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I'm a beauty editor and this is why the ‘dimpleplasty’ trend infantalises women

J.Lo wearing schoolgirl hair bows and doll skin going viral: the ‘babyfication’ of beauty is here. OK, it's not all bad, but one trend I can't cosign is ‘dimpleplasty’ – a procedure where dimples are surgically carved into the face. It's ridiculous. It's unnecessary. We're about 10 seconds away from someone squeezing a grown woman's cheek and cooing.

As a beauty editor with 12 years experience under my belt, I've seen a lot of cosmetic surgery trends fall out of fashion almost as quickly as wedge trainers. I'm also a firm believer that women have the right to make an informed choice about whether or not they want to undergo these procedures, so there's no judgement there. But, in my opinion, dimpleplasty is a step too far.

I also can't ignore the worrying message that dimpleplasty is sending out, especially to Gen Z, who is most likely to be seduced by it on TikTok. At the time of writing, the search term has amassed an enormous 53.3 million views, which is effectively normalising going under the knife at a young age.

This is one of many concerns shared by Dr Ashwin Soni, plastic surgeon and founder of The Soni Clinic, who will not perform dimpleplasty despite its growing popularity. “Dimpleplasty surgery has been popularised on many social media platforms, including TikTok and Instagram, which is encouraging the younger population to consider having aesthetic surgeries," he says. "Celebrities such as Ariana Grande, Harry Styles and Orlando Bloom have been used as inspiration for this particular surgery,” he adds, noting that the cheek-fat compression devices TikTokers are using as ‘dimple-makers’ is only adding to its appeal.

What exactly is dimpleplasty?

According to Dr Soni, dimpleplasty is performed by a facial plastic surgeon under local anaesthesia. “An incision is made inside the mouth (intra-orally), removing a small amount of the buccal fat inside the cheek, and then stitches are placed between the outer cheek and the inner muscle to create a dimple, where a dimple does not naturally exist,” he explains. “You have basically caused scar tissue by placing stitches internally."

Since it doesn't require an overnight stay in a hospital, dimpleplasty is being perceived as a low-risk procedure by TikTok followers. But this is surgery and there are risks associated with it “including, but not limited to, under- or over-correction of the surgically created dimple; scarring internally and possibly externally as a result of operating in that area; possible damage to nerves and blood vessels and infection,” warns Dr Soni.

So what's the problem with dimpleplasty?

Despite all the clicks it's gaining, the dimpleplasty trend doesn't sit well with me. To be clear, there's absolutely nothing wrong with dimples. Quite the opposite, in fact – they're features that make your face wonderfully unique. What I do have a problem with, is a facial feature being hijacked by popular culture and turned into a beauty standard that is equated with ideals of corn-fed innocence, looking cute and childlike sweetness – basically, descriptions that have historically been reductive of women.

I also have to wonder about society's weird obsession with women's cheeks. On the one hand they're not plump enough, hence the popularity of cheek fillers. Then buccal fat removal briefly went viral with influencers revealing before-and-after shots of their contoured ‘sucking on a straw’ look. Now, we've boomeranged back to the idea of a pillowy face being the eternal symbol of youth – but this time, dimples are the accessory du jour to simultaneously make it more angular. Confused yet? I certainly am.

But ultimately, my biggest concern is that this procedure means Gen Z is potentially being catapulted square into the plastic surgery space before it's even nailed a solid skincare routine. This isn't Botox, which if you don't like it, wears off after a couple of months. Dimpleplasty is permanent and difficult to undo.

“A surgeon would have to go back in and release all the scar tissue in order to release the dimple and return the cheek back to the way it was,” says Dr Soni. “Scar tissue notoriously bleeds more, and so there is a higher risk of a collection of blood forming (haematoma) after the surgery, or more bruising. If ever considering this surgery, you want to make sure that you choose a facial plastic surgeon, who performs many of these surgeries, and knows anatomy inside out.”

Dr Ahmed El Muntasar, an NHS doctor and aesthetics practitioner, also recommends caution: “I'm not a big fan at all because there are so many possible complications. The results of the dimpling are just not that impressive and definitely not worth the risks."

And as for cute, pastoral beauty tropes? Ah, give me mob wife energy any day of the week.

The original article can be found on Glamour UK.

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