But not everyone is convinced. Fat dissolving injections hit peak popularity in the late ’80s and experienced a renaissance in the noughties as a less-invasive, speedier alternative to liposuction or surgery. Since then, popular brands of fat dissolving injections include Aqualyx, which uses deoxycholic acid – a salt found in human bile that aids fat digestion – to destroy fat cells.
The fact that Lemon Bottle does not contain deoxycholic acid, an ingredient that is an industry standard and backed by scientific papers, makes it problematic for some practitioners on various levels.
Board-certified plastic surgeon and 111 skin founder, Dr Yannis Alexandrides, says: “Lemon Bottle fat dissolving injections may be trending on social media but my personal assessment and initial research finds no scientific papers to support the efficacy and safety of this product. At present, the current research is too flimsy for me to feel safe and confident to offer this treatment. New non-surgical treatments like this one need to be properly assessed and scrutinised by scientific publications.”
Dr Vahe disagrees. “The Lemon bottle formula is registered in Korea where it has been used as a fat dissolving treatment for over 3 years,” he notes. “The treatment is covered by one of the largest insurance companies and is sold by key aesthetic product distributors.”
However, it is clear that Dr El Muntasar also has some concerns about the product. In particular, that Lemon Bottle fat dissolving kits are widely available to buy online, as the absence of deoxycholic acid means the product is classified as a cosmetic rather than a medical drug. “People end up doing these procedures at home, thinking it is perfectly safe, when it is particularly dangerous on areas of the face,” he says. “Even experienced doctors don’t inject fat dissolver into the face as people can end up with lifelong complications, including nerve and vascular damage, dry mouth and issues with their eyes.”
The made-for-TikTok name is misleading, too, notes Dr Alexandrides. “When treatments are non-surgical, it can sometimes give people a false sense of security, and they don’t realise that there are possible side effects that can be triggered, such as necrosis [the death of the cells in your body’s tissues], especially if you don’t go to a qualified prescriber.”
For this reason, we would never recommend leaning on TikTok for advice about aesthetic treatments. A consultation with a licensed practitioner ensures any question you may have is answered by a professional and ensures that you are a suitable candidate for a procedure.
Reading the comments below the videos, perhaps what is most concerning is that TikTok is popularising fat dissolving injections to a Gen Z audience – something that can create disordered attitudes towards weight, which can be damaging on both a physical and psychological level.
It is also worth remembering that TikTok trends are fickle and quickly drop off in popularity. Not so long ago, buccal fat removal and its signature ‘suck-on-a-straw’ look was going viral. Now there’s a widespread acceptance that, up until your 60s, buccal fat is actually what makes you look youthful. Not only that, but buccal face massage is the buzzy facial treatment everyone’s talking about right now – for which, guess what, you actually need some fat to work with.
For more from Fiona Embleton, GLAMOUR’s Acting Associate Beauty Director, follow her on @fiembleton.