Are Botox and beauty pageants causing young girls to grow up too fast?

Child beauty pageants and Botox injections are becoming more and more popular among teenagers around the world. But at what price?

Botox has been popular among women for years, offering a less drastic and expensive alternative to plastic surgery, but worryingly the procedure seems to be growing among teenagers.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 12,000 American teenagers aged 13 to 19 received Botox injections in the last year.

‘A lot of teenagers tease each other about things that as adults we may not consider as important,’ said Dr. Lam, a facial plastic surgeon in Dallas who has performed cosmetic surgery on teenagers.

In 2009, statistics showed that one in five teenage girls would consider plastic surgery to enhance their looks.

But has vanity gone too far? The growing craze to look beautiful seems to be dominating youngsters worldwide, with the child beauty pageant circuit also growing exponentially in Britain.

Although beauty pageants have been commonplace in American society for years, today more than 20 are held in Britain each year, with thousands of girls as young as five taking part.

More worryingly, a recent BBC survey found that half of girls aged 8 to 12 want to look like the women they see in the media and 6 out of 10 thought they’d be happier if they were thinner.

Claude Knights, the director of child protection charity Kidscape says: ‘Pageants give young girls the signal that it is OK to value yourself along a particular, superficial dimension.’

Alternatively, Katie Froud, founder of Alba Model Information, says: ‘I’d rather these girls were concentrating on keeping themselves fit, eating healthily and putting their pocket money in to an outfit for a pageant than spending it all on the lash.’

Should teenagers be concerned about their physical appearance at such a young age? Are medical professionals in the wrong by offering cosmetic enhancements to those under the age of 18? Should the emphasis not be on addressing deeper issues of self-esteem and feelings of physical inadequacy among teenagers?

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