Buccal fat removal is one of the top trending aesthetic treatments this year. The search term "Buccal fat removal before and after" is soaring on Google searches, and on TikTok #buccalfatremoval has 192 millions views and counting. The surgical procedure involves the removal of fat from the cheeks, and has drummed up much debate about which celebrities may have had the procedure, as well as the long-term effects of the invasive treatment.
Aesthetic doctor Dr Saleena Zimri says that the procedure is becoming more popular, particularly amongst younger patients, but the long-term effects are something to seriously consider. "Well-defined cheek hollows and less fat on the face looks good now in younger patients, but as we age, we lose volume in our face, and this can cause us to look visibly older," she says. "I wouldn't recommend this procedure to anyone over the age of 40, as it may lead to an appearance that enhances the visible signs of ageing. Also, if your face is already angular, buccal fat removal could make you look gaunt and older than you are."
With celebrity influence and the impact of social media on our self-image, the desire for chiselled cheekbones and a defined jawline has grown significantly. Of course, no one needs to change their appearance, however, with interest in the procedure skyrocketing, I was keen to investigate other ways to non-surgically—and non-permanently—sculpt the face. That was when an email landed in my inbox asking if I wanted to try a "buccal facial" with leading lymphatic drainage and Ayurveda expert, Dimple Amani.
Dimple Amani Buccal Massage Before And After
Photo:Courtesy Dimple Amani
Dimple Amani's clients flock to her for her Buccal Facial Sculpt treatment, which aims to sculpt the cheekbones and jawline for a lifted effect.
I'd been following Amani on Instagram for a while, and was in awe of her lymphatic-drainage treatments that leave her clients looking svelte and sculpted. In fact, many celebrities see her for buccal facials ahead of major events and magazine shoots. I was surprised to learn that buccal massage comes with a whole host of other benefits, too. "Buccal facials help to release jaw tension, sinus [blockages] and headaches, as well as helping to sculpt the face," says Amani.
I visited Dimple Amani for a buccal massage facial.
I'm someone who (like so many of us) clenches my jaw subconsciously by day and my teeth by night, so I knew I could benefit from the tension-releasing effects of this treatment. It turns out that all that clenching is doing our skin no favours, either. "Having stiff muscles in your face can cause unhealthy blood flow and poor lymphatic circulation, which means our tissues do not receive enough nutrients and oxygen, resulting in inadequate detoxification in our lymphatic system," explains Amani. "Therefore, this often results in a dull complexion, puffiness and drooping of the cheeks due to the weight of water retention." Buccal massage helps to shift stagnant lymph and water retention that can sit in the lower half of the face.
Amani explains that buccal facial massage can also help with stress, anxiety and mental clarity, as well as leaving the face looking chiselled and improving skin from the inside out. And when I say inside out, I mean that literally—Amani's facial involves massaging inside the mouth with her fingers to fully maximise the benefits.
Ahead, read my review on this buccal facial massage treatment, as well as Amani's step-by-step guide to doing a DIY buccal facial massage at home.
Step 1: Activate Your Lymph Nodes
The first step in an at-home buccal massage is to apply face oil or a similar product to your skin to give it some slip. Amani applied her Miracle Velvet Facial Oil (£85) to begin my treatment. She explained that it's important to first activate the lymph nodes to help the detoxifying process. "The lymph nodes are activated gently with circular movements and a pumping motion in order to prep the skin for lymphatic drainage and to help push the lymph (or fluids) into the lymph nodes, which are the 'exit holes', and you will then naturally flush out the toxins through your kidneys and in the loo," she says.
Amani massaged behind my ears and around my shoulders and collarbones to activate the lymph nodes prior to massaging my face. At this point, she also applied a drop of her Lymph Body Drain and Navel Oil (£85) into my belly button, explaining that this would help to improve my digestion and thus benefit the breakouts I was experiencing around my chin and jaw.
Step 2: Massage the Skin With a Facial Tool
Lymph nodes activated, Amani started massaging my skin, working from the inside outwards in sweeping motions towards the ears to help drain the lymph in my face. Amani used her Kansa Wand (£85), which has a dual-ended copper tip that also benefits the skin.
"You can gently, yet with a firm pressure, use your favourite facial oil and perform a lymphatic drainage with your hands, or use facial tools like the Kansa Wand, which helps release tension, encourages lymph drainage and sculpts the face at the same time, giving you a 'snatched' jawline line and sculpted cheeks," she says. You can also use a gua sha tool or facial roller for this step. Just remember to move from the inside, gliding outwards to the lymph nodes behind your jaw and just under your ears.
Step 3: Buccal Massage
Next was the part of the facial I was most intrigued by. Amani began massaging inside my mouth, targeting my cheeks and jaw. It's a weird sensation to begin with, but I soon got used to it and could feel the tension in my jaw slowly melt away. As she did one side, I was actually quite shocked at how much tension had been released.
"The buccal massage looks like traditional lymphatic drainage massage, but is performed inside the mouth and is slightly deeper to release tension," says Amani, noting to go gently around the jaw if you're doing this for the first time. The masseter muscle (which sits over our jaw) can hold on to a lot of tension, so it can feel very tender here. It actually felt quite sore to massage during my treatment, so Amani advises to go gently and build the pressure over time as you adjust.
"The buccal massage is one of the facial massage techniques that specifically targets the drooping of the jowls—the lower region of the chin—which is a known problem area for some," she says. If you're doing this at home, she recommends thoroughly washing your hands (or wearing gloves) to gently massage inside your mouth.
If you don't fancy putting your hands in your mouth, Amani says there are alternatives you can try. "If you are not comfortable putting your fingers in your mouth, you can gently use your hands or a facial tool with your favourite facial oil to perform lymphatic drainage," she says.
Step 4: Drain
Amani used quick flicking motions around my chin, jaw and cheeks to finish the facial, which helps to drain away fluid from the face. By this point, it felt like my entire jaw had been restored to its factory settings. It turns out I'd been holding on to so much tension that I'd forgotten what it was like to not have it.
Once the facial was complete, Amani brewed me a cup of her Miracle Tea, which she created to help aid detoxification. She advised me to drink lots of water to help flush everything out. Our lymphatic system is like a waste disposal system, so this further aids the removal of toxins the facial has helped to move out.
The Result: Buccal Massage Before and After
Whilst my colleagues have told me that I already have a slender face, I have a penchant for salty foods which can sometimes result in my lower face looking puffy. I also have a lot of jaw tension, which Amani said she could feel in my masseter muscle. As I'd been giving it a proper workout recently, it felt quite prominent and tight. At 29, I'm not yet experiencing heavy jowls or drooping, but that being said, I'll never say no to the extra sculpting and cheekbone definition that Amani's clients have come to adore.
After my facial with Amani, I could see—and feel— a noticeable difference. She worked one side of my face first to show me just how transformative the massage technique is, and I was blown away. Whilst I don't have a huge amount of water retention in my face, I could see a sharper "V" jawline, and my cheekbones looked more prominent. Overall, my face looked more slender and defined, but what was most staggering was the tension release from my jaw. I walked out of my appointment feeling like a new woman, and I can see why Amani's clients are hooked too. In the hours after I enjoyed the sculpting effects, and over the following days I noticed that my skin glowed and the niggling breakouts around my chin had cleared up.
Of course, I can't ignore the price tag that comes with the treatment. At £425 for 60 minutes, it's an investment that I wouldn't ordinarily be able to afford myself. However, for a special event or wedding, I would say it's worth it. The best part is that an at-home buccal massage is an option for everyone, so you can maintain similar results at home with the right tools and techniques. I picked up many tips during my facial that I'll continue doing to keep my jaw feeling its best.
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