Original Article By Sarah Kinonen
In today's not-so-shocking news: People are officially interested in injectable, non-invasive treatments. (It's about damn time, folks.) We've recently reported that, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), an estimated 7 million injection procedures, including Botox, were performed in the last year alone. And that number just continues to rise. According to the experts, they've seen an influx of younger patients opting for preventative treatments sooner rather than later. But how soon is too soon? For the full picture, we reached out to dermatologists across the country to nail down the exact age, if interested, to begin Botox. The takeaway? Whenever you damn well please. Yes — really.
In Your 20s:"My advice to patients is to start to treat lines when they begin to stick around. When you smile or frown, lines may develop during the expression. They generally go away when the face is relaxed. However, when lines start to stick around at rest, that's when you can consider getting initial Botox treatments. I personally feel that Botox is not necessary until those lines start to show at rest. In some people, this may be in the mid-twenties, while in others after 30. It is rare for someone to come in asking for Botox under the age of 25. I've found that there has been a shift in the age of women asking for Botox now, compared to even five years ago. Now more than ever, I have patients coming in asking for Botox in preparation of their thirtieth birthday. A few years ago, it was extremely rare for any woman in her twenties to be considering this option." — Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City
"For preventative measures, that typically means prevention of wrinkles. For this, I would have a hard time doing any Botox on a patient younger than 24 or 25 years old, and that would likely be for a patient who squints quite a bit and is at risk for developing the '11' vertical lines over the nose. Even as a write this, I feel a bit shallow and have concerns about having a patient get started on a cosmetic procedure at such a young age without them really understanding the implications." — Miami-based dermatologist and RealSelf contributor Jeffrey Epstein
"The earlier you start Botox, the better since it is best used as a preventative measure to avoid getting fine lines and wrinkles. It works by relaxing the muscle; once relaxed, it relaxes the overlying skin, so you don't get wrinkles. We have a lot of patients in their mid-twenties who start Botox, which is a good age if you have an expressive face and lines." — Debra Jaliman, a New York City-based dermatologist
"The average age of my preventive 'Baby Botox' patients is about 25, but that is not a hard and fast rule. It's just often unnecessary to inject someone earlier for cosmetic reasons. Many facial lines seem to have a genetic or hereditary component, and once a young person starts to see lines that they see in their older relatives, then it's time for Botox. I have not injected anyone under 21 — not for any reason other than the fact that none of my patients younger than 21 have needed or have asked for it. I treat everyone individually, so if someone younger than I'm used to injecting came in asking about forehead lines, I would be open-minded to inject a small dose of Botox." —Amy Wechsler, New York City-based dermatologist
In Your 30s: "Depending on the level of sun damage, the amount of muscle movement, and whether or not the person has "Resting Bitch Face," all of these factors play into the decision at which age to start using Botox. So, if there was a strong frown, it may be appropriate to start as early as 20. If not so much, 30 — at the latest 35. Recent studies have shown that too much mobility in the muscles does lead to premature wrinkling." —Ava Shamban, a Beverly Hills-based dermatologist and founder of SkinxFive
"The earliest I've done Botox [on someone] is in the mid-twenties, and that's if someone is genetically predisposed to wrinkles on the face. Or sometimes I've also seen a person at that age who was constantly frowning and that was a good reason to do the treatment. In general, for prophylaxis, if someone is taking care of their skin I recommend Botox starting in their thirties." — Paul Nassif, a Los Angeles-based plastic surgeon, RealSelf contributor, and star of E!'s Botched
In Your 40s: "The most appropriate age to start Botox will depend on the skin color and the type of lifestyle (more versus less sun). In general, Caucasian women (who were not lifeguards) usually do best when they start Botox between 35 and 40. If they were a lifeguard, maybe 30. For darker skin tones, the appropriate age to start Botox tends a bit higher, more like 40 to 45, but it will also depend on the circumstances. If someone has gotten a lot of sun exposure or their lifestyle is harder on the skin (i.e. smoker, lives in high altitudes, etc.), then it could be earlier. The chronologic age to start Botox is often irrelevant. It is more important to look at the dynamic wrinkles themselves. When the movement wrinkles on the upper part of the face start to linger after the movement has stopped — like seeing crow's feet but not smiling — that's the best time to start treatments." — Elizabeth Tanzi, founder and director of Capital Laser & Skin Care and associate clinical professor, department of dermatology at the George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, D.C.