As recent statistics – and a welter of newspaper reports – have borne out, teenagers are getting very interested in cosmetic procedures. Not only is the number of teens seeking plastic surgery growing, but the average age of first-time clients is being dragged down. There are many different factors which are being pointed out (or blamed) for this, but the reasons why aren’t as clear-cut as the media assumes.
For example, recent studies claim that cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures are on the rise amongst teenagers, but the most-requested procedures tend to be low-level, non-invasive procedures which tackle typical teenage ailments – such as microdermabrasion, chemical peels and laser skin resurfacing, which deals with the timeless teen problem of acne scarring and clogged-up skin pores brought on by adolescence. The idea of waves of teenagers with more money than sense bombarding clinics with requests to reshape themselves into clones of whoever’s the flavour of the month simply doesn’t exist: teenagers are far more interested in getting rid of zits and blackheads, just like we were when we were their age, and have far better options than we did.
Are dermal fillers really necessary?
A more alarming aspect involves the rise of dermal fillers. Yesterday’s celebrities would go to extraordinary lengths to hide the fact that they’d had work done. Now that the stigma of cosmetic procedures has been almost completely dropped, today’s celebrities are extremely happy to talk about their latest treatments, if only because it guarantees a few more column inches and a place on a chat show sofa.
Teenagers – natural followers of celebrity culture – see this and want in on it, unaware that one of the main reasons the celebs are doing it is to look the same age as the teenagers who want to look like them. In any case, fully legitimate clinics strongly recommend against the use of dermal fillers and Botox on teenagers, for the same reason as more intense procedures
Some faces are more mature than others
For example, let’s look at one of the more intense procedures offer by the cosmetic surgery industry: nose reshaping. Many experts generally agree that the earliest ideal time to consider cosmetic surgery on the nose is during the teenage phase – although they argue on precisely when during that time, because peoples’ noses develop at their own individual pace.
Many professional surgeons will refuse to operate on a client until their nasal septum has fully developed during facial growth, and that tends to happen in the late teens. The reason for this is obvious: if the parts of the nose are still growing when the operation takes place, they’ll continue to grow afterwards, leading to disfigurement and the need for further surgery.
Certain experts point towards another factor that the media tends to ignore: parents who offer cosmetic surgery for their children as a gift or reward, to be taken up the minute they hit a certain age or achieve a certain grade. Parents of younger clients are required to be involved in any case, but in certain cases the surgeon has to address and temper the expectations of the parents as well as ensuring the client is sufficiently mature – both physically and mentally – to undergo surgery.