When Botox first started getting popular in the 1980s, it was generally only used for older people who wanted to remove facial wrinkles. In 2019, there are some people under the age of 25 who are coming in for this non-invasive procedure to disrupt or stop the formation of facial wrinkles.
Social media sites and reality t.v. shows such as the Kardashians have generated increased interest in Botox procedures for people under 25. With all this newfound interest, there are some people who are questioning if there should be a minimum age for Botox.
We’re going to take a look at what Botox is, the recent surge of interest by people under the age of 25, and whether or not an age limit should be set.
What is Botox?
Botox is the brand name given to a highly purified form of a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. It produces paralysis of the muscles in its natural state.
In the late 1970s, scientists realized that they could medically refine the toxin, dilute its strength, and then use it to help smooth out facial wrinkles. It’s administered in the form of a needle injection into the facial area where lines exist.
In addition to cosmetic applications, Botox is also very useful in treating medical conditions such as certain eye disorders, muscle spasms, and is also used in dental procedures as well.
Banning Botox for People Under 25?
Back in June of 2019, a plastic surgeon in Ireland suggested that Botox and fillers should be banned for people under the age of 25. He reasoned that the facial area of younger people isn’t fully grown, and it could potentially cause development issues.
The media then picked up on this and sensationalized it. Many newspapers across the world (including the U.S.) ran with this story as if it were 100% fact. However, many surgeons say that setting an age limit is unreasonable as they feel discretion is much more important.
Discretion vs. Age
Many plastic surgeons are questioning the validity of the statement given by the Irish plastic surgeon. They feel that limiting Botox and filler treatments should be done on a case-by-case basis and focused more on discretion versus age.
Instead of asking, “Is this person old enough?” surgeons should be asking: “Is there a valid reason why this person wants to get Botox?” Age is arbitrary as each person develops at their own rate, so it’s unfair and unreasonable to take a draconian stance against Botox and use “25” as the cutoff age.
In fact, many plastic surgeons can’t remember the last time they treated someone in their late teens or early 20s. When younger patients do come in, it’s usually for lip fillers or to treat a valid medical condition that requires a neuro-modulator.
The problem with Botox safety for those under 25 exists more with unlicensed day spas whose employees are inexperienced and don’t have any medical training whatsoever. They tend to offer cut-rate or Groupon Botox discounts, which makes it very appealing to younger people who are on a budget.
Board-Certified plastic surgeons, such as Dr. Adams have taken an oath to practice ethical standards and put the best interests of their patients first off and foremost. This means that if someone under the age of 25 were to walk into a plastic surgery office looking to get work done, the plastic surgeon would evaluate the patient based on ethical standards.
There are also many medical reasons why someone in their late teens or early 20s would get Botox. From such dental conditions as Jaw Tension and TMJ to medical issues such as gummy smiles and various facial disorders, Botox has helped improve the lives of countless people under the age of 25.
When administered by a trained plastic surgeon, Botox is extremely safe. Although, many so-called “day spas” are legally allowed to sell and administer it as well. The problem with this is that the day spa technicians usually only get a weekend class in how to inject Botox versus the 10+ years of medical school and training that a plastic surgeon gets.
The human face is a complex mixture of nerves, blood vessels, and various muscles. Unless the procedure is performed by a plastic surgeon or one of their highly trained staff members, there can be a considerable risk. It’s very easy to accidentally stick the needle into the wrong area and cause permanent damage.
Should There Be an Age Minimum?
Many plastic surgeons feel that there should be an age minimum provided that there is a valid reason for getting Botox or fillers injected. The most significant risk from injectables lies not with people under 25 getting work done, but rather the day spas that employ technicians who only attended a weekend course on how to administer a Botox injection.
These workers do not have highly skilled medical training nor the complete and total understanding of human facial anatomy to safely perform Botox procedures. These day spas will offer injections to anyone for any reason, whereas a plastic surgeon is bound to an oath that he took to first look out for the health and best interests of the patient.
At the end of the day, plastic surgeons should look at each patient on a case-by-case basis rather than their chronological age when it comes time to administering Botox and fillers.