Explainer | When to start Botox and why people in their 20s are getting it: preventative Botox helps stop wrinkles and fine lines forming
- A wave of people in their 20s and early 30s have started to show interest in Botox as a way to stop wrinkles forming, not just to soften pre-existing lines
- Experts say there is no right age for Botox and it should be determined on a case-by-case basis. However, many doctors will refuse to perform it on young people
Wrinkles and fine lines are to be expected as we age. It is a natural process that our skin goes through and should not be a cause of shame – and nor should the use of Botox to smooth them out, either.
Botox works by blocking chemical signals from nerves that cause muscles to contract. This temporarily lessens their ability to form wrinkles. That is why, when used on areas of the face where lines have already formed, Botox will help relax and soften them so they appear less prominent.
But if Botox can relax the muscles that crease your skin, why not use it to deter them from showing up in the first place?
Welcome to the era of preventative Botox.
“Five years ago the youngest patients getting Botox were in their late 30s,” says New York-based dermatologist Joshua Zeichner. “Now, we are seeing a lot of women coming in around the time of their 30th birthday to start treating.”
“Preventative Botox involves using Botox to prevent the formation of lines and wrinkles rather than in a corrective way once lines and wrinkles are already established, when treatment is often less successful,” Dr Sophie Shotter, the founder of Illuminate Skin Clinic in the UK explains. This makes it an excellent way to tackle lines that your skin doctor can tell are not yet sunk enough to become deep creases.
In preventative Botox, your doctor’s goal is to place the solution meticulously and discreetly to target muscles that pull in the opposite direction you want them to. This will help opposing muscles grow stronger as time passes, allowing them to age uniformly.
It is not really a matter of age but more of a treatment plan you should decide with the help of your aesthetician. Shotter explains that deciding if preventative Botox is appropriate for you will depend primarily on your skin condition, skin type and DNA tendencies.
Still, “there would only be exceptional cases where the use of Botox would be indicated under the age of 25”, she stresses.
Facial plastic surgeon Dr Konstantin Vasyukevich, who is based in New York, concurs. “Preventative Botox is a delicate thing that should be determined on a case-to-case basis. It is not necessarily about age, rather the condition of which your skin lies as well as your genetic background,” he says.
Some experts think there is a danger your face becomes too used to muscles that move less and less over time, so going too heavy on the Botox can eventually lead to a distorted appearance.
Others refuse to perform the procedure prematurely, as they believe introducing Botox to your life when you are too young will so thoroughly debilitate your facial muscles that ultimately they lose the capacity to hold your skin up correctly.
Before undergoing any type of Botox treatment, it is essential to understand that its goal is not to get rid of all facial expressions and creases but to soften them, as movement is part of a youthful complexion.
This is why it is crucial to find a practitioner who will help you achieve your goals while preserving your natural appearance.