Buccal Fat Removal.
If you haven’t heard those three words in that order before, then I envy you. I will also enlighten you on what it is and why it has anything to do with the body types.
Buccal fat removal is a cosmetic surgery which removes the buccal fat pads from the lower face, to create a much more gaunt and tight look to the cheeks. While sometimes this procedure is done more for the benefit of the person receiving it, in the case where the patient has an excess of buccal fat which causes them to frequently bite the insides of their cheeks, especially while eating, buccal fat removal is now the hot new thing for celebrities and influencers to get done to change their appearance.
While some people naturally have tight cheeks, usually those with the Dramatic body type or a body type at the same end of the yin/yang spectrum, a lot of the buccal fat removal procedures done for cosmetic reasons take this look to the extreme.
And this irreversible procedure is now becoming as popular as brow lifts seemed to be last year.
So what’s the issue with the plastic surgery trend de jour? Shouldn’t people be allowed to make their own choices for how their bodies and faces look?
As someone who has had a purely cosmetic procedure done (chin augmentation of approximately 1 cm, done at the same time as double jaw surgery which was for a combination of medical and aesthetic purposes), I want to share my thoughts on the issue.
The problem with cosmetic surgeries isn’t the surgeries themselves, it’s the use of them to create trends in how people look.
Body type and facial feature trends aren’t a modern invention, unfortunately. They’ve existed for millenia and are generally tied to things that aren’t possible to achieve without wealth. In the past when the rich were the ones who could afford to eat plenty of rich foods and avoid manual labor, the standard of beauty was to be large and pale. In the 2000s, when office jobs were common and nutritionally-devoid but calorie-high fast foods were becoming more and more available for people, which made it so that those who could afford the vacation time to get tanned, or trips to the tanning salon, and the healthful food and exercise time to remain skinny were those with the wealth for it.
Except, with the rise of the internet and shared resources and knowledge there, it became more accessible for people to learn about nutrition, or find workout plans.
So then it wasn’t just about having a straight and skinny figure. In the 2010s the trend shifted to the “slim-thick” look, which was difficult to attain without the right genetics, workout equipment, or cosmetic surgery. Once again, the bar had shifted so that the easiest way to look the trend is either luck of the genetic lottery, or the money to be able to afford the time and expenses of changing your body type.
But then once again we have the internet. As the pandemic hit us the online world was hit with 100s of ways to work out at home using body weight exercises or stuff that you would already have at home in place of gym equipment and weights. Videos made by professional personal trainers on how to attain muscle growth in the areas you want, instructions from nutritionists about how to make meals that will have the protein and caloric content needed to sustain your muscle growth as you try to fit into this “slim-thick” body type trend.
And now that both the knowledge and the resources became more accessible to the public, it was time to start making it more difficult for people to achieve these beauty standards. So what’s the “solution” to this “problem”?
To introduce even more specific things to the trends of how people look. Things that can only be achieved through plastic surgery unless you were already born with it. The fox eye trend, brow lifts, cheekbone fillers, and now: buccal fat removal.
Sure, these things can be faked with makeup (or in some cases face tape), but that doesn’t look so convincing outside of photos and videos. The dramatic contouring needed to create the hollowed out cheekbone look may work like a charm when you have a lighting set-up to accompany it for an at-home photo or video shoot. But in the light of day? It will quickly become obvious that it’s just contour on your face.
The only way to get the “real” thing is to get the procedures done.
And in a world where cosmetic procedures are the way to follow the trend, more and more celebrities and influencers are getting work done so that they can be the models for these trends. And between cosmetic procedures, photo and video editing techniques, camera angles and posing, it is becoming more and more difficult to reliably figure out the body types for celebrities and influencers so that you can take clothing, makeup, or style inspiration from them for use on your own body type.
And even if you do properly figure out a celebrity’s body type, through more cosmetic procedures it could very well change completely in 5 years time.
But it’s important to remember that every body type is beautiful, and with how quickly the trends seem to be changing now, it’s also important to take a step back and try to look objectively at the system that makes us feel as if we’re not beautiful for looking a certain way.