Since Love Island charged onto our screens back in 2015, there has been a lot of backlash in terms of the lack of diversity when it comes to body type and looks. The women all have ‘perfect’ bikini bods, and the men are all completely chiseled. And even if you don’t watch the show, it’s hard to totally avoid it as it’s all over social media.
In fact, in the last few years, cosmetic and aesthetic practitioners have seen a rise in the number of young women wanting to look like the ones they see on screen. So much so that it’s been termed ‘the Love Island effect’. But why are so many young women striving to achieve the look, and how can we look great while avoiding the so called Love Island effect?
What is the Love Island effect - and is it normal?
The Love Island effect refers to the increase in young women (and men) getting cosmetic treatments due to the influence of TV stars. Shows like Love Island have been accused of promoting a so-called ‘ideal’ version of women - with plump lips, a square jaw, flat stomach and big boobs. But of course, the majority of us don’t fit into this category, which can, at times, lead us to feel pretty inadequate. It’s human nature to want to be the best we can possibly be - and even more so to compare ourselves to others, but there’s a fine line between subtle enhancements and drastic changes.
Several clinics have seen an enormous 200% increase in demand for lip fillers since one particular contestant in the 2018 series, and you only have to look around to see the number of young women who have had this treatment - and often far too much of it. Fine if you’re going for the cookie cutter look, but what happened to looking like yourself?
To enhance or to change?
Botox and fillers are fantastic treatments that can help enhance looks but, personally, I have always been a believer that that’s what they should be doing: enhancing to give a natural look, so you can only see a subtle difference. From our thirties, collagen production reduces, meaning that wrinkles start to show, our skin begins to sag and our lips become thinner, so it’s understandable that we might want to regain a rejuvenated look and a bit of lost confidence (and volume). But now it seems it isn’t just about replacing volume. Lip fillers have become a bit of a trend that a lot of very young women feel they should be having - and I find that excessive volume is often their main goal.
The worrying thing is that fillers are not prescription. This means that anyone can get their hands on it and inject the substance. This is terrifying for several reasons: Without the right training and qualifications, A) If something goes wrong, who’s going to fix it?; B) The chances are you won’t look great. What you don’t want is a pair of lips that is seen before you are.
It’s also vital that the practitioner is able to distinguish between someone wanting to enhance the way they look, and body dysmorphia. If someone suffers with body dysmorphia, and completely wants to change the way they look - particularly a young woman - they should be guided to the help of a psychologist in order to get the help they really need rather than undergo a treatment they might later regret.
But there are too many unscrupulous, non-medically qualified practitioners out there who are willing to keep on injecting the ml - even when it’s clear that no more is needed. There are even practitioners out there who offer a Love Island package, suggesting treatments you can have to look like the onscreen stars. They also undercut medically qualified practitioners to attract a lot more clients. But price reflects expertise.
While we might want to look our best, we don’t need to look like anyone else. It’s not about trying to look like others, or falling into the trap of thinking, ‘well, she’s had it, so I need it too’.
What’s often forgotten - or not even realised - is that non-invasive treatments such as Botox and fillers can be wonderful - when done by an experienced, medically qualified practitioner - and when done subtly. But unfortunately, for many young women, it’s a case of ‘go big or go home’.
How to avoid the Love Island effect
So, how do you avoid the Love Island effect but look your best you? Well, this comes down to several factors. A healthy diet, drinking plenty of water, exercise and great skincare are all the basics, and then if you still really want to make some enhancements, speak to a medically qualified practitioner who can help you determine the right non-invasive treatments based on your expectations.
Consider what it is that you really want to enhance and why. And if you decide that a treatment such as Botox or dermal fillers is for you, always make sure you go to someone who really knows what they are doing. It’s okay not to look like you belong on a reality TV show. In fact, I think it’s great.