Teens weigh beauty treatment options


Shivangi Singh

Clenching her T-shirt and gritting her teeth, senior Megan Meier was ready to outtake any opponent in a soccer game the first half of her season. An unexpected move on offense, however, shattered all her confidence.
As a girl on Carrera elbowed her to get the ball, then-sophomore Meier suffered a broken nose.
“It just fractured. It was crooked. It started bleeding, and then it stopped,” Meier said.
When a doctor on the sideline noticed a deformed and swollen nose, he sent her to the Emergency Room.
“I had fractured it,” Meier said. “Some bone had gone upward, and now I was going to have a crooked nose.”
With the diagnosis, the doctors also gave Meier the choice of going through reconstructive surgery, where her nose would be put back together piece-by-piece using metal rods. The treatment was not necessary, doctors told Meier, as the damage would not impede any other bodily functions. She, however, decided to spend the extra $7,000 for the surgery.
“I didn’t have to get surgery to fix it, but I chose to for appearance,” Meier said. “I believe it was worth it to get my nose fixed because I saw it, and I had, like, a witch’s nose. Other people who just [get a nose job] out of the blue … I don’t exactly approve of [that], but [that’s] more of a person’s individual decision and how secure they are with themselves.”
Sophomore Abbie Drown, however, did not receive such a choice. She had noticed her teeth needed braces to fix the crookedness, but she received a confirmation a few months ago when her dentist decided to pull two of her teeth out. Her teeth weren’t growing in properly and destroying her smile further.
Regardless of the severity of the situation, Drown knew her family could not afford to spend the $5,000 her braces would cost.
“I wish we had the money to do it right now,” Drown said. “But I am not going to let it depress me or anything.”
Drown has never felt uncomfortable about her condition; she knows now is not the time to seek treatment, but there will be such a time in the future.
Senior Samantha Fullington, however, thought differently when severe acne spread to in between her eyebrows and over her forehead. She feared the stares of her peers and tried to hide her forehead during pictures.
Despite her anxiety, Fullington hesitated to accept treatment when her parents approached her about her progressively worsening acne.
“I kind of felt bad when my mom asked [me] to go to the dermatologist because I didn’t know how much money it would cost,” Fullington said. “I felt guilty in a way because my parents were willing to pay money to make me look better.”
It took six months of convincing and family discussions for her to start treatment. The antibacterial lotion she applied twice a day removed all traces of acne.
Though she failed to see the value of obtaining medication as a freshman, she now considers it a worthwhile investment due to how it helped her self-esteem.
My treatment “wasn’t as necessary as other people that I have seen, but now that I have gone through the acne stuff I have noticed a big difference,” Fullington said. “I am more sure of myself and how I look.”
Even though Fullington only received acne treatment, her emotions still represent those of patients who undergo facial surgeries, said David Chang, Ph.D., facial and reconstructive surgeon.
He said the specific outcome many times depends on the patient’s reasons for seeking treatment, but he sees an improvement in self-esteem across the board.
”From a cosmetic aspect, surgery can improve self esteem,” Chang said. Other times “you are taking a person that may have been ridiculed initially for his appearance, and now you have improved that. … Certainly you see a brighter effect and greater confidence that he or she holds  It’s not something that is not always readily apparent, but it is something you can observe in … conversation with you and … [your] family.”
Hoping to achieve that security, Meier had sought the surgery. She did, however, have to pay a price for the process, and it wasn’t only monetary; a cast on Meier’s nose for the healing process prevented her from finishing the season her only sport for that year.
Chang recognized the different factors that come into play when deciding to undergo surgery. Besides taking into account financial repercussions, one must consider the pain of recovery and sacrifice aspects of the treatment. These procedures are just a continuation of the everyday hassles humans choose in exchange for their betterment.
“Surgery is sort of one extension of things that can change your life,” Chang said. “We do a lot of things for our self well-being. We go to the gym. We watch our diet; we put on make up, we buy clothes. Surgery can be sort of an extension of these things we do to better ourselves.”
As she received treatment Meier said her only relief was being able to look at her face and see a straight nose again.
“I didn’t want a crooked nose, and I didn’t want to deal with an insecurity like that, especially as a young high school girl,” Meier said. “It was just I know I had to [fix] it now because I didn’t want to deal with it when I was older.”
If she had waited, her life today would have been different. Although she would have accepted the crookedness, scrutiny in this high school world would have fed to many other difficulties.
“You would want to be able to fix it and want to not be able to have a crooked nose and pay for it to be fixed,” Meier said. “I would still be insecure more than I am today and be worried about people looking at my nose or judging or being criticizing.”

By Shivangi Singh