I’ll start by stating the obvious, I’m not at all averse to cosmetic procedures and I’m all for people feeling confident, happy and content. On the other hand, that’s not to say that I don’t think it’s without serious mental and physical risks and I’m concerned about the growing risk of very young people, making snap choices about surgery.
Let’s face it, in 2019 it’s becoming impossible to escape surgery and “self-improvements” especially with companies like Superdrug offering Botox during your lunch break. Alongside, this, there’s now a reduction in price, an increase in the accessibility, and fashion. Right before our eyes, the concept has quickly become more popular than ever. Whilst popularity is not a problem, we actually need to talk about the audience. My primary job is in the Insurance sector and we offer a product that provides cover for the Tattoo & Beauty Industry. We’re receiving calls from beauticians who are being asked to offer treatments such as laser hair removal, injectable’s such as lip fillers, and semi permeant makeup, for girls as young as 13.
Our policy is not to provide cover for any of these treatments until the individual is 18 years of age, which falls in line with the policy for most Cosmetic Surgeons within the UK. That’s not to say that I still think 18 years of age is frankly too young. At 18 our bodies are still changing, there’s enough pressure to keep up with work/uni, friendships, dating, and self-discovery. I’m not entirely sure that adding the risk and possible implications of cosmetic surgery or injectable treatments into the mix is necessarily a good idea.
Speaking from my own personal experience, as a once vulnerable and easily influenced 18-year-old, I’m thankful that these procedures weren’t as accessible or highly publicized 15 years ago. I spent 10 years considering cosmetic surgery, years of savings, followed by months researching the procedure and my surgeon. That’s why I think nipping out for something like a “Lip Filler” on a whim is not only dangerous physically, but also has serious mental implications.
“Rushing into surgery without consideration can cause lasting damage – more than half (59%) of patients undertaking surgery less than two weeks after their first consultation are actually less confident about their appearance afterward.” BAPRAS
One of the most amazing parts of our modern day lifestyle is how many beauty hacks we have at our fingertips. From gel-filled bras to contouring the perfect bone structure, or even faking bigger lips or the perfect cleavage and the availability of hair extensions (although this isn’t the most ethical practice). But keep in mind, when our obsession with physical beauty can sometimes feel out of control, there’s nearly always the good old fashioned response of not following the crowd.
I decided to be honest and document my cosmetic surgery experience because I wanted to open people’s eyes to the reality behind the smoke screen. I felt that so many of us only see the “Before & After” and there’s a resistance to discuss the less than glamorous recovery. I suppose this is because we’ve all been sold the idea of a “quick fix” and we’ve become a world obsessed with instant results.
“There are a number of worrying trends – a quarter of all people having cosmetic surgery in the UK (24%) do not check their surgeon’s credentials, a fifth (21%) aren’t aware of the risks associated with the procedure and a further fifth (22%) aren’t even clear on the potential outcomes of their procedure before going ahead. Furthermore, a quarter (27%) are not aware if any aftercare is available should something go wrong…” – BAPRAS
Whilst I was doing some research for this post, I discovered that the renowned photographer Rankin had started a new series on Instagram. He took a portrait picture of each young lady and then passed them the reigns to make themselves “Instagram worthy” and the results speak volumes.
“This is a new, enhanced reality, a world in which teenagers can alter themselves digitally within seconds. Mix this with the celebrities and influencers flaunting impossible shapes with impossible faces and we’ve got a recipe for disaster.” – Selfie Harm
At the end of the day, whilst I want people to be happy, for me having cosmetic surgery was an excellent choice for my self-confidence and has brought me great joy. On the other hand, I also want to make as many people as possible aware of the mental and physical effects of these procedures. I know that “We only live once” and we want to live our “Best Life” but please, not at the cost of physical or mental health. It’s perfectly okay to not look “Instagram Perfect” and frankly, I think we need to get some control before our quest for physical beauty goes too far.