The Disturbing TikTok Trend: Why Surgeons Are Raising Red Flags

The recent TikTok beauty trend that’s been circulating on social media platforms involves young people engaging in a dangerous practice known as “bone smashing.”

The trend encourages individuals to use blunt objects to strike themselves in the face, with the misguided goal of achieving a perfect jawline or a more aesthetically appealing facial structure.

As alarming as this may sound, it is vital to understand the risks, consequences, and lack of scientific basis behind this disturbing trend.

Dr. Ben Schultz, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at LifeBridge Health, has been vocal about opposing this potentially harmful fad. He emphasizes the misconceptions behind “bone smashing,” which suggests that when bones heal, they become stronger.

Dr. Schultz was astonished by the trend, comparing it to other dangerous viral challenges, such as the infamous Tide Pod challenge.

The trend’s rationale is rooted in Wolff’s law, an idea put forth by a 19th-century German surgeon. This law suggests that bones adapt to the stress placed upon them. However, Dr. Schultz firmly maintains that the practice of bone smashing is not supported by scientific evidence.

According to him, the body’s natural healing process doesn’t result in bones growing stronger than their original state. In fact, any scarred tissue, whether it’s bone, skin, or muscle, can only achieve up to 80% of its original strength. This is why individuals who have sustained injuries often find themselves at greater risk of re-injury at the same sites.

Moreover, bone smashing poses significant risks. The face and facial skeleton are rich in blood vessels, making it particularly vulnerable. Striking certain areas can lead to bleeding, which, in turn, could cause airway obstruction, suffocation, blindness, or nerve damage. The risks associated with this trend are not only severe but also irreversible.

The alarming aspect of this trend is its popularity on TikTok and other social media platforms. A wave of videos demonstrating how to practice bone smashing has garnered over 250 million views on TikTok.

This level of online exposure is concerning, as it may influence more young individuals to experiment with this dangerous practice in pursuit of a “perfect” jawline.

Dr. Schultz further warns that the desire to achieve a chiseled jawline through bone smashing could lead to a condition known as an osteophyte.

An osteophyte is essentially a bony outgrowth that occurs when bones grow outside their normal limits. Unfortunately, this is not the type of bone development that people should be seeking.

In response to this unsettling trend, Dr. Schultz offers a clear message to anyone who may be considering bone smashing: “The answer is don’t. Don’t do it.”

This strong recommendation from a medical professional serves as a critical reminder of the potential dangers and long-term consequences associated with participating in such activities.

Bone smashing is not only unsupported by medical science but also poses severe health risks. The pursuit of physical perfection or an idealized jawline should not involve practices that can lead to injury, irreversible damage, or dangerous complications.

Rather, individuals interested in enhancing their appearance should seek safe and medically approved methods, guided by healthcare professionals who prioritize their well-being.

It is crucial to raise awareness about the risks and potential harms associated with trends like bone smashing. Social media platforms should also play a role in discouraging and, when necessary, prohibiting content that promotes dangerous practices.

Ultimately, the focus should shift from risky endeavors to promoting self-acceptance, body positivity, and healthy ways to enhance one’s appearance when desired.

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