Are ‘Bagel Head’ Saline Injections Safe? Depends, Says Doc

Dusten Carlson - Author

Jun. 15 2013, Updated 7:27 p.m. ET

Let’s be honest. Japan’s latest fad, injecting saline solution into the forehead to make it appear as though a bagel has been implanted under the skin, is a little weird.

Though the bizarre body modification procedure isn’t permanent (the swelling disappears in about a day) the “bagel head” craze still rings strange to many in the Western hemisphere. Still, the first question on many of our minds is a simple one: Is injecting 13.5 ounces (400 milliliters) of saline into one’s forehead even safe?

It depends, according to Omar Ibrahimi, a dermatologist at the Connecticut Skin Institute and visiting assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. Ibrahimi told Fox that there are basically three big red flags to becoming a bagel head:

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First: Yes, the body can safely absorb saline solution injected under the skin, but it’s a matter of moderation. Notes Ibrahimi, “saline solution that is too concentrated can overload the body’s capacity to process salt,” so if a bagel head accidentally uses highly-concentrated hypertonic saline, they could experience severe dehydration on par with taking giant gulps of sea water.

Second: Sterility concerns. Ibrahimi says that there exists “a lot of risk of bacterial or fungal infection,” from un-sterilized saline solution. A lot of pathogens can be taken care of by the immune system, but injecting such a thing directly beneath the skin gives germs a higher chance to gain a real foothold (it’s a common concern for tattooing as well).

Then third: Cosmetic woes. People who get the bagel head over and over run the risk of permanently damaging the skin: “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. So while you’d be the bees-knees while the fad is in vogue, after the excitement has died down, bagel heads run the risk of waking up everyday to a floppy fried egg on their foreheads, a sad reminder of a fun fad you overdid when you were young and stupid.

What do you think of the bagel head fad? Interesting, hilarious, cool, or disturbing? Sound off!


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