Wellness·4 min read

Why Some People Get "Addicted" to Botox and Filler

A woman lying down while a provider puts a needle in her lip
Design: theSkimm | Photo: iStock
March 12, 2024

If you’re struggling to recall when injectables like Botox and fillers were for the rich and famous, let’s go back in time: From 2000 to 2015, lip augmentation procedures increased 50%. And between 2016 and 2022, the use of common fillers increased from 2 million to 5 million, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. The increase has highlighted an unwanted side effect of these tweakments: Many people find it hard to stop going under the needle once they start. 

Just take a look at the “watch me get addicted to filler” videos on TikTok, highlighting many women’s journeys to getting seemingly addicted to lip filler and Botox. This is in part because most tweakments are temporary, so if you want to maintain a certain look, you have to top up, says Ann Kearney-Cooke, PhD, a licensed psychologist. So once you start changing your face, can you ever stop?  

What can raise your risk factor

Many people have a healthy relationship with these procedures. “[They] actually help people with quality of life and their self-confidence,” says Evan Rieder, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and psychiatrist.

But for others, the addictive feeling is real. Because the satisfaction period after a procedure can be short-lived — triggering a domino effect of more tweakments, says board-certified plastic surgeon Lara Devgan, MD. How seemingly hooked you get can depend on a couple things:

Your mental health

Some studies have found a correlation between body dysmorphic disorder and cosmetic procedures. And a negative body image can make you vulnerable to feeling perpetually unsatisfied with your face, even after procedures, says Devgan. She and other experts call this feeling “perception drift.” 


Photoshopped and filtered faces online make it all too easy to feel that no matter what you do, you still don’t stack up against societal beauty standards. That, plus the hours spent staring at our faces in Zoom meetings, only amplifies perceived flaws. It’s especially risky for younger generations, “who were raised with their iPhones in their hands,” says Rieder. 

What to do if you think you are (or will get) hooked

If you’re already months or years down this road and don’t know how to stop, try to:

  • Detox from social media. Influencers and celebrities can impact your desire to get more and more filler or Botox. So can ads, or even friends, says Rieder. And maybe ditch the filters and Photoshop. 

  • Remember that tweakments come with risks. Despite how casual they may seem, they’re still considered procedures. “A lot of people are getting them done with providers and in settings that are not necessarily safe,” which can put your health at risk, says Rieder.

  • Talk to a mental health professional. Someone who specializes in compulsive behavior or body dysmorphia may be a good place to start.

If you recently started or are interested in getting injectables, but are nervous you won’t be able to stop…

  • Assess your ‘why’ for getting work done. “Individuals who view these treatments as occasional enhancements rather than regular necessities are more likely to maintain control over their use,” says Devgan. So if your happiness hinges on meeting a certain beauty standard, that may be a risk factor, says Kearney-Cooke.  

  • Get treated by a board-certified provider. And if they tell you no to more tweakments, consider that a green flag. “It’s the job of the provider to show you, ‘Actually, your lips are actually [still] bigger and they look appropriate,’” says Rieder. 

  • Take before and after photos. They’re helpful to refer back to where you started and “trace your cosmetic journey,” says Rieder.


Living in the era of antiaging and the Instagram face, it’s hard not to want to reach for an unattainable beauty standard. But chasing that goal is leaving many women more unsatisfied with their faces than when they started.

This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It does not constitute a medical opinion, medical advice, or diagnosis or treatment of any particular condition. 

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