Buccal fat removal was 2022’s strangest and most secretive beauty trend

Read Time:6 Minute, 43 Second

‘I did that buccal fat removal thing’: Chrissy Teigen on Instagram in late 2021 (Instagram/Chrissy Teigen/iStock)

Last​​ year, Chrissy Teigen A selfie was posted to Instagram. She was now sporting a new, sculpted look. Her lower cheeks were chiseled. Her jawline appeared to be in an angular “V” shape. “I did that buccal fat removal thing here,” she said in a video, while pointing out her freshly hollowed cheeks. The newest beauty trend is buccal fat removal. This surgical procedure can change the structure of the face.

Celebrities and rich people are trying to contour their faces to look their best. Teigen is one star who has admitted to the procedure. This led to speculation on social media about which stars have been face-gouging. These photos show the before and after. Are you looking for a surgical blade or a filter? Unnatural tweaking or natural ageing? Others, however, are more perplexed by the arrival of yet another barely achievable beauty standard for women – and some men – to measure themselves against. “What the f*** is buccal fat,” tweeted one person. “How are they still inventing new flaws for us?” Another wrote: “Wake up babe new surgery just dropped in Hollywood: jaw filler and buccal fat removal.”

All of us have buccal fat. It’s a pad of very normal flesh found in between your cheekbones (known as your zygomatic arch) and your jawline. Its removal happens through a surgical operation, with a doctor going into a patient’s mouth and removing the fat from the cheeks from the inside out. There are no scarring or marks left on the face. The treatment is also purely aesthetical – there are no health benefits to removing your buccal fat. The result is hard to miss: a person’s chin and jawline are made razor sharp, their cheekbones so defined that it’s as if they’re permanently sucking on a lemon.

In 2022, the most popular beauty trends were not long-lasting. The formerly popular Brazilian butt lift – a fat transfer procedure that helps patients achieve a fuller, rounder buttock contour – has been declared dead. The razor-thin eyebrows of the Nineties made a comeback. “Heroin chic” is apparently on a flying visit, with signs suggesting it’ll explode back into the mainstream next year. What’s worrying about the buccal fat trend (or lack thereof), however, is the permanency of the procedure. In a beauty industry that is dependent on the regurgitation of short-lived, cyclical trends, this is especially important. The bushy Cara Delevingne eyebrows, for example, rescued the thin eyebrow in 2010. In 2022, the threaded eyebrow is experiencing a revival. It’s a lot to keep up with, but aided by the fact that eyebrows tend to grow back. Buccal fat and the structure of our cheeks probably won’t. When plump, youthful, collagen-filled baby face are undoubtedly made conventionally sexy by 2032, those who have hollowed out cheekbones may wish for their buccal back.

At 111 Harley Street plastic surgery clinic in London’s famed aesthetics district, buccal fat removal was the third most popular procedure in 2022, behind rhinoplasty and liposuction. It’s described as an “in and out” procedure, taking an alarmingly quick 30 minutes to do, all for around £4,500. The clinic’s founder, Dr Yannis Alexandrides (plastic surgeon), says that 99 buccal fat procedures have been performed between 2020-2022. 67% of his clients are women and 33% are men. He explains that some people who feel they have a “baby face” as adults can be “good candidates for buccal fat removal”, and that many clients have been influenced by beauty trends in popular culture. “Some see this trend in the media on their favourite models and celebrities and want to achieve a similar contoured look,” he says. “Contouring below the cheeks with makeup can only do so much.”

Other plastic surgeons, however, are sceptical about what’s motivating people to choose buccal fat removal. Dr Tunc Tiryaki, a consultant plastic surgeon at London’s Cadogan Clinic, refuses to perform buccal fat removal on his clients because he believes it’s the “wrong treatment” for achieving a defined face. “Buccal fat removal doesn’t create definition, it just creates emptiness between the cheek and the jawline,” he explains. Ironically, buccal fat removal can also cause a loss of collagen and fat in the cheeks. It is important to remove it as soon as possible. This will only speed up the inevitable aging process. “In the long run, when we get older, we lose volume in our cheeks,” Dr Tiryaki adds. “So patients start looking really gaunt, almost like ghosts. I wouldn’t recommend buccal fat removal to a patient trying to shape their face.”

Dr Tiryaki understands that social media is a major factor in the success of clients who are seeking plastic surgery. He also thinks interactive facial filters on apps such as Instagram or Snapchat might be behind the buccal fat removal boom – and the increasing popularity of looking really, really chiselled. “All filters are designed to make your face look ‘V shaped’ and more defined,” he says. “When you come back to reality, of course, this doesn’t correspond with our real anatomy.”

If you must know, your buccal fat pad is located just under your cheek (iStock)

Your buccal fat pad can be found just below your cheek (iStock).

However, Instagram filters didn’t exist before the creation of thin, sculpted Instagram filters. Contouring is a makeup technique that dates back to the 1930s when makeup artists began shading actors’ faces so that they wouldn’t appear so flat on film. Contouring involves using hues of makeup darker than the subject’s skin tone, in order to create shadows on different parts of the face. In the 1990s, makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin (who created one of beauty’s most popular sculpting powders) was responsible for the chiselled look on many famous models and celebrities, including Madonna, Whitney Houston and Cher. Kim Kardashian popularized it in the 2010s by posting her daily shade routine to her millions of fans via a video tutorial. Buccal fat removal is a method to make contouring look permanent.

Victoria Kleinsman, a self-esteem expert and body love coach, regularly sees first-hand how temporary beauty trends – which are often rooted in the cult of thinness – affect how people perceive themselves. She focuses her work with people with issues with body image and believes that validation is the root of these problems. “We believe that we get love and acceptance from thinness because that’s what society tells us,” she says. Kleinsman discovered body image coaching after struggling for 20 years with an eating disorder. It almost cost her her life. “I wanted to be thin because society told me that was how I’d get love and acceptance,” she explains. Kleinsman is exhausted when we talk about buccal fat removal, and all the trends in 2022. She calls them “toxic” and “damaging”. “When is this going to stop?” she asks. “If we don’t start celebrating a range of faces and face shapes soon, the outcomes are going to be dangerous.”

Kleinsman adds that she’d never pass judgement on a client who wanted surgery but would always want them to understand why they desire such change in the first place. “Most people don’t take time to ask themselves why they might want surgery,” she says. “My job is to bring them back to self-love and acceptance. I ask them the magic question ‘why’ maybe four times. Because when we understand the roots of the reasoning, we can learn a lot about ourselves.”

The most disturbing thing about watching viral makeup transform into permanent surgical treatment is the fact that our beauty standards will continue to rise. A few weeks ago I hadn’t even heard of buccal fat – now it’s apparently a problem area. Which one will be the next? While we wait to find out, young people’s self-esteem will continue to plummet, and the ways to fix it will seemingly become ever more extreme.

Happy
Happy
0 %
Sad
Sad
0 %
Excited
Excited
0 %
Sleepy
Sleepy
0 %
Angry
Angry
0 %
Surprise
Surprise
0 %
Previous post Lysander Announces the Cash Distributions for Lysander-Canso’s Floating Rate ActivETF
Next post Boston’s Bill Russell, Jack Garfinkel make their debuts