While one of the guest stars on the “Glee” TV show had BOTOX® injections in preparation for her appearance as an 18-year old, that is a tad young for cosmetic repair. At the time, she said she didn’t have wrinkles yet, but wanted to look “fresh on camera.” Although few cosmetic physicians would recommend a teenager to have BOTOX® treatments, 2010 statistics indicate that, of the around 5 million people in the US who had these injections, around 30 percent were under 30-years old.
BOTOX® Injections May Not Just Be for Older Skin
The rule of thumb has been – and continues to be – the time is right for BOTOX® when facial wrinkles and fine lines appear. Everyone is different. Some people’s facial skin ages faster than other persons. Typically, these signs of skin aging appear in people in their 40s or 50s. But, wrinkles may appear earlier in some people.
Much depends on the quality, strength, and elasticity of your facial skin. Also, it depends on the depth of your natural facial muscle contractions, which often hasten the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines when you are smiling or frowning.
When Is Too Young to Have BOTOX® Treatments?
Few people need BOTOX® treatments when they are in their teens or 20s, as their facial skin has the flexibility and elasticity to combat their natural muscle contractions. However, over exposure to the sun, which many younger people tend toward, often accelerates the appearance of facial wrinkles and fine lines.
These lines particularly appear at the corners of your eyes (when squinting), mouth (when smiling), and forehead (when frowning). Your elastic facial skin loses some of its “rebound ability” from your subconscious muscle contractions if you are a sun worshiper. If you notice facial wrinkles appearing, you become a good candidate for BOTOX® treatments.
BOTOX® treatments may be inappropriate for children and teens as they may be too young to suffer wrinkles on their faces. Their facial skin should have sufficient elasticity to rebound from their muscle contractions or the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
According to Dr. Jennifer Ashton and CBS News, most reputable plastic surgeons will not consider BOTOX® treatments for people who have not celebrated their 18th birthday yet. Although more and more 13- to 19-year olds request BOTOX® treatments, you are literally preventing the wrinkles that naturally occur as your facial skin ages. However, there is no scientific research that confirms this belief.
Since the demographics of those seeking BOTOX® treatments are becoming ever younger, some cosmetic physicians and surgeons are becoming concerned. These concerned cosmetic physicians are worried that young people (late teens and early 20s) who want BOTOX® treatments may not be considering all the potential ramifications of these treatments. Dr. Ashton believes cosmetic medical professionals should ask what is prospective patients’ definition of beauty, which comes from within, like health. “It’s not always so superficial.”
CBS TV reporter and “Early Show” host Harry Smith asked, “Aren’t you more beautiful at 30 than you are at 18 usually?” Dr. Ashton added, “And 40 better than 30, and 50 better than 40?”
Since most medical procedures, come with side effects, and BOTOX® treatments are no exceptions. Such side effects as the infamous droopy eyelids, resulting from BOTOX® injections to the forehead to combat “furrowed brows.” If the procedure is not done expertly, the eyelid nerve can be damaged, causing your eyelid to droop. Dr Paula Moynahan offers BOTOX® and says “droopy eyelid, resulting from BOTOX® injections to treat the frown lines may weaken the tiny muscle that raises the eyelid. the good news is that this condition resolves quickly. there is no permanency and nothing is damaged.”
Since BOTOX® treatments often last around 3 to 4 months, most seasoned cosmetic professionals consider BOTOX® inappropriate for use on the young (late teens through early-twenties), since these groups do not normally experience the signs of aging facial skin.
According to Dr. Michel Fiorillo, speaking with the Huffington Post, “I don’t really like to inject it on young too much. I do have a lot of young girls that will do it for sweating under the arms. And some guys, too. So that’s pretty common. . . . I do have some young adults doing it for facial asymmetry from a nerve injury. I will do it for that.”
For pure cosmetics, however, this doctor (like many other cosmetic physicians) doesn’t believe it’s necessary for someone in their early 20s. Although the trend for young women is to think BOTOX® treatments, when they’re young are preventive from future skin aging, Dr. Fiorillo says,”. . . There’s no study that shows it’s preventive. If you start at a younger age, it will weaken the muscle. But I haven’t seen anything in writing, like a study, that shows that. . . . I won’t see anyone under 18.” He adds that he turns down a lot of young people wanting BOTOX® for wrinkles that are not there.
Dr. Paula Moynahan is a double board certified plastic surgeon in Connecticut and and New York state. She is focused on addressing the signs of aging through various treatments including surgery, nutrition, and skin treatments.