Three, one-liter bottles of Bio-Silik, a biopolymer made of liquid silicone, sit on a bureau belonging to a trans sex worker, in the bedroom of her home in Naucalpan de Juarez, State of Mexico, Mexico on October 25, 2019.
She has been injecting biopolymer fillers into both trans and heterosexuals for 12 years, currently charging 9,000 pesos, (about 466.00 U.S. dollars), per one-liter injection. She administers the “clandestine” treatments, which she admits are illicit, in her home or in other private places. She understands that she is putting her clients at risk, and according to her they also understand the risks, but at the same time she says she enjoys helping them sculpt their bodies. When she was 12 years she had mineral oil injected in her chest for breast augmentation, resulting in terrible consequences. Even so, she went on to inject herself with fillers in the buttocks and lips for cosmetic purposes.
Human adjuvant disease, HAD, is a pathology caused by the injection of foreign substances for cosmetic purposes, and represents a serious health problem. Seeking simple, fast, cheap, painless and what some thought was a safe alternative to plastic surgery, the application of non-authorized modeling substances by untrained personnel has become a frequent practice. Nevertheless, the injections could lead - often several years after receiving them - to serious complications, even death. For some, it has caused irreversible damage to their physical health, self-esteem and quality of life. In Mexico, HAD is an existent problem. Between 2006 and 2018, Mexico City’s General Hospital has seen 4785 of these cases, according to their plastic and reconstructive surgery specialists. Photograph by Bénédicte Desrus