One of the oldest needs of homo sapiens was to extend life and look young forever. There are Biblical and even epic stories which support the claim, such as the Epic of Gilgamesh, which tells about the human desire to live a longer (and even eternal) life. Despite huge advances in medicine, in the last 6,000 to 7,000 years it has not progressed in terms of finding the cure for eternal life.
However, one thing medicine did manage to achieve. Thanks to numerous advancement and medicines, the length of an average human life has extended significantly – it has doubled and even tripled in the past half a millennium.
What modern age also brought us is constantly living under the microscope of the public. The advance in technology, IT and the emergence of social media and reality shows have brought us the need to look the best we can, thus showing the world perfect measures, symmetrical faces and plump lips.
The saying that age does not matter is becoming ever more popular. We even witness teenagers, with perfect skin and proportions, wanting to overarch their self-image and reach for perfection. The perfect example of this is Kylie Jenner recently admitting publicly that she had cosmetic procedures done on her lips.
Even though lip fillers she uses are temporary, the very fact that an underage person was so insecure that she had this procedure done raises some questions. One cannot help but wonder if the age of seventeen is a bit too young for having a cosmetic procedure.
What doctors have to say about this?
Eugene Kim, M.D. is a plastic surgeon who says that these lip fillers made of hyaluronic acid are a natural substance which can also be found in the body. One of the greatest assets of this procedure is that it is reversible. A medication called hyaluronidase is injected into the lips, and it dissolves the filler so that lips return to their former shape and size.
Underage patients wanting this procedure have to talk to an MD that is going to perform the procedure, so that the MD can determine whether they are mature enough for the procedure and doing it for the right reasons. Talking to a psychologist is also a possibility before the procedure is done.
However, when it comes to teenagers below the age of 18, parental consent is required before the procedure is even considered. After this, physical tests are being done to see if the body has developed and there are no side-effects connected to its further development while the fillers are in the growing body.
One of the concerns people have is the judgement of the doctor who decides to perform the procedure on an underage person. The question of whether a teenager has developed critical thinking by that time, and is old enough to realise that physical appearance should not be messed with while still in the growing phase is where many concerned parents and advisers start their talk.
Even though teen age is a tough period for every person, it can be even worsened if all temporary caprices are being satisfied. What is also of concern is the fact that an adolescent brain is not yet fully developed (it reaches maturity in the mid-20s) to be able to make a rational decision. Moreover, it is prone to rash and impulsive reactions, which all result in unpredictable behaviour and one cannot really trust oneself fully at that age.
Which procedures are age-restricted?
There are some cosmetic procedures which are age-restricted.
What most teenagers age 18-19 want is breast augmentation when suffering from a condition called breast asymmetry, which basically means that one breast is larger than the other. There are age restrictions for this procedure and they involve the type of implants. For example, breast augmentation with saline-filled implants is restricted to the gentle age of 18; on the other hand, silicone implants can be used only after the woman is 22 years or older because only then does her body develop fully.
On the other hand, if one plans to do a mini face lift, also known as MACS lift (meaning Minimal Access Cranial Suspension), one should be at least 40 years of age, but in people older than 40, and even age 60 to 80, mini face lift can achieve great results as well. The most important thing about this procedure is that you talk to your surgeon and consult them about the possible outcomes, asking them to be realistic in expectations so that you know what to expect.
Even though this is a sensitive question in terms of ethics, the inner world of the patient should be under the microscope at all times. Their insecurities at young age can result in serious problems later.
Gabriella Diesendorf is a freelance writer from Australia and a devoted mother. She loves badgering about beauty, green lifestyle choices and parenting techniques. She is a regular contributor at High Style Life.