Double eyelid surgery is a procedure that creates a crease in the eyelids, so a person has an appearance to the eyes that is more alert and larger. The majority of Caucasians are born with a double eyelid crease but around 50% of Asians are lacking a double eyelid crease. Due to this fact, double eyelid surgery, AKA blepharoplasty, is mainly performed on patients of Asian descent. Many patients have the surgery as an adult but it has also been performed on people as young as sixteen years of age. There has been a recent story in the news that caught some people by surprise as it has been reported that a patient who is only nine years of age recently had the procedure.
The nine-year-old girl, Micchi, does not remember having the surgery but she does remember her mom having multiple conversations with her about the appearance of her monolids. They discussed the type of double eyelid look she wanted and if the results could be achieved with a traditional procedure or a less invasive surgical technique. The mother of the girl, Rucchi, suggested that her daughter “go all the way” and have the technique where the surgeon cuts the creases of the eyelids in order to trim skin that is sagging.
When discussing the treatment with the media, the mother requested that their nicknames be used due to her fear of being judged by the public. The mother also posted a video of the surgery on her YouTube account where the girl can be seen having a panic attack and sobbing. The video sparked a backlash among the public who wondered how this young girl could get plastic surgery at that age (even with the consent of her mother).
Rucchi grew up with a mother and younger sister who both had double eyelids which made her feel like she was treated differently by others. She remembers her sister being complimented and she feels that people “adored my sister way more than they loved me”. At the age of eighteen, she got rid of her monolids and, as a mother of five, she wants to raise her two daughters without any insecurities about their looks and that might include them having plastic surgery.
Rucchi claims she has never seen a pretty girl with monolids. However, the same standard does not apply to her sons as she feels society is more accepting of “ugly boys” as long as these boys are smart and successful.
Last year, a clinic in Japan found that nine out of ten respondents in the tween age range wanted to have some form of plastic surgery to address their insecurities. This was an increase from seven out of ten a few years before and Japan is not the only country to see this type of increase. As recently as 2017, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported more than 220,000 cosmetic procedures were performed on an annual basis on patients between the ages of thirteen and nineteen.
Critics of the idea of patients of this age having plastic surgery have stated that younger patients, who grew up using social media, often feel pressure to conform to the latest standards of physical beauty. In turn, this can cause psychological damage to minors.
In general, recent trends in plastic surgery have been associated with the rise in popularity of social media. There have been studies that have shown the rise of social media apps such as Facebook and Instagram has resulted in the public becoming much more aware of how they look both to themselves and to others they interact with in-person. In addition, social media sites have filters on them that allow users to create a “perfect” look online which can be different than their daily appearance in real life.
In the past, it was mainly celebrities such as actors and singers that shaped the beauty standards sought after by the public. These days, it is just as likely that social media influencers are playing a big role in determining the beauty styles and trends that the public wants to achieve.
Because plastic surgery has become so accepted among the public, there are also new trends and procedures that are being introduced on a regular basis. There is a chance that what is popular today might be out of style next week or in the coming months. Patients do not want their new look to be quickly outdated, which means keeping up with the latest “hot” plastic surgery procedures and this can be both time-consuming and an ongoing process for patients who want to alter or enhance their look.