TikTok, among other social media platforms, is seeing the rise of a mysterious procedure called buccal fat removal. Essentially, buccal fat removal refers to the removal of fat from a tissue situated within the cheek. The surgery highlights the cheekbones and makes one’s face look slimmer. Many people who have round faces are now opting for this procedure to look more sculpted.
It has blown up across the internet over the past few weeks, with claims that many celebrities are leading the bandwagon. Crissy Teigen made an Instagram announcement that she had gotten the procedure done. However, several other celebrities are rumoured to have gone under the knife after their face structure seemingly changed overnight.
Chrissy Teigen takes to Instagram to reveal she’s had Buccal Fat Removal done by Dr Jason Diamond. pic.twitter.com/aJNoPrYdzf
— The Cosmetic Lane (@TheCosmeticLane) September 13, 2021
Another victim of Buccal Fat removal😭😭😭pic.twitter.com/hFtvg0plva
— Jagger Blaec🖤🐈⬛ (@BasicBlaecGirl) December 19, 2022
Ellen Gendler, a New York City cosmetic dermatologist, made a TikTok explaining the flip side of a buccal fat removal. She referred to it as “the dumbest trend” she’s seen in a while, and advised people to avoid it. Due to the lack of volume on the face, one can appear to prematurely age.
But the bigger question here – much bigger than ageing, at least – is how damaging these constantly changing trends are. It seems like every month a new flaw we need to get rid of with surgery, exercise or pills starts trending on social media – from wanting a chiseled jawline to getting rid of hip dips. Plastic surgery comes with its own set of ethical debates and conflicting opinions. But having a perfectly natural part of the body or face being presented as an imperfection just adds fuel to the fire of unrealistic beauty standards. A lot of these beauty standards are either eurocentric or fetishise the bodies of people of colour.
Moreover, beauty trends change constantly. Brazilian Butt Lifts or BBLs have been going strong for several years. But this year, celebrities suddenly started getting their procedures reversed. Fan speculation rose rapidly after photos of Kim Kardashian with a seemingly smaller butt came out.
BBLs are extremely tedious procedures to reverse, and a buccal fat removal is pretty much permanent. Its a huge commitment to make for a fleeting trend that no one will remember in a few years. But more importantly, such trends are not worth the crippling insecurity and self doubt they create. Beauty standards change with time, but their impact remains constant and just as damaging to one’s self perception.