With 25 million TikTok views and counting, #TrapTox is one treatment that’s been setting fire to social feeds over recent months. Also dubbed ‘Barbie Botox’, this viral procedure is now riding a double wave of hype from the back of the summer movie smash hit.
But what exactly is TrapTox? Is it safe? And how trustworthy can a procedure be whose popularity is owed to social media? Let’s cut through the hype.
What is TrapTox?
While Botox in the face is all about minimising those fine lines, TrapTox was created for therapeutic benefits, but is now trending for its aesthetic ones.
During a TrapTox treatment, Botulinum toxin is injected into the trapezius muscle (the large, triangular-shaped muscle that extends over the upper back, neck and shoulders) to relieve tension, soothe pain and promote relaxation.
The trapezius muscle is responsible for several movements of the shoulder and upper back, including shrugging the shoulders, pulling the shoulder blades together and tilting the head to the side. It plays a significant role in maintaining posture and stability in the upper body.
When the trapezius muscle remains tense in the long term, it can thicken resulting in a more masculine shape. This is where the ‘Barbie Botox’ nickname comes in. When the trapezius softens after a TrapTox procedure, it has an aesthetically pleasing side-effect of elongating the neck and slimming the shoulders, which mimics the iconic doll’s slender physique.
Of course, who wouldn’t want to look like Margot Robbie but is Trap Tox all it is cracked up to be? We chat to aesthetic doctor and Save Face accredited practitioner Dr Mahsa Saleki to get the full lowdown.
Should we take social media beauty trends seriously?
Like so many social media beauty trends, TrapTox’s ground zero was Kim Kardashian. Earlier in the year the star confessed to a voice coach on an episode of The Kardashians, that “half” of her neck is “probably Botoxed”. This ignited interest in why she was having Botox injected into this unusual area, and so TrapTox hit the mainstream.
Given that the Kardashian family faces frequent criticisms for setting unrealistic beauty standards, should we be following out-there treatments popularised by both them and the following Barbie movie associations?
“Social media when used responsibly to educate and inform patients is a great tool to help elevate patient awareness and autonomy of choice,” explains cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Mahsa Saleki. “However, when treatments are created off the back of other trends it’s extremely alarming and using the popularity of the Barbie movie to make a treatment like TrapTox’s mainstream as ‘Barbie Botox’ is unethical.”
Does TrapTox actually work and are there risks?
It seems that behind all the social media noise, TrapTox does have legit physical benefits. Indeed, TrapTox has been offered at clinics for decades to treat all manner of physical maladies be it tension headaches, migraines or shoulder and neck discomfort.
“In some cases, TrapTox can be used to release muscular tension and treat trapped nerves,” says Dr. Saleki. “For patients with enlarged muscle due to overuse through physical training, TrapTox could be a helpful treatment to reduce the muscle size.”
However, like any procedure, TrapTox isn’t without its risks. Dr. Saleki warns that precision is paramount. “If injections are administered too high or too deep there is a risk of causing damage to the surrounding brachial plexus nerve network. This could have an impact on the function and sensation of the skin as well as the muscles of the arm and hand.”
What should I consider before getting TrapTox?
With Botox now having many applications, before you undertake a TrapTox treatment it’s important to question your reasons for getting it. Is it a quick-fix to achieve a Margot Robbie-like silhouette? Or are you genuinely suffering from pain or tension in those areas?
Dr. Saleki advises caution.
“Chances are you likely don’t need TrapTox. The trapezius muscle has an important role in the function of your upper body strength. Using a toxin injectable to shrink will invariably influence weakening neck and shoulder movements. However, if you have visible mass bulk of the muscle or neck tension, TrapTox can be a good treatment option for you.”
If you are considering a TrapTox treatment, always consult a qualified practitioner to discuss your needs first.