TikTok has established itself as a beauty trend production line. You can rely on the platform to deliver everything from the latest Halloween looks to expert-approved make-up hacks and while we'll happily scroll through liner application tips, lip gloss recommendations and product reviews, TikTok isn't the first place most of us would think to go to for information on aesthetic treatments. And nor should it be – if you need advice in this area you should be booking in for a consultation with a trained medical professional. Nevertheless, the cosmetic treatment conversation on TikTok is raging, with users taking to the app to discuss new-gen treatments like Traptox (AKA ‘Barbie Botox’) and quickly sending them viral. The latest injectable to find itself under the TikTok spotlight? Lemon Bottle fat dissolving injections.
So far, the buzz around the treatment has amassed a cool 56.7M views on TikTok and counting, with a decent proportion of the content seemingly created by trained aesthetic professionals.
Fat-dissolving injections are by no means a new phenomenon, in fact they first made headlines in 2009 when Italian brand Aqualyx made waves in the industry. Aqualyx arrived in the UK five years later. The appeal? Fat dissolving injections sounded low-key, non-invasive and easy. Diet culture was rife in the early '00s and while fat reduction treatments were steadily growing in popularity, procedures like liposuction involved a considerable amount of downtime. Fat dissolving injections must have sounded like an express option by comparison.
That said, these things are medical grade. GP and dermatologist Dr Sonia Khorana says, 'fat dissolving injections are deemed as medical devices regulated by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Currently, medical devices placed on the UK market must have a UKCA or CE marking, which symbolises the manufacturer's claim that the product meets all the general safety and performance requirements. Some popular fat dissolving injection brands already widely known on the market include Aqualyx, Belkyra (FDA approved for submental fat) and Celluform, although nowadays there are many other fat-dissolving injectable brands available too.' And do they work? 'There is enough scientific data proving the effectiveness of these three aforementioned injectables (Aqualyx, Belkyra and Celluform) to reduce unwanted fat deposits,' says Dr Khorana. The jury's out on the rest.
As for the fat dissolving injections brand currently dividing opinion on TikTok? That would be Lemon Bottle.
What are Lemon Bottle fat dissolving injections?
Lemon Bottle is a new brand of fat dissolving injections currently being offered by various aesthetic clinics across the UK including JJ Vanity in London. Fully qualified lead practitioner and founder of JJ Vanity in London, Jamilah Ainouche, administers both Lemon Bottle and Aqualyx injections in her clinic and claims Lemon Bottle has quickly become the clinic's most popular fat dissolving product.
Ainouche explains, 'Lemon Bottle is a new advanced lipolysis solution made for both the face and body. It involves a high-concentration of fat dissolving solution that combines Riboflavin (vitamin B2), Lecithin, Bromelain, and other premium ingredients that accelerate the metabolism of fat cells. Riboflavin (vitamin B2) is a water-soluble vitamin that activates the metabolism of fat. Lecithin is derived from vegetables, which destroys and transports unnecessary fat cells. Bromelain (pineapple extract), assists the breakdown of fat cells and reduces inflammation. In addition to accelerating fat breakdown and boosting your metabolism, this product supports the production of collagen, which plays a big role when it comes to maintaining your skin's elasticity and firmness.'
With numerous Lemon Bottle clients taking to TikTok to showcase their treatment results, visibility of the brand is rising. Rebecca Johnson, founder of Heart Aesthetics, puts the popularity of Lemon Bottle injections down to the price tag, 'Unlike other fat dissolving injections Lemon Bottle is relatively cheap and requires minimal downtime making it more appealing and accessible.'
And then there's the name. Brands like Aqualyx may have enough scientific studies behind them to convince medical professionals like Dr Khorana, but the pharmaceutical-sounding name is unlikely to earn itself a viral hashtag on TikTok. Think up a name that sounds like it belongs in a sweet shop, however, and you're onto a winner. Not only does your brand gain social media traction, but it sounds fluffy enough to gain mass appeal, to give the impression of an entry-level cosmetics procedure that's all results, no pain or discomfort. But what's the reality? And should we be worried about Lemon Bottle's fast rise to popularity and notoriety?
Who can buy Lemon Bottle fat dissolving injections?
It is important to note that only licensed practitioners and those who have received Lemon Bottle training are equipped to administer the brand's fat dissolving treatment. Ainouche notes, 'only qualified practitioners can administer Lemon Bottle fat dissolving injections. The general public should not be trying to buy Lemon Bottle or any other cosmetic injections. These products are only to be purchased by qualified professionals.'
Johnson adds, 'all reputable suppliers of Lemon Bottle require registration of practitioner's licenses in order to purchase the product. We’d always recommend asking for your practitioner's credentials and license prior to treatment.'
What happens during a Lemon Bottle fat dissolving treatment?
As with all aesthetic treatments, ahead of the treatment you will need to book in for a consultation with your practitioner to ensure you are a suitable candidate for the treatment and have a clear understanding of the procedure. If you are not offered a consultation, consider this a red flag and make sure to check your practitioner's credentials. You can do so on the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners' website or the Save Face website.
Founder of Cinch Aesthetics , Vaz, says, on the day of the treatment, 'the area is cleaned and a topical numbing cream is applied to the skin. Once the skin is numb, the area is marked using a skin safe pencil and the Lemon Bottle solution is then injected directly into the fat cells. It is a quick procedure and most clients score it a two or three out of ten for pain. At the end of the treatment your practitioner will talk you through the aftercare.'
She also adds, the treatment can be administered in most areas where there are stubborn pockets of fat. The most popular areas for treatment include the chin, arms, stomach, upper hips and back.
How do Lemon Bottle fat dissolving injections work?
Once the solution is injected directly into the subcutaneous fat, Ainouche explains, 'the ingredients disrupt the membranes of fat cells in the treated area causing the fat cells to break down and then be naturally eliminated through the body's lymphatic system as waste.'
Are Lemon Bottle fat dissolving injections safe?
Qualified practitioners and medical professionals are divided on the safety of Lemon Bottle fat dissolving injections.
Dr Khorana explains that Lemon Bottle does not contain deoxycholic acids (the active ingredient in injections like Aqualyx, which are naturally occurring bile salts that our bodies produce in order to break down fats), therefore it is classified as a cosmetic product rather than a medical one and is not required to be CE marked.
Dr Yannis Alexandrides, 111SKIN Co-Founder and 111 Harley St. Medical Director, would proceed with caution. '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,' he says, 'at present, the current research is too flimsy for me to feel safe and confident to offer this treatment myself. New non-surgical treatments like this one need to be properly assessed and scrutinised by scientific publications. 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 - a form of cell injury that can lead to the death of tissue - especially if you do not go to a qualified prescriber.'
Emergency Medicine and Medical Aesthetics Clinician, Nathan Pelling, also adds, 'there are no clinical trails or clinical evidence that supports the use of Lemon Bottle fat dissolving Injections. To claim something has little to no risks or has little to no side effects is quite frankly ludicrous, you cannot say this if there is no clinical evidence to support this. We cannot rely on anecdotal evidence of patients that have had this treatment or those offering these treatments saying they haven’t had any side effects. We have no idea what the long-term side effects of this may be as it has not be studied and we are not going to know for many months or years down the line. The only documented, studied and approved substance with clinical evidence to support its use is deoxycholic acid.'
That said, even this well-documented substance comes with associated risks and side effects, the difference is they have been studied.
Anyone considering an injectable fat dissolving treatment should seek advice from a registered medical professional who can comprehensively explain any relevant procedures and outline the risks involved. They are best placed to make treatment recommendations that prioritise your health and safety, whether that means recommending a brand backed by sufficient scientific studies, or pointing you in the direction of a practitioner that possesses all the required qualifications and credentials. Cosmetic procedures of any kind are not something to be entered into lightly, regardless of whether they are trending or not.