University of Nebraska Medical Center

‘Bone Smashing’ TikTok Trend, Here Are Dangers Of Hammering Your Face


If you are wondering whether you should hit yourself in the face with a hammer, the answer is typically no. Yet, that’s what some people on TikTok seem to be doing with the stated goal of improving their facial appearances. Yes, you heard that correctly. People have been using the term “bone smashing” to refer to this practice of hitting their faces with hammers, bottles, massagers or other blunt objects in the pursuit of beauty. In fact, videos with the phrase “bone smashing tutorial” have already garnered over 267.7 million views on TikTok. But regardless of what some TikTokers and other pro-bone smashers may say about this practice, keep in mind that there is no evidence that breaking the bones in your face will be a smashing success—unless, of course, your goal is to cause yourself pain and do some real damage to your face.

How are people even justifying the practice of self-pummeling one’s own face? Well, they appear to be crying Wolff, meaning that they are citing something called Wolff’s Law. Back in the 1800s, a little before TikTok became a thing, German anatomist and surgeon Julius Wolff formulated Wolff’s Law. Wolff’s Law is based on the observation that you and your bones are not like a Ken doll. Rather than being completely inanimate structures, your bones are constantly undergoing remodeling with old or damaged bone continuously being resorbed and replaced by newly laid bone. Applying mechanical force or physical stress to your bones can actually increase the rate that such remodeling occurs and, in the process, result in stronger, thicker bones. Conversely, the lack of such force or stress can lead to thinner and weaker bones. That’s one of the reasons why physical activity, especially weight-bearing exercises, can help maintain bone strength and prevent bone loss. So, the bone-headed claim is that you can use a blunt object to cause fractures in your face in a manner that can re-shape your face from what it looks like now. It’s essentially being touted as a permanent makeover, allowing you to give yourself more of a “chiseled” look, so to speak. And the belief is that when the bones in your face heal from, you know, beating the bleep out of them, they will actually become even stronger, because, “That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” right? Why not then start treating your face as if it were one of those statues on Easter Island? What could possibly go wrong?

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