Summary: As cosmetic procedures intended to help women feel more comfortable and confident in their skin become more and more available, teens are gaining increased interest in these treatments as well. This has become a trend with injectable lip fillers, skin resurfacing treatments and, most recently, labiaplasty.
So what do you say if your teen wants to get a cosmetic surgery like labiaplasty to make her “down there” look more normal? This can be a touchy subject, and the last thing you want to do is make her feel even more self-conscious than she already is. Here are a few talking points you can gently discuss with your teen to help her make an informed decision about her body.
Teens’ Bodies are Skill Changing
It’s normal for teenagers to feel like their bodies don’t look or feel quite like everyone else’s. But to add to that quintessential struggle of growing up, teens today are exposed to an alarming amount of beauty advice, advertisements and even vlogs from their peers. The result is often a very skewed idea of what is considered “normal.”
Try to explain to your teen that her body is still growing and changing, so undergoing a surgical procedure like labiaplasty at this stage in her life could affect the way her body will continue to develop. If she still feels like labiplasty could improve her quality of life and self-image later in life, she will be in a much better position to consider this procedure down the road.
Budding Emotional Maturity
Not only is your teen still growing physically, but she’s also still developing emotionally. Getting plastic surgery too early on in life can create negative body image problems well into adulthood that most teens tend to grow out of as they mature.
As a parent, you want to foster positive emotional and physical development so that your teen learns to distinguish between “normal” and idealized body images that can be impossible to achieve. Let her know that lots of young women her age may feel self-conscious about certain parts of their bodies, but this feeling usually goes away as we get older.
Cosmetic Surgery for the Wrong Reasons
Remind your teen that no one is perfect, and everyone’s body is beautifully unique.
Labiaplasty can be very beneficial for women who don’t quite feel like themselves after pregnancy or even because of the natural aging process. But it’s important to let your teen know that getting plastic surgery won’t be a miracle cure for underlying self-esteem issues, and it’s never a good idea to get a cosmetic procedure just to “fit in.”
If she feels pressured to change her body for someone else, emphasize that plastic surgery isn’t the answer.
When Might Teen Labiaplasty Be Appropriate?
In certain situations, it might be worth scheduling a consultation with an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon for your teen to discuss labiaplasty. If a physical deformity of the labia is interfering with her daily activities or makes exercise or tight-fitting clothing uncomfortable, labiaplasty may be able to help. Similarly, if an injury or trauma to this area has occurred, labiaplasty could be a reasonable option for your teen.
Otherwise, teens who are interested in labiaplasty for purely cosmetic reasons should be encouraged to wait until their bodies have fully developed and they’re emotionally mature enough to make an informed and well thought-out decision.