In the October issue of Marie Claire, I wrote a piece on cleavage, breast reduction and augmentation, and which cosmetic surgery procedures are responsible for stealing the limelight from the cleavage. I spoke to various female plastic surgeons (including Dr Nerina Wilkinson) to get their opinions, and to see if my explanations for the phenomenon are accurate – think Kim Kardashian and her supermodel sister Kendall Jenner.

Here two people share with us their very specific and extremely personal reasons for going smaller, both undergoing breast reductions, a surgery that is on the rise in South Africa.

I’m 13 and want smaller breasts

Just prior to my interview with Dr Nerina Wilkinson, plastic surgeon at Renaissance Body Science Institute in Cape Town, she had had a pre-op consultation with thirteen-year-old Lize, who kindly wrote me a list of reasons why she is having a reduction.

1.    It is a lot easier with sport. When you run, it doesn’t hurt.

2.    You feel better about yourself. You have more choice when it comes to clothing and you aren’t shy about yourself. It builds self-esteem.

3.    I love swimming, so smaller breasts make it easier to move in the water. When you do butterfly, it puts pressure on your shoulders.

4.    It looks good.

It may come as a surprise that the practise of breast reductions in teenagers is on the rise. Some might consider this to be controversial, as often it is driven by affluence and peer pressure. But it is the onus of the surgeon and the parents to determine if the surgery is necessary and safe, especially because breast tissue continues to grow in the teenage years, sometimes up until 19 years of age.

I went bigger, only to go smaller

A colleague at Marie Claire, who chooses to remain anonymous, had breast surgery when she was 22 years old in 2014. She wanted big breasts and chose round implants (typical implants of the ’90s and naughties, and at one time the only available shape of implants around) that translated roughly [cosmetic surgeons don’t really talk about cup sizes, as it is not an exact and accurate translation to the implants which are measured in millilitres) to a DD-cup.

Despite enjoying having a much larger bosom, she admits that she received the wrong kind of attention, not just from strange males, but also from women who felt it was okay to comment on the size of her boobs. At 24, she had the implants removed and now is a natural C-cup.

Whether you are big-breasted and embracing it, or on the smaller side and are thinking of breast implants to enhance your look – that is entirely your decision to make. Thank goodness beauty ‘norms’ are no longer that … norms. Read the full feature in the October issue of Marie Claire,  on sale now.