SINGAPORE — A potentially dangerous beauty trend called “bone smashing” has recently gone viral on TikTok, with experts and doctors warning against the health detriments of such practices.
DOCTORS WARN AGAINST ‘BONE SMASHING’
The “bone smashing” trend has elicited responses from experts such as Dr Prem Tripathi, a United States-based facial plastic surgeon, who posted a video in TikTok on April 8 explaining that the purported DIY fixes were hoaxes.
“I honestly never thought I’d have to come on here and say this, but please don’t intentionally break the bones in your face,” Dr Tripathi begins.
He then explains that the result of displacing or breaking bones may result in disfiguration, should the bones not heal properly.
“Of course, if you’re not given the genetics to have a jawline like this, unfortunately, you have to see a trained professional,” he said.
Speaking to Vice, Dr Sanjay Trikha, the managing director of United Kingdom-based medical aesthetics clinic Trikwan Aesthetics, says that “bone smashing” has no evidence of producing more chiselled jawlines.
“And the risks of this type of treatment can actually be quite high,” he said.
Dr Trikha adds that there is no basis for using Wolff’s law as evidence for the trend.
“When you traumatise an area, you can get local inflammation and that can make something seem like it’s a little bit bigger, but that’s going to go down,” he said.
“So it’s not a case of ‘it’s going to come back harder or stronger’, and it can cause permanent damage. It can cause permanent issues if it was done inappropriately.”
SOME CLAIM BONE SMASHING WORKS, OTHERS ARE SCEPTICAL
While some videos simply post pictures of individuals with defined jawlines, claiming that the process had worked, several videos visually depict the practice without people actually smashing their faces on camera.
A video posted by TikTok user “angelcasass” on May 31 last year showed the user’s “bone smashing” process in his journey to achieve “prominent cheekbones”.
The background footage shows the user using a blunt object to lightly strike his face repeatedly, accompanied by the on-screen text, written in Spanish: “With a flat object, hit your cheekbones 50 times, then rest for two minutes and repeat it one more time.”
The on-screen text then informs viewers that it is important to practise “mewing” to achieve a defined chin.
“Mewing” is another facial reconstruction technique that involves keeping the tongue on the roof of the mouth for periods of time, which supposedly changes the jawline’s shape.
The video has garnered over 4.1 million views, 459,300 likes and 1,034 comments as of Wednesday.
Some users came out in support of the user, praising his good looks and asking for more tips.
One TikTok user wrote: “Good bone smashing technique and it works. Do it and practise mewing. You will see changes in a month.”
Others were more sceptical of the beauty trend, with many simply attributing it to genetics.
One user wrote: “It’s genetics people, hahaha. Time changes your face, not your habits. I’m sure it plays a part, but it doesn’t do all the work.”
Another guessed that the camera was well-placed, writing: “It is genetics, the (cheekbones) are not created. Also, it depends on the angle of the camera.”
Another video, posted by user “1geremaia” on August 18 last year, shows the user pointing out key areas on his face, using a filled water bottle to lightly strike his face.
“Hello people, today I bring you the bone smashing tutorial,” the on-screen text reads in Spanish.
“You can hit between 50 to 60 times (lightly) on each bone,” the text continues, as the user demonstrates the process in the background.
The video has attracted over 718,400 views, 36,200 likes and 338 comments as of Wednesday.
Several users claimed to have tried the trend out for themselves, praising his methods and asking for more tips.
One TikTok user who seemingly tried the trend wrote: “The truth is that it works, it’s been almost 20 days and you can see the results despite my face not being very thin.”
However, other users appeared to have had more unsatisfactory experiences.
One user wrote: “It will only damage your skin.”
Another user, who also appeared to have tried the technique in the video, said: “I saw this video of yours a few days ago and I used the bottle. My skin turned red even though the blows were light.
BONE SMASHING MEMES
Beyond the videos promoting the trend, however, a significant number of videos posted under the same hashtag also warn about or poke fun at the phenomenon.
A sped-up video depicting a mixed martial arts fighter repeatedly delivering punches to his opponent’s head, posted on Sept 6, raked in more than 75,200 views as of Wednesday.
The on-screen text poked fun at the trend, reading: “Already giving a free bone smashing session to my ugly friend.”
Another video depicting a man with a defined jawline navigating through a crowd, posted on Sept 20, has attracted more than 718,400 views as of Wednesday.
The video joked about those who took part in the trend seriously, with on-screen text in brackets reading: “I have to look attractive at all times. No one turned to see me.”
TODAY has reached out to TikTok for comment.