Teen Botox Use on the Rise
by Edie Pastis
It's not news to say that Botox® Cosmetic injections are the leading cosmetic facial injection in use today. However, the revelation that Botox injections are one of the top 5 cosmetic procedures for U.S. patients 18 and under, as well as for adults, may be a shock to many! Exactly how many teens are undergoing Botox and Dysport treatments these days? What are the experts saying about teen botox use? Is Botox safe for teens?
How Many Teens are Botoxing?
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), in 2009, botulinum toxin injections were the fifth most-performed cosmetic procedure for patients 18 years old and under. Botox injections were also the fourth most popular non-surgical procedure for the same age group.
The statistics conclude that teens are favoring Botox over certain other cosmetic treatments more than before. ASAPS numbers also show that the overall percentage of Botox treatments being performed for teens is up. The ASAPS reported that approximately 12,110 botox injections were administered to patients 18 years old and younger in 2009. That's a 47.8% increase in teen Botox use from 2008, when the ASAPS counted a total of 8,194 Botox injections performed for patients 18 and under!
These numbers don't differentiate between teens who underwent Botox for wrinkle removal versus hyperhidrosis, migraines or muscle spasms, but in light of reports from various cosmetic practitioners in the U.S., the UK, India, etc., it appears that a large portion of the increase was the result of teens' growing cosmetic Botox use.Why More Teens Are Seeking Botox
Possible explanations for this trend could be that teens today are more appearance-conscious than in previous generations; that they are actively seeking treatment for perceived physical flaws more than before; or simply that the cultural climate for cosmetic enhancement has become so accepting and accommodating, that teens are taking advantage along with other age demographics.
Others may specifically attribute rising teen Botox use to:
- Teens' increased media exposure and cosmetic awareness
- Teens becoming influenced by a near-constant influx of celebrity cosmetic news, images and endorsements
- Cosmetic enhancement procedures becoming more acceptable and more readily available than ever before
Teen Botox users who have spoken out on the subject claim that using "B" is becoming the norm among their peers. These same teens also claim they are getting botox injections to erase the first signs of aging as they crop up, and/or to prevent wrinkles from developing in the first place.
The Sun, a UK news source, reported that Christie Urch, 16, received her first Botox injections at a "Botox party," hosted by an 18-year-old friend. After signing a waiver and lying about her age, Urch payed the aesthetician in cash and says she received "three shots of Botox into my forehead and three around my lips". When asked why she decided to use botox, Urch said, "I had a line on my forehead and a wrinkle on the top of my lip".
Hannah Burge, one of the youngest Botox users on current record—also from the UK—first took up botox when she was just 15. Burge, now 16, has her Botox injections administered by her own mother, dubbed the "Human Barbie" by the UK press.
In an interview with the UK's Daily Mail, Burge stated that there are "plenty of girls [her] age who are having these procedures," and that she believes "the earlier you start to have [Botox], the fewer wrinkles you'll have as an adult". But is that true?
What Botox Providers and Cosmetic Professionals Are Saying
The ASAPS statistics on teen Botox use only accounts for patients in the U.S. But reports from local news sources clearly indicate teen Botox use or "Teen Toxing" is also becoming a trend in the UK, in India, and in several other countries. Medical professionals from westernized parts of the globe, who are witnessing the growing teen Botox phenomenon, have, for the most part, been preaching a similar message on the subject.
In an online article from the Herald.ie, Dr. Patrick Treacy of Dublin called teen Botox use a "worrying trend that we are all beginning to witness". As the Irish regional representative for the British Association of Cosmetic Doctors, Treacy has spoken out against teen Botox use on multiple occasions. The Herald article also states that Treacy has 'encountered an unprecedented number of young Irish women around the age of 18 who are becoming obsessively pre-occupied with a non-existent or minimal cosmetic defect'. Age dysmorphia is also mentioned in connection to this growing teen Botox trend.
Dr. Poonam Naware, a cosmetic surgeon in Mumbai, is just one of several Indian cosmetic surgeons who doesn't really recommend teen Botox injections, but at the same time doesn't refute or question the popularity of said treatments.
An article in The Times of India quotes Dr. Naware as saying, "I always recommend to my younger patients to wait before they get a Botox...we don't recommend Botox for young girls". However, Dr. Naware seems to offer little resistance to teens who are set on Botox treatments. "Most of them are in the glamour world, where every frown line becomes a problem. Then there's no way out but to give them a Botox shot."
Can Botox Injections Prevent Wrinkles?
Peer pressure, ethical questions and safety risks aside, is teen Botox use a legitimate way to stay looking youthful all through life? As many teen toxers believe?
According to Dr. Robert Weiss, former president of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, teens using Botox to prevent the onset of aging is unnecessary, and won't be able to prevent their physical selves from growing older. "I am very doubtful of the benefits of neurotoxins for individuals who are wrinkle-free by virtue of their age. Botox does not prevent natural aging, so this seems like an unnecessary risk."
Dr. Treacy agrees, saying "[Teen botox use] is comparable to doing a face-lift on a 30-year-old to prevent her face sagging when she is 55".
Another question of concern is, what amount of Botox will these young women need in the future to maintain their fixed, wrinkle-free expectations? Many Botox users and providers will acknowledge that Botox resistance is a real issue, and that these teen botoxers will likely need to frequently increase their Botox dosage through the years. And increasing a Botox dosage is no light matter, given the possibility that a Botox overdose could be fatal.
More About Botox for Teens
A certified Botox specialist will be privy to the full spectrum of potential health risks and other possible concerns related to teen Botox use. Not to mention they can recommend other appropriate, safe teen skin enhancement procedures, like Microdermabrasion, Chemical Peels, IPL Photofacial and Laser Hair Removal. Whether teen Botox use does or doesn't sit right with you, there are plenty of other treatments available today to provide teen skin with that desired texture and glow!
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