According to the American Society of Plastic Surgery, teens are having plastic surgery in high numbers. In 2003, 225,000 teenagers had plastic surgery. In 1997, the number of teens having plastic surgery was just under 60,000. That is a significant change.
The most common types of cosmetic procedures among teens are:
• Chemical Peels
• Laser hair removal
• Nose jobs
• Ear surgery
• Breast reduction
• Breast enlargement
• Chin augmentation
Why are so many teens turning to plastic surgery?
There are many reasons why teen plastic surgery is so popular. One reason is that our society places great value on physical attractiveness. According to the study of plastic surgeons Mary McGrath and Sanjay Mukerji, those who are slender, youthful and handsome are rewarded in society. Another reason is that our culture puts an emphasis on self-improvement as a way to gain an edge in competition. Additionally, plastic surgery lives up to society's expectations.
Is plastic surgery bad?
Among teens who have procedures, the vast majority of them are getting nose reshaping, ear surgery, acne scar treatments and breast reductions. Teens getting these procedures may be trying to correct physical defects or to alter body parts that make them uncomfortable. Plastic surgery have two different types: Plastic cosmetic surgery is the improvement of normal structures of the body through a surgical or non-surgical treatment; while Reconstructive Surgery is performed to correct abnormal parts of the body caused by trauma, congenital defects and other diseases. It is very important to know the purpose of the procedure. We might not want to judge teens who need to correct some deformities. These types of reconstructive procedures can alleviate social pressure and teasing from peers. Read more about this topic in KidsHealth.
Talking to teens about plastic surgery
When discussing the subject of plastic surgery with teenagers, there will be a different set of factors which are related to self-esteem that come into play.
• Understand why a teen wants to have plastic surgery. If the decision to have it is made, gently guide them to have realistic expectations about the process and the likely results from the surgery.
• Remember that serious issues of both self-esteem and self-image are at the heart of a teen's desire to have plastic surgery. Always remember that surgeries are not a quick-fix to social problems.
• Parents should comprehend that procedures for teens are appropriate and life-enhancing; however, they should remember that there are many bad reasons to allow teens to have cosmetic procedures done. Conversely, there are many good reasons to have them done.
• Motivation should come from within. Plastic surgery has to be for the right reasons. Not because someone else feels it's something the teen should do.
• Make sure the concern is consistent. If they are complaining about the nose one week and the breasts the week after that, then there may be an inconsistency with what they are truly unhappy about.
• Be sure that the teenager is sufficiently mature. Emotional distress has to be reduced to a level that is going to permit the teenager to have the ability to tolerate the temporary disfiguring physical alteration of surgery.
• Plastic surgery is not advised for teenagers who have mood disorders/swings or behavior that is erratic or unruly. Plastic surgery is not for teens who are abusing drugs or alcohol. Also, teens who are being treated for clinical depression or other mental illnesses should be deterred from having plastic surgery.
• When choosing a plastic surgeon, make sure he or she is board certified.
Making sure that teens want plastic surgery for the right reasons is key in all the above tips. If they don't quite seem sure about what they want, then it's probably safe to say they are not ready for plastic surgery. The article Cosmetic Surgery and Your Teen-Talking to Young Adults about Cosmetic Surgery is a helpful guide for parents in advising their teens.
It is also important to talk to a teen with a degree of seriousness about their concerns. Since many issues are self-esteem related, not taking them seriously can make them feel worse than they already feel about themselves. Additionally, telling them that they look fine will not exactly help them. They do not feel fine about the way they look, and that is probably why they are considering plastic surgery procedures. After talking with them, they may elect to have surgery. Having discussed the matter thoroughly will make parents feel more comfortable about their decision to allow the teen's surgery.