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Cosmetic treatments such as Botox are now increasingly popular among younger patients, especially with greater exposure to them on social media. But how young is too young for such treatments?
According to 2023 data from the market research firm CivicScience, 15% of people ages 18 to 24 have tried non-invasive cosmetic treatments such as Botox injections, dermal fillers, or enzyme peels — the highest percentage of any age group surveyed. An additional 12% of people in this age group said they intend to try it.
Just over 1 in 10 people ages 25 to 34 (11%) said they’ve tried such treatments, and 14% of people in this age group said they intend to try it. For comparison, only 5% of people age 55 and up said they’ve tried such treatments, and only 3% said they intend to try it.
Raman Madan, MD, a dermatologist with Northwell Health in Glen Cove, New York, said his younger patients often learn about Botox from TikTok, where information varies in quality.
Some might try to start Botox early, he said, because they see it as a preventive treatment. Thus, patients think that starting in their early 20s prevents the most wrinkles.
“Even up until the age of 25, most people have almost no damage,” Madan told MedPage Today. Therefore, he tries to avoid doing Botox on people 25 and younger because “it’s kind of overkill.”
The youngest he’s ever given a patient Botox is 18, which was an outlier, he said.
The risks of starting Botox too soon aren’t clear, but Madan noted that “smaller studies have shown there is a risk of antibodies being made to the proteins which can make you a Botox non-responder.”
Only a handful of his patients have had this happen over the years, Madan said, adding that it’s quite rare and that “there really is no risk to your health if this happens.”
Instead, the most negative effect of starting Botox early is wasting time and money, he said.
Stopping Botox doesn’t result in adverse health impacts, but the effects eventually fade without touch-ups, Madan said. Essentially, Botox works by “freezing” the muscles that make expressions, preventing wrinkles from being etched onto the face, he said.
Madan noted that Botox is far less taboo than it once was. Many of his patients are proud to be doing it, and in certain hubs — including New York, Los Angeles, and Miami — Botox is very popular.
Indeed, Google Trends confirmed a higher interest in online Botox information in these areas compared with states such as Vermont, South Dakota, or Ohio. Being surrounded by others who talk positively about having work done may encourage others to try it.
Still, Madan said use of Botox varies widely, and starting early won’t offer an increase in anti-aging benefits.