The perception of beauty among generations is constantly evolving, placing pressures and creating social norms within society. Through increasing popularity and significant reliance on social media and technology as a whole, teenagers are constantly exposed to the feeling of not being good enough. Social media reinforces unrealistic standards of beauty and success, painting a tainted picture of reality. In saying this, social media has been linked to low self-esteem and insecurity, with such societal pressures turning into a form of expectation, affecting entire communities. Growing acceptance of plastic surgery or non-invasive cosmetic procedures has meant both positive and negative outcomes for those wanting to change something about themselves. It has become more and more popular to see people documenting and videoing their own plastic surgery experiences and is considered ‘the norm’ these days. People are much more comfortable sharing their self-care rituals even if that involves knives and needles.

Apart from the purpose of changing physical appearance, there are some health benefits to cosmetic surgery. An example of this would be dermal fillers like botox, this has been proven to help with conditions such as chronic migraines, excessive sweating, and even major depression. Another example would be those who choose to undertake a breast reduction surgery, leaving them relief from back problems or pain. Some individuals six plastic surgery as a way to remove excess skin that can cause severe rashes or infections after a significant weight loss journey. Something like eyelid surgery can also improve vision and enhance motor skills, making you more alert.

Although there are many benefits to both the mental and physical well-being of the individual, it is important to remember that the risks can sometimes be irreversible. Often, doing your research can mean you are avoiding the potential for a disaster however, not even this can prevent you from the potential risks associated with plastic surgery. It is common to hear horror stories, particularly when people travel overseas to have work done. Researchers say that Thailand has fast become the destination of choice for young Australian women that are planning cosmetic surgeries, particularly breast surgery. Contrary to popular belief, a lot of the surgeries aren’t actually performed by dodgy doctors in alleyways and the majority of the procedures take place in higher quality international hospitals by qualified doctors. It goes without saying that when it comes to health nothing should be compromised. Although surgery in Thailand is inexpensive, the risks can be irreparable and even life-threatening. More often than not, it is a case of a doctor claiming to be more qualified and experienced than what they actually are. The lack of regulation my Thailand has been exposed by numerous cases in recent years. Furthermore, hygiene in some hospitals is maintained at a very low standard. Basic things like being able to afford an air compressor for better air quality or even sanitizers can cause the spread of infection. Other potential difficulties that may be in counted would be the obstacle of potential communication barriers. With patients being foreign and not able to speak their native language, when it comes to medicine and any discussion relating to plastic surgery procedures, there is potential for misunderstanding and confusion. With knowledge and awareness of these risks though-out the media, would you still do it?

For many, quality of life is compromised, and plastic surgery seems to be the only option for them… rather a last resort. In hindsight, the risk is willing to be taken. It is common to assume that making these changes will make you happy, but a lot of the time it doesn’t. Physiologically, it is important to find a sense of security and self-love before you start changing your appearance. Relying on a plastic surgery procedure to make you happy might just have the opposite effect once all the hype is over. Coming to the realization that happiness comes from within can be a shock to a lot of people, and this is where ‘perspective’ comes into play. These are lessons that are learned through life experiences and choices, whereby we develop and grow within, and the obsession of looking ‘perfect’ on the outside slowly fades.

Another topic of conversation surrounds the theory that once you start you never stop. Some say plastic surgery does little to alleviate or improve an individual’s mental health problems and in some cases worsen symptoms of depression and anxiety. Plastic surgery addiction is a behavioral addiction that negatively impacts a person’s mental well-being, overall health, and finances. Sadly those with body dysmorphic disorder are most likely to become addicted to plastic surgery. A person will often begin to structure their life around upcoming operations and begin to rely on plastic surgery as a source of their self-esteem. Once an individual has this dangerous mindset they may develop an addiction and be unable to stop applying for procedures. Even when surgeons refused to operate on them, they still manage to find a less qualified doctors to perform risky operations and in extreme cases, they may attempt to surgery themselves. Believe it or not, there are rehabilitation centers that offer therapy and support for addicts recovering from plastic surgery addiction. In particular, cognitive behavioral therapy and another mental health coaching.

Bringing light to the disasters of plastic surgery is the American reality television series ‘Botched’. Renowned, well-known plastic surgeons Paul Nassif and Terry Dubrow try to reverse damages from the original procedure. Essentially, different episodes follow varying patients/cases through the process of correcting prior plastic surgery, gone wrong. Whether this is a lopsided breast from a breast augmentation gone wrong, or an injury from a job site, like an air compressor service gone wrong, or someone has fallen from a ladder and needs facial reconstruction. Social media and Facebook groups such as ‘plastic surgery journey’ bring awareness to both the good and bad of cosmetic surgery, naming and shaming any doctors who have ruined people’s lives. If social media serves for any purpose, it’s that people are called out and images are always shared around, leaving surgeons to expose. However again, these are the risks you take, and once you sign those forms and contracts, often your faith lies in the hands of the doctor. Ultimately, do what makes you happy, whilst also doing the appropriate research. Good luck!