The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association (ASDSA) has issued a patient safety alert1 after reports of children self-injecting hyaluronic acid (HA) via pen have surfaced on social media.
Videos have appeared online of children buying and using “hyaluron pens” to inject hyaluronic acid filler into the epidermal and upper dermal layers of their skin, as well as promoting the use of these pens.
The pens are intended medical devices initially developed for insulin delivery, according to a press release from the organization. ASDSA states the use of air pressure technology causes the pens to deliver nano scale molecules of HA into the skin.
“Whenever considering any type of cosmetic procedure, consumers should always consult with a board-certified dermatologist to ensure they’re using the right treatment and avoid any adverse events,” said Mathew Avram, MD, JD, president of ASDSA. “Facial injections require an in-depth knowledge and expertise of anatomy and, when left to untrained consumers, pose the risk of serious injury.”
Marketing materials for these “hyaluron pens” claim that the devices are able to create volume and shape while lifting lips, nasolabial lines, marionette lines, 11 lines and forehead wrinkles.
They also claim the HA only reaches the papillary layer of the dermis, thus causing no occlusion and puncturing of blood vessels, essentially making this delivery method safe.
ASDSA members feel the risk of injury remains, according to the press release.
“TikTok is proving to be an extremely powerful platform to communicate, entertain and even educate, which is why many physicians are getting involved and finding success there,” said ASDS member Sandra Lee, MD, of Dr. Pimple Popper fame, in the release. “Unfortunately, just like the world wide web, there is misinformation there and even dangerous lies. It’s very concerning to see young people posting a How-To on injecting their own lips with hyaluronic acid serum using an ‘airgun’ pen, which acts much like a BB gun to push with force the product under the skin. So many things can go wrong.”
According to the organization, ASDSA has contacted the FDA regarding its concern for the safety of these pens and has also alerted state medical and estheticians boards about patient safety concerns.
Consumers have been alerted directly through social media and other education materials about the risks.
1. ASDSA Members Have Found Questionable Social Media Videos in Which Children Use Pens Designed for Insulin Delivery to Self-Inject Hyaluronic Acid. American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association; 2021.