"Usually when a person talks about a teen having cosmetic surgery, then that person is referring to unneeded enhancements. These enhancements are not all that cosmetic surgery is used for, however. Sometimes a teenager has a birth defect or a genetic deformity that needs to be altered in order for them to function normally in life; I am not just talking about a crooked nose or something of the like. However, when cosmetic surgery is used on teens to only enhance an already 'normal' body, then something is wrong. Teens do not even finish growing until they are into their 20s, so how can they truly know how their bodies will look in the end? Teens should wait until they are finished growing before making enhancements, but some exceptions should be made."
— Male high school student,18,
"I'm all for letting people choose what they want to do with themselves, but cosmetic surgery has some serious issues. Most importantly, there is evidence that some serious health risks may be caused by cosmetic surgery.Aside from that, there's a good chance that a teen who does have cosmetic surgery will regret whatever they had done in later life since often various cosmetic enhancements deteriorate over time or just don't look right on a person once they're older. Additionally when most adults look back on their teen years, they remember doing some really stupid things; there's no reason for this generation to be any different.
It's best if those 'stupid things' aren't permanent or at least hard and painful to reverse. With these things in mind, it's my opinion that teens should have to wait until they're 18 or get the consent of their parents before getting cosmetic surgery."
— Male high school student,18,
"Teens should definitely not be allowed to have cosmetic surgery unless it is to correct a medical condition or a disfigurement. For example, if a teenager is in a fire and needs cosmetic surgery, this should be allowed. However, teenagers who have cosmetic surgery to try to improve themselves when there exists no necessary reason should not be allowed to have the procedure done.
I think that even more than not allowing teenagers to have cosmetic surgery, we need to find out why a teenager would dislike their own appearance so much they feel that they need surgery to improve themselves.
In the teenage years the body is still growing and changing. Why would anyone allow a teenager to have cosmetic surgery to change how they look when their looks will probably change on their own (with) time and maturing?"
— Female high school student, 17,
"Plastic surgery, ever since the founding of the American Board of Plastic Surgery in 1938, has evolved from being a necessary practice in extreme medical situations, to a common beauty practice which began to take place in the early 1950s.
Excluding cases for life-threatening situations, plastic surgery has grown rapidly among today's youth, just for pure minor cosmetic reasons. A false longing of acceptance among kids today has been the sad result of this recent phenomenon.
Many teens (or their parents) are willing to spend thousands of dollars on one surgery to try and fix the slightest wrinkle, or 'imperfection' in their face. Today's media and the entertainment industry (Michael Jackson) is the leading cause of this problem.
The sad thing is, we allow other people to set the standard of how we live, and this may result in us spending our last dollar in trying to change the way we look, to try and meet a false plateau set by someone else. The answer to one question still rings true today, money (plastic surgery) can by no means buy happiness."
— Male high school student, 17
"Truth of Youth," The News Review published December 5, 2005. Reprinted with permission.