Patient Safety Alert: Children Injecting Hyaluronic Acid Via Pens

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ASDSA members, who are all board certified dermatologists, have found questionable social media videos in which children use these pens to self-inject and promote their use to peers.

ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill.Feb. 18, 2021 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association (ASDSA) wants to alert the public about children buying and using “hyaluron pens” to inject hyaluronic acid filler into the epidermal and upper dermal layers of the skin. ASDSA members, who are all board certified dermatologists, have found questionable social media videos in which children use these pens to self-inject and promote their use to peers.

These pens are medical devices and were first developed for insulin delivery. The use of air pressure technology causes these pens to deliver the hyaluronic acid to insert Nano Scale molecules of the filler through the skin. Consumers are told that these devices can create volume and shape and lift lips, nasolabial lines, marionette lines, 11 lines and forehead wrinkles.

“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 ASDSA President Mathew Avram, MD, JD. “Facial injections require an in-depth knowledge and expertise of anatomy and, when left to untrained consumers, pose the risk of serious injury.”

While marketing materials for the pens claim that the hyaluronic acid only reaches the papillary layer of the dermis – making this a safe treatment with no occlusion – as well as no sharp tips that would puncture blood vessels, ASDSA members feel that the risk of injury remains.

ASDS member Sandra Lee, MD (aka Dr. Pimple Popper) shared, “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. 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.”

Additionally, the California Society for Dermatology and Dermatological Surgery, CalDerm, is also very concerned and supportive of ASDSA’s efforts. ASDSA and CalDerm member, Elan Newland, MD said, “We are concerned about California children falling prey to products that are not appropriate and safe for them to use. The power of social media is very strong, especially for impressionable teenagers. CalDerm supports alerting consumers and regulators of the dangers of these pens.”

ASDSA has contacted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration with its safety concerns and hopes to work together on keeping medical devices in the hands of trained and properly educated medical professionals. Additionally, ASDSA is alerting state medical and estheticians boards regarding these patient safety concerns and alerting consumers directly about the risks through social media and other education materials. Contact advocacy@asds.net if you have questions.

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