As a medical professional, you will be aware that you can perform invasive cosmetic procedures on anyone, even aged below 18 years of age, as long as they can provide a proof of consent given by their parents or anyone over the age of 18. You can understand why – if there was an incident which led to child or teen’s certain disfiguration – their parents may want to fix that by getting them under the knife and re-constructing the part of the body affected. With latest technology, people can get rid of their birth marks, scars, facial disfigurations… That’s all very useful. However, this is all for ‘medical’ purposes. Not only to fix someone’s appearance but it could also help with some health problems or mental health problems.
While this law may seem perfectly acceptable, it is worthy of a thought to think about the times we live in, and how the world is now -more than ever -obsessed with appearances, looks and the ‘perfect’ image. The rise of visual social media platforms, where image and looks are the main (if not the only) focus, leads to unrealistic and idealistic visions of what looks ‘good’ and doesn’t – and our children – especially teens – are exposed to this every single day.
There are already reports of rising numbers of teenagers (aged 16 – 18) expressing interest for lip fillers, rhinoplasty, breast augmentation, buttock augmentation. Why? Experts put it down to social media influence and the effect of ‘Influencers‘ and social media ‘celebrities’ – the effortless Instagram’s by the pool with a pout visible from a mile and the perfect ‘hourglass’ figure exposed in a tight bikini – that’s what our teens and children are looking up to. They see the image of perfect – and want to become it. We’ve already seen the tragic consequences of teens chasing unrealistic beauty standards with the oh-so-viral “Kylie Lip Challenge”, an ‘alternative’ to lip fillers for those who can’t afford them.
Of course, as with everything, beauty standards are changing and people are calling more natural representations of women and men around the world – and the general ‘hype’ right now is natural beauty and non-invasive procedures are becoming more popular. However, the naive eyes of our children and teens are still looking at Kim and thinking “I wish I was like her”. Young persons are very impressionable, male or female. It is important that we put laws in place that prevent them from doing more harm than good for their bodies. It is important that we put specific regulations in place to prevent body alterations until the bodies themselves are fully developed.
Even though, the law does call for parental (or any person over the age of 18) consent, it may not be enough. We’ve all heard stories of those parents and guardians, trying to pursue their own career dreams through their children – whether the children themselves like it or not – by pushing them into careers of models, taking part in Beauty Pageants and blooming Instagram accounts. While you would hope most of these parents would alter their child’s appearance due to current trends and influenced by celebrities – it still happens.
What do you think? Should we have better regulation in place? Have you ever experienced this first hand? Leave a comment or contact us on social media.
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