. But hey—at least we finally have a way to use the phrase Baby Fish Mouth.