Teens see plastic-shaped bodies on the Media, but also in real life every day more and more. Women put polymers in their mouths, breasts, remove ribs for a thin waist … Perhaps the cosmetic surgery seems to be the perfect solution for adults with a low level of confidence, but is anyone wondering how this new wave of beautification affects children, primarily teenagers?
The difference between plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery
In the beginning, I want to say that the goal of this article doesn’t slight the work of plastic surgeons. On the contrary, their knowledge is admirable and their abilities to improve the quality of life. But, under the quality of life, health is crucial, while the outward appearance is not significant as health.
Therefore, it is important to understand the difference between plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery. According to The Free Dictionary by Farlex, cosmetic or aesthetic surgery is surgery in which the principal purpose is to improve the appearance. Cosmetic surgery is a milder version of plastic surgery. The picture below explains this difference very well.
Graphic Provided By the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery
It is indisputable that plastic surgery on teens with the goal to improve their health is absolutely acceptable. But, we must determine should teens have plastic surgery to improve their beauty. Actually, that question is subject of this article. Also, with this article, I want to explain how advertisement of cosmetic surgery can affect teens negatively. Perhaps we can’t escape from harmful advertisements, but we can teach teens to regard spiritual values above external.
Why are teenagers a sensitive group when considering cosmetic surgery?
From the very beginning of adolescence, children start looking for answers to many questions related to their appearance. Will my breasts grow more? Why do my hips become so wide? Will the scars on my face be permanent when my acne passes? Will my acne ever pass? Is my body attractive enough? Will others accept my look? Will I find someone who will love me like I am? Since teens are in a period when peers’ opinion and integration into society are extremely important, they may feel sadness, anger, disappointment, and even hopelessness, even due to small physical defects.
The teenagers’ confusions related to appearance becomes much more complex under influence of artificial beauty promotion. For example, girls get the impression that they aren’t attractive if they have small or large breasts by observing the “perfect breasts” of women who have polymers in them. In girls, that may cause confusion, dissatisfaction with appearance, low level of self-confidence and even social-emotional disorders.
Of course, cosmetic surgery affects boys as well, considering that the number of men who opt for it increase. According to verywell.com, in 2016, men had over 1 million surgical cosmetic procedures, ie over 9% of the total. The most common surgical cosmetic procedures on men were liposuction, male breast reduction, eyelid surgery,… That is why the opinion of teenagers that cosmetic surgery can solve dissatisfaction with physical appearance shouldn’t surprise us. Namely, according to Plasticsurgery.org, children from age 12 to 19 have 228 797 cosmetic procedures, including 66 889 cosmetic surgical procedures, like breast lift and augmentation, liposuction, tummy tucks,…
Why we should consider plastic surgery on teens?
Certainly, for both genders, promotion of plastic surgery with the purpose to improve beauty is actually presenting physical appearance as significant for life’s success and happiness. Cosmetic surgery is presented as a way to better acceptance in society, greater happiness and life success. In fact, the problem is the degradation of the importance of spiritual qualities in relation to those external. I believe that you understand harmfulness of that to the mental health of children and the whole society.
For now, there aren’t enough studies about improving the general picture of self, self-esteem or quality of life by cosmetic surgery. It has proved only that cosmetic surgery gives complacency because of the operative part of the body. Thus, several studies have found that adolescents who operated a physical deformation were more complacent with that body part after the procedure. But, the increase in complacency was also reported by adolescents who had the same physical defect but didn’t operate it. Also, it has proved that adolescents are more complacent with their appearance after 18 years of their life. So, over time, teens increasingly accept their body. Viz, the image that teens have about their appearance become better with maturation – even without cosmetic surgery.
After all, considering plastic surgery on teens, the most important is the fact that teens are in a period of great psychophysical changes. That changes can take up to 20 years. Therefore, it’s very difficult to assess whether cosmetic surgery is appropriate and necessary for teenagers since their bodies are still developing. It’s possible that some of the disadvantages that make a teenager dissatisfied will be fixed in his/her early 20’s. Also, it’s possible that the teenager might even start to like it later.
Many young girls think that their breasts are too small and think about increasing them by surgery without taking into account that their breasts will probably grow a little more with a natural weight increase in late adolescence. Likewise, some girls suffer during the teenage years because they have bigger breasts than their peers, but they begin to consider them as a sign of femininity and their advantages later.
Simply, if physical appearance causes great suffering, only a person who is emotionally mature enough to have realistic expectations and can assess the risk should solve this suffer through cosmetic surgery.
What to do if a teenager wants to have the plastic surgery?
If a teen wants to have some of the plastic surgery, you should instruct him/her what that procedure exactly is. Precisely, you should instruct her/him how long the procedure lasts, what are its risks, how long the recovery is,… For that purpose, the best is finding the help of professionals, plastic surgeons. But first of all, it’s necessary to determine why the teenager might want this kind of procedure. Plastic surgery on teens with the goal to improve their health is absolutely acceptable. But if teens want to have plastic surgery to improve their beauty, we should consider whether such a kind of beautification is really needed for their happiness or if there are some alternatives. You should discover whether a teen might want cosmetic surgery because he/she feels the rejection of peers, due to pressure from the media or because of some other reasons.
After all, talking with the teenager about cosmetic surgery should mean an awakening of a sense of value that isn’t related only to physical appearance. You should influence the teenager to do what he/she is good at, what are his/her abilities, talents and gifts. Explain to him/her that physical appearance is one of the first things that can attract other people, but attitudes, a system of values, emotions and characteristics of one person are actually important in order to save people near. As Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach said: “What delights us in Visible Beauty is The Invisible”.
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