3 Problematic Health and Beauty Trends on Instagram

Since the Valencia filter days, Instagram has grown to be a major social media site for young netizens. A few years ago all that mattered was how your photos were edited. Fast forward to 2015 where once trivial things like ‘likes’, ‘optimal posting times’ and ‘follower to following ratio’ began to be necessary. The growing importance of these factors has paved the way for branding culture whether it’s personal or business.

Some individuals on Instagram consider being a health and/or beauty guru a part of their personal brand. These people, including celebrities, are sometimes approached by brands to promote a product. It is probably safe to say every Instagram user has seen a promoted post for teatoxes, waist trainers or hair gummies. Collaborations between companies, online influencers, and celebrities have put items like the ones previously mentioned on the map. When grammers see the Kardashian/Jenner clan, Jessica Alba and Vanessa Hudgens (to name a few) promoting a product people become curious about it. Unfortunately, those people tend to be young and naive fans that won’t question what they see online. This is problematic because young consumers are the most vulnerable.  

Tea Toxic

Tea detox companies promise weight loss to its customers. When the words detox and tea are put together, there is a false perception of it being natural and safe. When in reality these products can be misleading, harmful and potentially dangerous. Some teatoxes include different ingredients that can also cause a diuretic effect such as dandelion root, caffeine, and senna leaf. In fact, the National Institutes of Health says there is insufficient evidence that senna promotes weight loss. Dr. Lauretta Ihonor even started a petition against the use of senna in teatoxes stating “Long term use is associated with dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, rebound constipation, colon damage, heart arrhythmia, muscle weakness and liver damage. She goes on to say that "the teatox trend is a worrying one"

Excess consumption can cause death. Bootea's teatoxes are marketed and sold as 28-day teatoxes - this is 3 weeks longer than is safe to take laxatives." The most a teatox can do is cause frequent restroom breaks and the loss of water weight.

Waist Trauma

WHAT ARE the dangers of waist training? Waist trainer is Instagram’s code name for a product that is essentially a corset. There is no medical evidence that waist trainers can slim waists. It is impossible for fat to just disappear into thin air. Your diaphragm and organs are just being shifted around when you wear a waist trainer. Celebrities like Khloe Kardashian promote this device on Instagram.

In reality, an extensive diet, workout routine, and plastic surgery are what gives celebs their figures but when a consumer sees a celebrity in a product they assume that is how they achieved their look. Dr. Christopher Ochner, a weight loss and nutrition expert at Mount Sinai Hospital says this “500-year-old device" squishes your lungs and ribs, which makes it hard to breathe. Some women have actually passed out from wearing one for too long.” The most you will get out of a waist trainer is bruised ribs and lungs (possibly worse).

** Read more about the waist trainer on USA Today.

Gummy Nutrition Facts

Finally the least problematic item on this list, hair gummies. Hair gummies generally have the same nutrients of multi vitamin gummies, with the exception of some added ingredients that may not necessarily have any proven hair benefits. With hair gummies adding sugar and coloring NAO Nutrition founder Nikki Ostrower told Yahoo Beauty, “... you might as well eat a gummy bear.” Another issue with these hair supplements is the labels are somewhat misleading. Labdoor, an independent San Francisco-based lab that tests and grades dietary supplements told Buzzfeed “the listed amount of each vitamin and mineral contained in the gummies was inaccurate by 20 percent or more".

They also found that the gummies contained “relatively high” levels of lead compared to other hair supplements that the lab had previously investigated.” The supplement Labdoor tested is called Sugar Bear. Most of the Kardashian sisters have also featured this product on their Instagrams. Whether or not they actually use these is another debate, but one thing is for sure -- no amount of lead is safe! The most you will get out of these gummies is sugar, lead, and some vitamins.

@khloekardashian / Via  instagram.com , @kyliejenner / Via  instagram.com , @kimkardashian / Via  instagram.com

@khloekardashian / Via instagram.com, @kyliejenner / Via instagram.com, @kimkardashian / Via instagram.com

Debbie Aderinkomi. Blogger and writer for WarPaint International Beauty Agency

Debbie Aderinkomi

Meet the Author

*** Artisans Unite is a foundation that is driven by the founder of WarPaint International Beauty Agency. Our mission involves working with young people to help them embrace their inner beauty, battle self-confidence issues, and to rise above the unrealistic expectations of a growing social media culture.