OPINION: Buccal fat removal supports an unhealthy pattern of women’s bodies being treated as trends

Beauty standards and trends have gone too far this time. There is always a new standard; bodies are like clothes, some are trending and others are not. The perpetuation of these beauty standards in social media is not very helpful when addressing the situation. Buccal fat removal is one of the new trends today. The procedure consists of pulling out the fat between cheekbones and the jaw bones (buccal fat pad). The surgeon makes small incisions on one side of the chin and extracts the fat from the buccal fat pad. According to Darren Smith, a New York plastic surgeon, people get this procedure to make their face look slimmer, have more sculpted cheekbones and rejuvenate their countenance. So how did this procedure become so popular? The answer is simple: the influence of social media. Last year, celebrities like Chrissy Teigen underwent the procedure, admitting it on social media. According to Smith, social media has played a crucial role in the rising popularity of buccal fat removal, and I couldn’t agree more. 

Other surgeons like Dr. Ira Savetsky told CBS news that the process is irreversible and most people do not need it. Besides, it does not bring any health benefits — it is only cosmetic. This trend, at best, is problematic. It is unnecessary and can have consequences like premature aging and facial deformation that would need a lift in the future. Of course, this is not the first time a specific cosmetic surgery or standard has reached popularity. The Brazilian butt lift has been around for years although it can lead to infections, pain, injury, bruising, and death. By themselves, these procedures are not the problem; but these beauty trends have reached unhealthy levels. The trends are the problem because they encourage people to get the procedure even when they don’t need it or never considered it before. Young girls are constantly bombarded by these trends on social media. It is detrimental because it makes girls feel like they can solve all their self-esteem issues by getting cosmetic surgery. 

Indeed, beauty is attainable, but at what cost? In ten years, new trends will rise. Fitting into the standard seems like a constant struggle, so whenever a new trend becomes popular, masses of people will get the procedure. Then what? What will happen when it is no longer trending? Don’t get me wrong, I am not against cosmetic surgery. However, I do not see it as a miracle solution for issues within ourselves, nor do I believe we should get procedures we never thought of before just because it is trending. Working on self-esteem and self-love is crucial for having a fulfilling life. I understand these trends promoted by social media can be tempting. Therefore, encouraging awareness of cosmetic procedures and their consequences can be helpful.

Buccal fat removal is something we must take seriously. I found hope when I encountered articles about plastic surgeons and Tik-Tokers speaking out against the trend. It was like seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. People are more aware of how ridiculous beauty trends have become. It is crucial to understand whether you are doing it for yourself or to fill a trend; are you getting this procedure because you wanted to or because you saw it was trending? For me, that is the question.