Elf ears: The surprising cosmetic procedure that’s booming in China

In China, Gen Z is turning to plastic surgery to get elf ears. — ETX Studio pic
In China, Gen Z is turning to plastic surgery to get elf ears. — ETX Studio pic

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BEIJING, June 17 — What in the world is this new fad that everyone’s talking about in China?

Elf ears are the latest trend currently sweeping Chinese Gen Zers, and we’re not talking about makeup or accessories here, but about cosmetic surgery.

According to the statements of those concerned, it’s a procedure that can make their faces look slimmer without ever having to touch it directly.

While cosmetic and plastic surgery operations have been on the rise in recent months, with a boom in liposuction procedures and tummy tucks in the US, a new, more surprising procedure is gaining much media attention in China: elf ears.

Make no mistake, this is no April Fool’s or bad joke, but a growing surgery trend in China, mainly among the generation of young people born after the 2000s, as revealed by the South China Morning Post.

A thinner, slimmer face

This new trend hasn’t sprung up from some science-fiction movie popular with young people. It is a bona fide cosmetic procedure in the strict sense of the term, in that it’s all about overcoming certain complexes or meeting certain ‘beauty’ ideals.

The South China Morning Post reports that Chinese Gen Zers are turning to this operation to get a “thinner, slimmer face.” And it appears to work, from the look of the social media reactions of those concerned, particularly on the Xiaohongshu platform.

“It is magic! I haven’t changed anything on my face and yet all my friends said I look different the day I got it done,” is just one of the messages seen on the platform, reports the South China Morning Post.

The newspaper also confirms this craze with numerous testimonies from cosmetic surgery professionals, who report an increase in requests for operations of this type.

Protruding and pointed

So what exactly do elf ears look like? To cut to the chase, it’s basically about getting ears that are pointed in shape, a touch more prominent, and slightly protruding.

This is quite an achievement, considering that these three characteristics would, in many countries, be considered complexes that could be “fixed” with the help of... cosmetic surgery.

It remains to be seen whether this is merely a passing trend, or whether the craze — as surprising as it may be — can pique the interest of young people in the rest of the world. Especially since face masks have focused attention on ears — like eyes — in recent months, making them the latest targets for make-up artists. Watch this space. — ETX Studio

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