Well, let me answer from the perspective of a father of 4 daughters who has seen in the last 20 years a transformation of the ideal of beauty in his culture with potential dangers for people’s health.
Cosmetic surgery used to be a thing a) only rich people could afford or cared about and b) was related to fixing damages derived from accidents or things like that. The expansion of cosmetic procedures and the affordability of most of these procedures has happened along with the expansion of a self-destructive ideology according to which you should not accept the body you were born with and should always aspire to have a better, more beautiful one.
Even though this attack aims mostly at women, I have seen an increasing number of men falling prey of this ideology. Thank goodness (I can’t believe I’m saying this) the crisis Venezuela is going through has been so severe, that the number of cosmetic surgeries have declined dramatically. Before the crisis, the projection was so alarming that it was expected that by the year 2020, 50% of Venezuelan women would have had some close encountered with a surgical knife.
Cosmetic surgery became the new “IN”, natural beauty was “OUT”. Quinceañeras would ask their parents to give them boobies or booties for presents. Wives asked their husbands similar transformations in exchange for a busier intimate schedule, lovers would demand noses, and lips to their sugar daddies. We were having a silicon/Botox revolution. Not even when the first women started to die after what was thought were routine procedures did women stop participating of this madness.
All kinds of underground clinics and specialists started to offer all kinds of weird services. The weirdest, the better. Real doctors and medical academies started o warn women about the dangers of, say, polymers and that would only increase the cases of dead women due to malpractices.
Cosmetic surgeries may still have a noble purpose, but like any other invention, it has been deranged into a very dangerous terrain. Cosmetic surgery has become the means through which women allegedly become really beautiful, loved and accepted. It has been instituted as normal, desirable and maybe soon we’ll see it in some constitutions defined as a human right. What I see (and actually I saw one example today) is an epidemic of body disfiguration. Lots of surgeries gone wrong have maimed many young men and women who, lacking self-esteem were looking in cosmetic surgery for what other generations of equally insecure youths looked for in drugs and other forms of escapism and self-hatred.
I know that some people defend cosmetic surgery as acceptable arguing that by improving the physical appearance of the person, we are improving their physical (in cases of overweight) and psychological health (in cases of genetic deformities or the like). That might be the case, exceptions to the rule. But I think that vanity rules in most cases of cosmetic surgeries and from what I have seen, it does not “cure” the self-esteem issues. Most people keep asking for more and keep seeing the result as unsatisfactory.
I have 4 daughters and they are all beautiful (you can see them in my blog) in their own particular ways. I tell them that every time I have the chance and it would hurt me tremendously if one day any of them recurs to cosmetic surgery in search of affirmation of self-love. That’s unfortunately what cosmetic surgery, in my humble opinion, has become for most young men and women. Celebrities have a big responsibility on this, but that would be a matter for another question. People still have free will and the power of choice.
You can't generalize, that's for sure. There's no such thing as "in general" in my opinion. You have to take each case separately and then decide.
Plastic surgery can be of many types. You can have your breasts done because you want a bigger size, or you can have it done because you've lost them due to an illness. You can have your nose done because you're not satisfied with it and you can also have it done because you have suffered an accident and needs to be done.
You can't generalize. Each case is different and each of us have the right to decide what to do with it's own body. Each surgery has it's advantages and disadvantages as well. I'm repeating myself but the only thing I can say, there's no such thing as "in general".
It is understandable if a person resorts to cosmetic surgery to correct congenital defects in his appearance or repair damage caused by an accident or to correct non-congenital defects like removing an unwanted growth or removing excess fat in thighs, belly, buttocks or breast.
However what we see now is that a person who looks perfectly okay or even women who are beautiful resorting to cosmetic surgery to enhance their facial or bodily features. This is particularly so in countries like the USA and Korea.
In Korea it has become a norm for parents to gift children with cosmetic surgery.
Actually there is no harm if people want to beautify themselves with cosmetic surgery if they can afford it.
But when people become obsessed with cosmetic surgery wanting to do it for every little conceivable reason they can think of, then it could become a problem in that it could encourage unprofessional conduct by the cosmetic surgeons unless strictly regulated by regulations. In developing countries and third world countries it could possibly encourage even non-professionals to pass off as cosmetic surgeons.