The rise in niche cosmetic surgeries sparks debate online

По | 11.02.2023

Credit: Pexels
The ever-growing list of available cosmetic surgeries continues to generate new ways for us to dislike ourselves, but online narratives prove that some are just too ridiculous to buy into.  

‘What do you want for your birthday?’ my mom asked when visiting me last year in London. Turning away from a mirror to look at her, I half-jokingly replied: buccal fat removal.

To clarify, buccal fat removal entails removing fat from the cheek area of the face to create narrower, more defined cheekbones. It is achieved by making two small incisions on the inside of the mouth where the fat pads are pulled out from.

It requires only local anaesthesia, with stitches healing in about 2-4 weeks. Results are visible from six months to a year afterwards, but it can offer a permanently snatched look that otherwise washes off when achieved with contouring makeup.

The request for this lesser-known cosmetic procedure triggered a series of questions from my mother, not dissimilar to the ones thousands of young people have been punching into the internet in recent weeks.

The non-invasive surgery has been trending on Twitter, resulting in a discussion about what its growing popularity says about today’s beauty standards.

Numerous celebrities such as Chrissy Teigen and Bella Hadid have had the procedure and, naturally (pun intended), everyday people are latching onto these secrets. Because, as we know, those in the spotlight tend to set the tone for ever-cyclical beauty standards.

It’s true that the affordability of fillers, Botox, and minor surgeries like buccal fat removal are causing a rise in the number of people jumping at the chance to tweak their physical appearance.

So for those who have never quite lost their ‘baby face’ look, buccal fat removal presents a quick and easy opportunity to attain a chiselled look that genetics might not offer otherwise.

Combine this accessibility with how often we now peer into our phone’s front camera and the frequency with which we’re loading up Zoom to attend work meetings – and we’re spending a lot more time looking at our own faces than ever before.

As such, it can be easy to feel pressured into changing any perceived flaw. But as trivial procedures like buccal fat removal are discussed further in online spaces,  many are revealing that they think the cosmetic surgery industry is starting to take things too far.

The main question is: is it really necessary to try to make every single part of our body ‘perfect’?

Buccal fat removal is crazy bc our faces literally do it naturally over time???

— Dylan Ali (@dylanali_) December 19, 2022

Most aestheticians would agree that each of our facial features are genetically composed to complement each other. In fact, my fixation with this weird surgery dissipated when people told me that without my self-perceived ‘chubby cheeks’ I wouldn’t be me anymore.

Not to mention, it’s scientifically proven that we lose collagen as we age. Most people will end up looking like they’ve had buccal fat removal by the age of 50 or 60 – and perhaps those who have had it will want to reverse it to avoid appearing gaunt.

That’s why the positive takeaway from all of this online discussion is the widespread rejection of niche cosmetic procedures by young people in online spaces.

Swathes of TikTok and Twitter users are encouraging one another to embrace their natural features, whether they have round faces or model-esque jawlines. Some are even offering audiences makeup tips to accentuate the plumpness of their cheeks.

All in all, it seems like every other week we’re tasked with a new way to fit momentarily into the ever-transformative definition of ‘beauty’. The rapid rise and fall of the fox eye trend and BBL era only exemplify how trying to keep up is not worth our time or money.

In a rare occurrence, the internet community has collectively clapped back on societal pressures by saying enough is enough. Let’s hope we see more of this tone in the future.

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