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Thursday June 20th, 2013

It's cheaper than botox and far less effective. Cooking oil is the newest cosmetic fad to tickle Montreal's fancy, and the practice has doctors up in arms. "Injecting cooking oil into your skin isn't good for your body and it isn't good for your health," says Dr. Lindsay Smith, a dermatologist at the West Island Epidermis Institute. "If people want fuller lips, or they want to get rid of wrinkles or crows feet, they should see a professional."

Many Montrealers disagree. "Why spend hundreds of dollars on botox at a plastic surgeon when I can do it at home with a syringe and a jug of corn oil?" asks Leonora Lanzig, a 29 year old bartender. "I want to look my best, but i'm not rich, and I can't afford botox. I can, however, afford corn oil. I've been injecting it for months now, and my skin has never looked so healthy."

Dr. Smith is worried that attitudes like Lanzig's are becoming more common. "Ms. Lanzig might not know it, but she's demolishing the health of her skin. Cooking oil isn't a botox substitute, and it was never meant to find a home inside your face," says Dr. Smith. "Every day, more and more people are trying DIY cosmetic surgery. It's a worrying trend. Last week, an 18 year old girl came to my office after she injected two syringes full of extra virgin olive oil into her forehead, causing her skin to sag over her brow. She couldn't see anymore, because the skin of her forehead drooped over her eyes. These are the kind of accidents that could be prevented if only people left cosmetic surgery to the professionals."

Cooking oil injections have become so popular among young Montrealers that these days, it's hard to visit a club or a bar without spotting a table full of twenty somethings sticking needles into their faces. "In some ways, injecting cooking oil into your face isn't just a cosmetic act anymore," says urban anthropologist Didier Groulx. "It's become a form of bonding among young urban professionals. Instead of drinking beer or doing drugs together, they inject each other with cooking oil. It's a way for young people to identify with one another. It might not be healthy, but neither is smoking crack cocaine. When compared to some of the other stupid things young people are doing, injecting cooking oil into their faces seems like a fairly benign practice."
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