Thu, Aug 06, 2009 - Page 4 News List

FEATURE: More youth undergoing cosmetic surgery over summer

GOODBYE ‘FLAWS’ Beauty clinics say more kids want procedures, but the Teacher Chang Foundation says youth shouldn’t be encouraged to have plastic surgery

By Rachel Chan  /  CNA

“I find that many young, male patients are more open-minded than before and will even make more of an effort than before to look after their skin following the procedures,” Chao said.

However, Lin Shih-li (林世莉), a spokeswoman for the Teacher Chang Foundation, a civic counseling group for teenagers, said plastic surgery should not be encouraged among young people because they are not mature enough to make such decisions and are easily pressured by images in the media, pop culture and peer pressure.

Parents play an important role in guiding their children, she said.

“Your self value is not about the beauty of your appearance but rather determined by the confidence and self-esteem gained through interactions with others and being a responsible person,” Lin said.

“As your external beauty fades over time, your overall character, which represents who you really are as a person, becomes the charisma that will last forever,” she said.

A college senior surnamed Lin said he underwent a series of laser acne-scar removals because his scars had bothered him for a long time.

“I decided I had had enough and had to get rid of them,” said Lin, who was in the final stage of his treatment.

Lin said he used to feel ashamed and avoided talking to friends for fear that they would stare.

Lin’s father, who is paying for the course of six treatments, which cost a total of around NT$100,000, said he supported his son’s decision.

“My son feels that the procedures will help him look better and be more confident and I think it is okay to do so, as long as it is safe,” Lin’s father said.

Chao said more parents are bringing their children to have moles and birthmarks removed because they are paying greater attention to their children’s looks.

Some parents are also concerned their children worry about their “flaws” but are unwilling to say so.

“From a professional point of view, it is good that many parents let their children have the procedures while they are still young, since most of the moles or birthmarks should be removed sooner rather than later,” Chao said.

Both Chao and Tseng suggested patients do research before undergoing plastic surgery.

Cosmetic treatments are not always safe or satisfactory, said Hung Chia-huei (洪嘉徽), an official with the Plastic Surgical Association.

She said that among the complaints her group receives from cosmetic surgery patients, most are related to disappointment with a treatment’s outcome or to disputes with the clinic over the cost of the procedure, especially in a market where prices vary widely among clinics.

The organization, however, has no power to govern beauty clinics or punish doctors guilty of malpractice who do not belong to the organization, Hung said.

It can only refer patients to the Department of Health, she said.

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