Team Costhetics wants to let you in on a secret; there’s a new must-have item on young people’s back-to-school lists. Gadgets are out. What’s in? Cosmetic procedures for Australian boys and girls aged 13-19, many of whom choose to be nipped, tucked, and injected.

These rising numbers are raising concerns that young people, as well as the adults they emulate, have become overly obsessed with appearance to the detriment of their health.  Recently, psychiatrists have linked the development of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (a psychological condition where people become obsessed with a perceived, but non-existent, flaw in their appearance) to social media.

“Two out of three of all the patients who come to see me with BDD since the rise of camera phones have a compulsion to repeatedly take and post selfies on social media sites.”Dr David Veal, psychiatrist dealing with “selfie addiction”

Celebrity selfies are seen as the chief culprit in this trend.

Kylie Jenner: Teen-dom’s Cosmetic Enhancement Role Model

When then-17-year-old Kylie Jenner admitted to having her lips injected and augmented, her admission caused expressions of shock and anger that someone so young would choose cosmetic enhancement. But, the fact is, Kylie is just one of thousands of teenagers who are visiting aesthetic specialists to make themselves more attractive.

63,623 cosmetic surgical procedures were performed on people age 13-19 in 2013, while 155,941 cosmetic minimally-invasive procedures were performed.”American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) press release

There’s a significant upside to cosmetic enhancement, however. Individuals “frequently gain self-esteem and confidence when their physical problems are eliminated” says ASPS.

The Healing Powers of Cosmetic Enhancement

Some people call cosmetic enhancement vanity, but others call it a lifesaver. Cosmetic surgery and non-surgical treatments can be useful in helping teens and adults bring their outward appearance into harmony with their idea of how they should look. The four most common surgery procedures requested by teens are:

  • Rhinoplasty (nose reshaping)
  • Otoplasty (ear surgery)
  • Surgery to correct breast asymmetry
  • Breast augmentation

The top five adult procedures, as listed by ASPS are:

  • Breast augmentation
  • Nose Reshaping
  • Liposuction
  • Eyelid Surgery
  • Facelift

It’s important that surgeons counsel their patients, particularly young patients, to go for a ‘personal best’ rather than emulate their favourite celebrity.

Best Diagnostic for a Cosmetic Surgery Patient

Cosmetic enhancement is not a solution for every patient. In young people, certain milestones in growth and physical maturity must be evaluated prior to giving a go-ahead to surgery.

When a teenager (or adult, for that matter) seems obsessed with cosmetic enhancement, the first step is what clinical psychologist Dr Judy Rosenberg calls ‘psycho-surgery.’ The goal is to determine whether the patient has the emotional maturity to make a decision about his/her appearance.

Dr Rosenberg recommends asking questions to find the root of the person’s interest in aesthetic procedures to ensure that it is a physical, rather than an emotional issue that is driving the decision. It is also critical to ensure that patients have realistic expectations regarding the benefits of cosmetic enhancement as well as its limitations.

Not sure where you stand? Wondering whether a procedure that you or a young friend/family member is considering is a good choice? Costhetics has the answer:

A consultation with a well-trained, experienced, and patient-centric aesthetic professional is always the best place to start.

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