Wannabe 'Bagel Heads' Injecting Saline Into Their Forehead

By Amir Khan on September 28, 2012 9:04 AM EDT

Bagel Head
Have you ever wanted to be a "bagel head?" Well thousands of Japanese do, and they're injected saline solution into their forehead to achieve the look. (Photo: National Geographic)

Have you ever wanted to be a "bagel head?" Well thousands of Japanese do, and they're injected saline solution into their forehead to achieve the look. The trend, outlined in a new episode of "National Geographic Taboo," is the newest fad in the Japanese body modification scene.

How do trendsetters achieve the bizarre look? A technician injects 400 cc's of saline to create a blob in the center of the forehead. Then, they use their thumb to make an indent in the center, giving the patient the sought-after bagel head. The whole process takes two hours.

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But is the process dangerous? Omar Ibrahimi, a dermatologist at the Connecticut Skin Institute and visiting assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, who performs cosmetic procedures, says it could be.

While the body can absorb saline solution injected under the skin, too much can be dangerous.

"Saline solution that is too concentrated can overload the body's capacity to process salt," he said, according to Fox News.

If one of these people were to use a hypertonic saline solution, it could dehydrate the body, similarly to what drinking sea water does.

Another potential danger from the procedure is infection. If the saline solution isn't sterile, it could lead to a bacterial or fungal infection, Ibrahimi warned.  He said that the body can typically fight off bacteria found in unsterilized water, but that the bacteria has a better chance to take hold when injected under the skin.

Finally, the procedure could lead to skin problems, he said.

"I'd be worried that if people did this repeatedly you might actually, indeed, stretch the skin beyond its normal elasticity, and this could cause permanent laxity," Ibrahimi said. 

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