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How Young is Too Young for Plastic Surgery?

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Who else has caused more than a ruckus in our culture and media than the Kardashian family? Thanks to their headline-making antics, fondness for cosmetic enhancement, and media savvy, the Kardashian clan has created quite a buzz regarding cosmetic procedures over the years. Even the baby of the brood, Kylie Jenner, is getting into the limelight thanks to some controversial cosmetic enhancement decisions. The sudden physical transformation of the teenage Kylie Jenner begs the question: how young is too young for plastic surgery?

The Statistics of Teen Plastic Surgery

Kylie Jenner recently admitted to using dermal fillers to plump up her lips at the age of 17, even though dermal filler recipients under the age of 21 need permission from their parents. While it seems like Kylie Jenner got permission from either Kris or Caitlyn, many people were concerned about whether Kylie was psychologically mature enough to undergo cosmetic enhancement. It’s all thanks to the recent uptick of teens receiving plastic surgery. Over 4,000 cosmetic surgery patients in 2014 were in the 13-19 age range, and certain experts have stated that this number might continue to rise in the future.

The Psychology of Teen Plastic Surgery

The main concern for teens getting plastic surgery is whether they’re mature enough to make a decision as big as plastic surgery. People’s brains don’t fully mature until around their mid-20s, and teens are known to have naturally low self-esteem when they’re younger. It’s important to keep these factors in mind in case plastic surgery doesn’t give the patient the emotional satisfaction they want. Of course, not all patients are created the same, and it’s possible for young a patient to do intensive research on the effects of plastic surgery and go into it fully responsible and self-aware. It’s also worth noting that reconstructive procedures, and procedures like breast reduction, can have a positive effect on a young patient’s life.


There’s a logistical reason why many plastic surgeons make age limits for plastic surgery: people tend to mature and grow at different rates, and that applies to the formation of our physical features and our skin. For example, rhinoplasty is often seen as a teenage rite of passage. However, some plastic surgeons will wait until a patient’s mid-face skeleton has completely matured, after all, if nasal bones continue to grow and change it could compromise the results and cause multiple complications. Girls’ noses often stop growing at the age of 14-15 while boys mature around 16-17. Teenage breast enhancement is even trickier because sometimes breasts continue to develop past the age of 16, so some plastic surgeons tend to wait until a patient is 18 or even in their 20s.

In the end, once a patient turns 18, it’s fully legal for them to get most plastic surgery procedures, and it’s up to them to decide whether it’s the right choice. Finding a plastic surgeon who is compassionate and understanding enough to empathize with a young patient is key to a positive cosmetic surgery experience; so remember to request a consultation with a caring, empathetic plastic surgeon like Dr. Sato.