The latest viral TikTok beauty and skincare trend is here, and it’s bringing with it a tidal wave of minimally invasive treatments that don’t require any surgery or injections. Buccal fat removal and Botox may have finally met their match.
So, what is this new trend that’s been dominating social media’s beautysphere and has already attracted 2.4 million TikTok views? EmFace is a minimally invasive cosmetic innovation that initially blew up on the video-sharing app.
EmFace is a new form of cosmetic treatment that works superficially on the skin, as well as targeting facial muscles. The process is achieved by using radio frequency to treat superficial wrinkles and electromagnetic stimulation to address skin laxity (the process of skin sagging as you age) and to target facial muscles.
Glamour recently spoke with Dr Ali Ghanem, plastic surgeon and professor of aesthetics, to gain more insight into this treatment. In regards to the radiotherapy portion of the treatment, Ghanem stated: “EmFace heats the skin tissue to stimulate an increase in fibroblast activity, leading to an increased synthesis of new collagen and elastin fibres.”
The heat from the radio frequency waves also improves facial tightness and elasticity, which is why the cosmetic treatment is frequently compared to Botox.
The electromagnetic portion of the therapy uses a technology called High-Intensity Facial Electrical Stimulation, better known as HIFES. What this does is induce contractions in the facial muscles. Ghanem went on to say that this gives “the facial muscles more structure, increasing volume in the mid-face and improving the nasolabial fold. The result is a reduction in jowls and increase in jawline contouring.”
As gen Z continues to grow and influence the landscape of public opinion and attitudes, we’re seeing a decline in more invasive cosmetic procedures. The most progressive of generations, who emphasise self-love whenever they can, are turning away from under-the-knife surgeries in droves.
This procedure is gaining so much traction online simply because of how non-invasive it is, as well as the compelling results. Gen Zers want quick results and low-risk methods and EmFace is the perfect candidate for that.
Treatments are being advertised as taking as little as 20 minutes at a time. It’s short and sweet and requires very little commitment or time. You lay down, have the pads connected to your face, and your skin is stimulated. Before you know it, you’re good to go.
Additionally, Botox and dermal filler serve to camouflage the effects of ageing, whereas the process of EmFace stimulates the skin and muscles beneath, actively targeting “the mechanism of ageing.” The only catch to the electrical procedure is its high price tag—demanding a staggering £3,000 for four treatments, as well as a need for return visits roughly 12 months after your initial treatment.
As technology advances, and our spending power grows, it’s clear that this is only the beginning for less invasive procedures. We’ve already seen the popularity of microdermabrasion, a beauty trend which boasts over 370 million views on TikTok and sees professionals use fine crystals and a vacuum to remove dead skin cells from a patient’s face.
And other products are already starting to pop up, like the anti-inflammatory aesthetic cryo treatment Glacial Rx. Both procedures involve no knives or needles, so it’s a sure thing that we can expect to see a lot more of this as 2023 progresses.
Another year, another unattainable beauty standard. Cosmetic surgery waits for no one, and it seems as though the minute we get to grips with one facial aesthetic trend, another pops up on our FYP, perpetually reminding us of all our insecurities, like a never-ending game of Whac-A-Mole.
From lip fillers to the oh-so-famous brow lift, buccal fat removal is the newest beauty trend dominating the internet. But what is it actually about? And why is this potentially dangerous cosmetic procedure capturing the hearts and minds of gen Zers everywhere?
Buccal fat is the tissue—around the size of a grape—found between the midface and lower face. Its presence results in the creation of a rounder and softer jawline. It functions as a cushion between your two chewing muscles, the buccinator and masseter.
For patients seeking buccal fat removal, a surgeon will make a small incision on either side of their mouth and remove that area of fat from the face, thereby allowing their jaw to give off a sculpted effect and hollow cheeks.
While this procedure has been readily available for decades, it’s really started to become a phenomenon in the beauty world at the very end of 2022 thanks to celebrity intervention and mass promotion online, particularly on TikTok. As to be expected, there’s been a mixed response from creators and users alike, with some praising the procedure for reigniting their confidence, and others discouraging unnecessary cosmetic work that could perpetuate archaic beauty standards.
From supermodel Bella Hadid to TV personality and resident Twitter warrior Chrissy Teigen, Los Angeles has been a hub for celebrity buccal fat removal endorsement. Glee star Lea Michelle also potentially joined the growing trend after a recent Instagram selfie sparked online curiosity.
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Round faces have always been subject to criticism in relation to the still highly prevalent western beauty standards. Similarly to how society places greater value on thinner bodies, chiselled jaws and defined cheekbones continue to take precedent.
The surgery is not only dangerous but it also comes with a hefty price tag too, with estimations ranging from around £3,000 to £5,000.
Indecisive gen Zers beware, this procedure is irreversible, and although it may appear flattering at first, in the long term, it could potentially accelerate the ageing process. As you grow older, you naturally lose volume in your face. By removing the small layer of flesh prematurely, you take the risk of looking gaunt further down the line.
If your heart is set on the infamous buccal fat removal however, make sure you’ve done extensive research and try to go to a reliable surgeon. How much buccal fat you have is dependent on the individual—which only increases the risk of something going wrong—so it’s imperative you only have removed the correct amount for you.
Of course, no one should have autonomy or influence over what you do with your body except you—the choice is yours and yours alone. While this cosmetic trend may reflect the persistence of unobtainable toxic body standards, it’s also a way in which individuals can pursue agency over their own bodies and potentially take steps towards feeling confident in their own skin.
Other potential complications can include post-operative swelling, the very unsexy hematoma, muscle weakness and less commonly, damage to the saliva duct if the incision is too high.