Plastic surgery is rarely recommended for teenagers-especially not a facelift. But that’s exactly what 13-year-old Zara Hartshorn wants. The wish may seem outlandish, but when you see that the British schoolgirl looks about 50 years old, it becomes more understandable.
Zara has a condition called lipodystrophy, which causes the fat under her skin to virtually disappear while skin continues to grow and, thus, gives her an aged appearance. Over the past several days, she has told news outlets in the U.K. and U.S. about her struggle-one her mother, Tracey, knows quite well.
Tracey, who is 40 but looks much older, knew within days of Zara’s birth that she had inherited the condition that made growing up even more difficult than it already is.
“I’d seen it all before with my other children-the loose skin, the hollow face and the wrinkles around her chin,” Tracey told The Mirror. “But I’d never seen a case so severe on a baby so young. My heart sank. I felt so guilty, because when she was a baby I knew the pain she would go through later in life, and I knew I had passed the disorder on.”
The pain isn’t physical. Instead, it consists of frequent assaults on Zara’s self-esteem, from bullying by peers to bus drivers telling her she’s not qualified for the children’s fare.
Although there is no cure for lipodystrophy, Zara is hoping to have a facelift in the near future. However, her family lives in a rough part of Rotherham and is on the English equivalent of welfare, likely putting this cosmetic procedure out of their financial reach.
“I feel if I have my face done,” Zara told NBC, “it will give me some more confidence.”
See NBC’s full story about Zara below:
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