Injecting Youth into the Youthful: Botox for Young People?

This just in: we are all catfishing ourselves. I said it. All the pictures we post with our smooth, young adult skin are low-key just fronts for the middle-aged adult lying within us. We’ve been exposed, we can’t hide, so it’s about time we just cut to the chase and reach for that Botox needle.

Wait…the what?

Yep, you heard right. Within recent years, the age of patients receiving Botox to treat fine lines and wrinkles has steadily lowered with patients as young as 20. In 2010, close to 78,500 people in their 20s received Botox in the United States, up 11 percent from the previous year, according to the American Society for Plastic Surgeons. This may sound outrageous since popular perception of the typical Botox candidate is someone who is in their 40s or older, but the main reason younger demographics are steadily being drawn to it is for preventative measures.

Some dermatologists like Dr. Sarah Tonks from Omniya Clinic in Knightsbridge, U.K. empathize with younger people getting Botox. “You have to treat what’s in front of you, not the patient’s age,” said Tonks in an article on dayaesthetics.com.

There is no clear-cut evidence that Botox can prevent wrinkles from forming, so many plastic surgeons question the logic behind using Botox for this reason.

For example, there are doctors like plastic surgeon Arthur Perry, author of “Straight Talk about Cosmetic Surgery” published in the Yale University Press in 2007, who believes the concept of trying to prevent future wrinkles is “nutty.” “You don’t want to use a drug unless you need the drug, and Botox is a drug,” said Perry on livescience.com.

Botox contains botulinum toxin, a protein produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, and is thought to work by blocking nerve signals to the muscles and relaxing them. Knowing this, it is possible that Botox could prevent future wrinkling, but why should one live in the present always conscious of what could only possibly be the future? A person who starts injections for wrinkle prevention in their 20s can spend about $30,000 on Botox treatments before real wrinkles even show up.

Furthermore, Botox like any drug has its side effects. They include: problems swallowing, speaking or breathing, muscle weakness and symptoms of botulism.

To drive the point home, New York City plastic surgeon Steven Pearlman, also quoted in the livescience.com article, added to Perry’s point and said, “If you look at a 4-year-old when they smile, they’re going to have lines next to their eyes or on their forehead. Unless someone has lines at rest, they’re not a candidate for Botox.”

The fact that younger people are considering getting Botox is just further evidence of how concerned our society has become with conventional beauty standards. As if the recent election hasn’t taught us anything, wrinkles aren’t the worst thing that can happen to you. Every wrinkle is a little signifier of a time you overcame, a giggle that erupted into full blown laughter, a smile that couldn’t help but spread. You are beautiful with or without them; Botox or none.

Featured image by Corey Rome.

Kaylee Warren is a staff writer. Email her at violetvision@nyunews.com.

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