Recent West Hollywood transplant here. I think I’m an attractive enough guy, but the beauty standards in my new neighborhood are high. Back home, I was always a 9 or 10, but here, I’m basically like a 6 or 7. There are so many beautiful guys everywhere! I feel like I get lost in the crowd.
I know there are the traditional things I can do to try and improve my looks. I’ve dabbled in botox and I try to go to the gym several times a week. But the biggest Issue I have with my appearance is the shape of my face. I just don’t have that Henry Cavill square-shaped jawline with strong cheekbones.
I recently went down a rabbit hole on TikTok about this, and came across a couple home remedies. One is called “mewing”, where you keep your tongue on the roof of your mouth in an attempt to emphasize your cheekbones and make your jaw look square.
The other is called “bone-smashing”, which I know initially sounds crazy. Apparently, though, by hitting yourself in the face with a hammer, bottle, massager, or other blunt object, your broken bones will actually remodel themselves with newly laid bone which is stronger and thicker, restructuring the look of your face.
I know it sounds extreme, but I’m desperate. Is there anything to this?
Dear Saving Face,
Unfortunately, you are one of the many victims of an internet phenomena called looksmaxing (or looksmaxxing), where young men critique each other’s looks online and suggest DIY fixes, often as a joke.
The problem is that distinguishing between authenticity and a twisted internet prank can be difficult for those struggling with positive self-image.
Looksmaxing is now a trend that’s spread beyond small online forums to mainstream platforms like TikTok and Instagram, fueled by fitness and wellness influencers. The term has its origins in the incel community: an online movement of involuntarily celibate men who believe no one will never date them.
But here’s the lowdown: there’s absolutely no evidence to support the idea that any of these home remedies really work, and in fact, they can be extremely dangerous.
When defending their case, people who believe in bone-smashing cite Wolff’s Law, a 19th-century medical theory that says bones adapt to the stress they’re subjected to, and by breaking them, they will actually heal differently and alter your look for the better. However, it’s just not true, and exposing the face to repeated blunt trauma can come with extreme risks.
“It’s understandable why people would want to have a chiseled jawline or wider chin, but here’s no evidence whatsoever something like bone smashing is going to do much for it,” Dr. Sanjay Trikha tells VICE.com.
“In terms of people using Wolff’s Law as justification, there’s no evidence for that whatsoever,” he continues. “When you traumatize an area, you can get local inflammation, and that may seem like it’s bigger, but it’s going to go down. It won’t come back harder and stronger, and it can actually cause permanent damage.”
Other doctors like @drpremtripathi on Tiktok, in the below video, actually warn guys about bone-smashing leading to a condition called “malunion”, where a fractured bone heals in an abnormal position. This can lead to impaired function of the bone or limb, and can even even cause disfigurement.
As for mewing, there is also no credible research that proves it can permanently alter your jaw structure. In fact, Vice.com reports that John Mew, the orthodontist who created this method in the 70s, even had his dental license stripped for his unconventional practices.
At the end of the day, if you want the jawline of Timothée Chalamet, an internet hoax is not the answer, so it’s best to look elsewhere.
Do you have a sense of humor? Are you a caring person? Do you have integrity? Are you a good listener? These traits give you value as a friend, family member, or romantic partner.
Above all, always consult a doctor before trying out any medical advice you hear online from a stranger. If not, your disappointment may be… bone crushing.