Cosmetic surgery used to be only for the rich and famous and it used to be discreet, but over the years it's become cheaper, more readily available and better publicized. No longer is having work 'done' anything out of the ordinary. It's worn like a badge of honour by celebrities such as Sharon Osbourne, Jordan and Ulrika Johnson. Botox parties are all the rage and hearing that a colleague has nipped off for quick lunch hour transformation or a friend of a friend has gone abroad for a boob job are not uncommon.
Of course there are those who prefer not to talk about how they achieve their look, but some famous faces have mysteriously developed doll-like, never-ageing complexions (Nicole Kidman, Liz Hurley), puffy, pillow faces (Daryl Hannah, Amanda Holden), trout pouts (Meg Ryan) and bigger boobs (Kate Hudson, Victoria Beckham), and the celebrity magazines are quick to point them out.
It seems everywhere you look, from the big screen to reality TV down to the people who live on the same street as you, someone is having something done and it's having an effect. Fifty per cent of young women aged 16-21 would consider cosmetic surgery to change their appearance according to a 2009 survey by Girlguiding UK.
Dai Davies, Consultant Plastic Surgeon for Plastic Surgery Partners says, 'Girls are under so much pressure to conform to society's view of what is beautiful, that it's no wonder they are considering plastic surgery so young.'
The culture of youth
The West is in thrall to the young. In Africa, China and Japan age garners respect, in the UK, America and increasingly across Europe the elderly are seen as past it. According to a study commissioned by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) most people have surgery to improve imperfections so others will respond better to them, to help their social lives and for career progression. It seems people are having surgery either to fit in or to stand out.