Too young for cosmetic and/or aesthetic surgery?
The pressure on young women and men these days to look good for their social media profile is leading to more and more teens wanting to have cosmetic surgery and or aesthetic treatments.
The most popular invasive procedures for youngsters are rhinoplasty (nose jobs) breast augmentation (boob jobs) and otoplasty (surgery for protruding ears).
On the list for “must-have” aesthetic treatments are botox and lip fillers… with young girls of 16 and 17 (and often younger) wanting to follow in the footsteps of their idols like Kylie Jenner whose plump pout seems to be her main claim to fame.
It’s a worrying trend. Succumbing to peer pressure is unhealthy and there are many other factors to consider too.
In your teens, and early twenties, your face is still developing so practioners should look at the bigger picture and consider a child’s anatomical development, as well as their maturity and motivation.
Our bodies mature at different times. Among the most targeted areas for correction or “improvement” ears become stable the earliest, typically by age 4, so arguably an early op to correct a feature which causes distress is understandable. The nose is at its final size by around age 13 in 99 percent of girls – but for boys that may be 17 or older. Lips are likely still changing at 17 and breasts may not be mature until 20.
Puppy fat plays a part too. Younger faces tend to have a youthful, chubbier bloom than older ones, and when the puppy disappears facial features can look very different. A young person’s motivation for change must be considered by all practitioners, cosmetic or aesthetic. “Parents have to talk with their children about why they want the procedure,” says Lee Garrett of Harley Streets Garrett Clinic.
“Parental consent is actually required for all procedures performed on anyone younger than 18. “Parents need to know why a child has an issue with the part of the body they want to change and try to be fair and objective about arranging a procedure. A young girl who is fixating on images of celebrities or is envious about an older sibling’s looks needs to talk about it, not book a procedure.” Trends should be avoided.
Big lips may currently be in style, but fashions change (ask anyone who plucked out their eyebrows in the 60s). Aesthetic, rather than invasive cosmetic surgery, is the preferable way to go and even then caution has to be applied. For example, preventative botox – having wrinkles paralysed before they appear – is important but there is an age limit on this especially at the Garrett Clinic and something which Lee will not carry out if you’re in your teens. “After consultation, even some older clients who think they need botox find they are more suitable for other treatments, perhaps laser resurfacing or a collagen-stimulating filler,” he says.
Lee has always been an advocate for tweakments – small treatments which are not obvious to anyone other than the person who is having them done. “I am wary about treating clients in their 20s,” says Lee, “but it’s true that clients are starting to come to the clinic at a younger age. “At all ages I always recommend small, regular tweakments. The key word here is subtle.”
So while The Garrett Clinic offers a wide range of anti-ageing treatments they really do not recommend them for someone who hasn’t even started the ageing process and this process really does start at the age of 28. Acne treatments and skin rejuvenation for clients with acne scarring are a different matter of course. “These days there is no need for someone to suffer the horrors of bad skin through their teens and early 20s,” says Lee. “But there is a big difference between treating skin disease and repairing skin problems and changing features before a face has had time to grow and settle.”