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MHW officially bans minors from going under the knife

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW) yesterday announced that people under the age of 18 cannot undergo unnecessary cosmetic plastic surgery.

The MHW said that any doctors who perform invasive plastic surgeries, including liposuction, breast enlargement, double-eyelid surgery and bone reduction on anyone under the age of 18 could receive a maximum fine of NT$200,000 for each surgery performed.

Micro-cosmetic surgeries like botox and hyaluronic injection, intense pulsed light and laser treatment for pigmentation, however, can still be performed on people who have not reached the age of 18.

Bureau of Medical Affairs Director-General Lee Wui-chiang (李偉強) said that this newly published executive order is based on advice from medical experts and aims to protect minors.

“People who have not reached the age of 18 are not completely developed yet,” Lee said, “so we do not advise doctors to conduct invasive plastic surgeries on minors.”

Lee said, however, that minors can still undergo necessary surgical treatments for bromidrosis and scars assuming they have permission from their guardians.

“We do not want everyone to look like human clones by undergoing plastic surgeries for chasing the same beauty standard,” said Lee.

“Taiwanese people actually have nice facial structures in general,” Lee said, “and if some people really want to undergo any plastic surgery, they should wait until they are 18 years old.”

Lee said that he met a teenage girl who had double-eyelid surgery done but her eyes ended up looking like “caterpillar worms,” and she had to have another surgery to fix it.

According to the MHW's statistics, at least 800 people under the age of 20 undergo cosmetic surgeries annually and only about 5 percent of them undergo invasive plastic surgeries.

Meanwhile, the MHW also demanded local health authorities enforce removing illegal cosmetic surgery advertisements in order to protect customers from undergoing plastic surgeries that are not suitable for them.

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