Meeting beauty standards
Instead of going on a trip or buying herself new clothes, Xiao Tong (not her real name) from Wuhan, Hubei province, chose to celebrate her senior high school graduation in a different way. She went to a beauty clinic to undergo plastic surgery on her nose.
"I want to make a good impression and start my university life with a brand new look," the 18-year-old told Changjiang Daily.
Like Xiao Tong, many young Chinese are anxious about their looks, and subject themselves to cosmetic surgery. A medical beauty industry white paper by iResearch Global said 19 percent of Chinese medical beauty consumers in 2020 were aged 18 or under.
Young people have cosmetic surgery for different reasons, and improving self-confidence is one of them.
Wang Fang, 18, from Beijing, felt that her eyes were too small. In 2019, after she got in university, Wang had a minor operation done on her eyelids.
"Before I had the surgery, I had a negative perception of myself. Therefore, I had low self-esteem and no confidence," Wang told Beijing Youth Daily. "The cosmetic surgery changed the situation. I was comfortable with that."
But Jiang Wenxiu of the Department of Psychiatry, Zhongda Hospital, Southeast University in Jiangsu, advised that people should think twice before going under the knife.
"Medical beauty apps only show how great plastic surgery can be," Jiang told China Daily. "They leave out all the negative stuff."
Today beauty clinics that see students as lucrative plastic surgery clients are well aware that these young people are mostly short of money, so they use summer discounts, installment plans and other ways to attract their attention.
Xiao Zhen (not her real name), 17, from Chengdu, Sichuan province, is one of the victims. She took out a loan of about 20,000 yuan to get cosmetic surgery. But the large sum of money became a big burden. She had to drop out of school and go to work to pay off the loan.
Besides the financial burden, potential health risks of plastic surgery also need to be considered.
"If you have big problems with your look, you should wait until you are a full adult, then decide if you want to do something about it," Jiang said. "Then, with a stable mind, you can consider inner and outer beauty, and whether plastic surgery is for you."