Can you spot what is slightly off in this picture?
This is not a natural Mona Lisa smile but a surgically enhanced, permanent smile.
The trend of permanently turning up the outer corners of the lips into a smirk is apparently becoming a thing in South Korea.
News of the procedure appears to have been made mainstream with a Reddit thread a few days ago (via Business Insider) pointing out an Imgur photo that launched discussion about the unusual plastic surgery.
Similar to how the lips and cheeks of the Joker in Batman were cut into a perpetual smile — although less gruesome — the surgery is meant to flip downturned lips upward.
Aone Plastic & Aesthetic Surgery in South Korea performs the procedure and even has a promotional video describing the “Smile Lipt (lip+lift).”
“It is the mouth corners that have the huge impact of making good impressions,” the video states.
The procedure involves cutting muscles that draw the mouth corners downward, not just cutting a upturned shape into the skin as the second image in this post seems to show. With the surgery, the “person can have [a] smiling impression without actually smiling.”
Watch the slightly more than 12 minutes detailing the procedure:
Indiana-based plastic surgeon Barry Eppley with Eppley Plastic Surgery told ABC News this procedure is nothing new and noted that it is even a surgery he performs in the U.S.
“It was introduced over fifty years ago and it was developed to treat the downturned corners of the mouth that develop from aging as the facial tissues sag,” he said. “This facial droop pushes down on the mouth corners changing a horizontal smile line to an inverted smile line (at rest) in some people.”
What is new, according to Eppley, is the shift in patient age.
“Corner of the mouth lift is traditionally done for patients who have general facial aging concerns” — usually over 45,” Eppley told ABC. “But I have done the procedure on much younger patients- as young as age 16 – who naturally have downturned corners of the mouth.”
(H/T: Huffington Post)