Self-critical teens binge on surgery to achieve perfection
Irish women are now starting the search for the 'body beautiful' while still in their teens, writes Alison O'Riordan
Young Irish women barely out of their teens are turning to cosmetic procedures to get a perfect Hollywood look. "Age dysmorphia" is a growing phenomenon among young women. In a bid to look perfect, Irish 20-somethings are having surgery as they become hyper-critical of their looks.
Dr Patrick Treacy, Medical Director of the Ailesbury Clinic, sees an unprecedented number of young Irish women around the age of 18 who are becoming obsessively pre-occupied with a non-existent or minimal cosmetic defect.
"These patients persistently seek medical attention in cosmetic clinics to fix the perceived defect surgically," Dr Treacy said. "It is important for our staff to recognise the condition, as these patients often remain somewhat dissatisfied even after treatment."
Recently in Los Angeles, a town known for its extremes, Heidi Montag, 23, star of MTV reality show The Hills, caused shockwaves when she unveiled a startling new look. But this was no ordinary makeover. Heidi has revealed how, two months ago, she underwent 10 cosmetic procedures in just one day. At a cost estimated to be in excess of €30,000, she had a series of surgical procedures, including a breast enlargement, liposuction, brow lift, Botox, buttock augmentation, fat injections in her cheeks and lips, a chin reduction, and had her ears pinned back.
And, as young Irish girls become increasingly self-critical and obsessed with their appearance, many take cosmetic enhancement to the extreme with surgery "binges".
Some Irish "aesthetic" clinics have reported a rise in the number of young women requesting information, among them girls in their early 20s asking for Botox as a precautionary measure.
Dr Danielle Meagher, Clinical Director of Facial Aesthetics at DermaDental, has seen the facial aesthetic patient base grow among young girls in the last number of years, with many of them looking to the needle for the solution.
"I constantly have 21-year- olds and younger looking for Botox and asking to get their lips done. Botox is a big 'no no' before 30 years old in my mind," she said.
Plastic surgeons, meanwhile, have also noted that
the average age of patients has steadily decreased.
Aisling Holly, General Manager of The Hospital Group -- which specialises in cosmetic surgery -- says breast augmentation remains the most popular procedure within the 18-25 age category.
"Most young girls are going for a Natrelle Implant, which has a lifetime guarantee, with a higher price tag of €5,695," she said. "Bigger implants are most popular in Cork and Kerry. Young girls are very image-focused and have boob jobs to increase their confidence levels." She agrees that Ireland has seen an increase in younger women coming in for Botox and/or fillers and the latest jibs and jabs.
Ally Garvey, a 20-year-old model, underwent breast enlargement last year with The Hospital Group, based in Kildare Street in Dublin.
"Many people who do not know me think it's all down to vanity, and think the reason I had the surgery done is to achieve this perfect Hollywood image," she said. "I got surgery for my confidence, not to achieve perfection.
"I have heard of young girls undergoing two or three procedures at once and taking it to extremes. Young girls can be hugely affected by what the media and society deem to be perfect. If a 16-year-old is constantly seeing these images of women in their 20s and 30s who are deemed to have the perfect body, the sole purpose of the procedures they seek will be to give them the body of a mature woman."
Very happy with how she now looks, Ally thinks it is all down to the girl in question.
"I have heard and seen young girls get addicted to plastic surgery, which is sad. I understand in some cases it is down to self-esteem, but some girls take it to the extreme. Since my surgery I have not looked back. I am a full B-cup now and delighted with my outcome. But I feel young girls are looking at their favourite celebrities in papers and magazines not realising there is a huge styling team working on them," she said.
Ailish Kelly, owner of Cosmedico Clinic in Kilmacanogue in Co Wicklow, has also noticed an increase in young women requesting surgery -- especially rhinoplasty.
"Some have gone through bad trauma, others are suffering from very low self- esteem, and if we can help those patients we certainly will endeavour to do our best," she said.
"There is no doubt that feeling good about how you look crosses every divide, and feeling less self-conscious and consequently more confident on the outside can only be a good thing in the long run."