What Is 'Barbie Botox'? A Doctor Explains the Latest Cosmetic Trend on Social Media — And Why You Probably Don't Need It
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What Is ‘Barbie Botox’? A Doctor Explains the Latest Cosmetic Trend on Social Media — And Why You Probably Don’t Need It

Although the new Barbie movie emphasizes body positivity by featuring a diverse cast and chipping away at unrealistic Barbie doll beauty standards, it has still sparked a rise in cosmetic procedures among those wanting to achieve a “Barbie look.”

#BarbieBotox is the latest cosmetic trend sweeping social media following the release of the film, with the hashtag garnering over 4.4 millions views. Users on TikTok have been documenting themselves getting injections in order to “slim down” the neck and shoulders.

Dr. Amy Wechsler, New York City dermatologist and psychiatrist, spoke to PEOPLE about #BarbieBotox — a new nickname referring to trapezius Botox — and why following the trend may not be the best idea.

Trapezius Botox is a procedure that involves injecting botulinum toxin, or Botox, in between the neck and shoulder to partially relax the trapezius muscles and relieve pain, Wechsler explains.

“The trapezius muscle is a muscle that’s very easily overused in our society for a number of reasons,” she tells PEOPLE. “One, when people are really stressed out — which a lot of us are — they hunch their shoulders and that’s overusing the trap muscle. Two, when people are on their computer screens or if they work with their hands where you’re kind of flexing those muscles and hunched over working in front of you, you’re overusing the muscle.”

“So an overused muscle gets bigger than it usually is and it could make the top of the shoulder, at the base of the neck look a little bit overworked and bigger, bulked up kind of,” Wechsler continues. “It also hurts. Traps that are overused are painful, they’re tender, they’re sore. People feel uncomfortable from it.”

Although trapezius Botox is typically done in order to relieve that back and shoulder pain, some patients get it done in order to create the illusion of a longer and slimmer neck. Following the premiere of Barbie, content creators have documented themselves getting #BarbieBotox injections in an attempt to mimic the neck and shoulders of the dolls.

Wechsler warns that this is not a trend people should follow unless medically necessary, noting that Barbie features are unrealistic and the cosmetic procedure won’t have much of a noticeable effect on the appearance of most people.

“Someone years ago explained that if you take a Barbie doll and make it into an adult woman, the measurements are not really realistic. So I don’t love jumping on social media trends because they often don’t have any basis in science,” she explains. “I think that’s human nature to try to wanna copy a trend, but usually what happens — which is good — is that the trend will fizzle out if it’s not a good idea or if it’s not healthy.”

“The #BarbieBotox trend is more about slimming,” Wechsler adds. “If you relax those muscles it can make a big improvement in the feel and the look. But if someone doesn’t overuse that muscle, I don’t think it does that much.”

Results of trapezius Botox are typically seen two weeks after injections and last for about three to four months.

Although Wechsler says bruising at the injection site is the only common side effect, she admits that in her own practice, she will only inject Botox into the trapezius muscles when they’re actually being overused or causing health problems, because it can otherwise be unsafe in the long term.

“I don’t think they should be injected when they’re not being overused because people do that in an attempt to sort of slim the muscle out, but we need the trapezius muscle,” she stresses. “We need it for the strength of the upper back and the base of the neck and for posture, et cetera. So it’s not a good idea to completely knock this muscle out or make it too weak. That’s not safe.”

“I always say to go talk to an experienced injector. Listen to what that person has to say. Let them examine you and tell you all the pluses and minuses. And if you’re a good candidate and they’re an experienced injector, feel free to try it,” Wechsler notes.


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