Everyone seems to be youth-obsessed these days. From the constant stream of perfect faces and bodies on social media, the pandemic-spurred phenomenon known as the “Zoom Boom”, and celebrities touting aesthetic services, we have all been inundated with new ideas of what is considered beautiful, and with that has come a dramatic surge in aesthetic procedures—especially the younger generations.

In a recent survey we conducted our findings concluded that 31.6% of Generation Z and 26.7% of Millennials agree that social media is leading them to consider cosmetic surgery, as opposed to only 10.2% of people aged 41 and older.

For twenty-somethings, there isn’t a more popular or polarizing treatment than Botox. In fact, according to a study by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Botox injections have increased 28 percent since 2010 amongst 20 to 29-year-olds. But when it comes to Botox, is there such a thing as too young?

What Is Botox?

Botox is one of the most recognized brand names for botulinum toxin injections, which is a neurotoxin used to treat wrinkles caused by repetitive dynamic muscle movements. Botox, along with competing neurotoxin brands, are popular because they work and the results can last for several months with touch-ups administered as needed.

Dynamic wrinkles can appear anywhere on the face from the forehead, cheeks, and lips and are commonly called laugh lines, crow’s feet, 11’s, frown lines, forehead lines, and marionette lines. These types of wrinkles occur for a few reasons—one the repetitive muscle contractions cause the skin to wear away and give a sunken-in appearance and two, as we age our skin produces less collagen and elastin, which are key components of the skin to maintain hydration and elasticity.

Not only does Botox treat existing muscles, it can also help prevent and minimize wrinkles as a person ages. This proactive approach is known as pre-juventation. But the question is when should your clients start having Botox injections for prevention? This is where the divide comes into play.

What Age Should You Start Getting Botox For Prevention?

If you were hoping for a black and white answer—there isn’t one. The FDA approved Botox and other neurotoxins for people 18 years or older, but many dermatologists won’t inject patients until they are in their mid-twenties. However, there aren’t any hard and fast rules. It really comes down to the individual, their genetics, lifestyle, sun exposure, and other factors that come into play with aging skin. Eventually, we all get wrinkles. It is just a matter of time.

“Lines get deeper with age,” explains Patricia Wexler, M.D. of Wexler Dermatology in Manhattan, who was one of the first doctors to use Botox. “If you start early enough and it’s done properly, you’re not going to need as much in the future.” For patients in their twenties, Wexler often uses smaller doses, known as “Baby Botox” in strategic areas like the forehead, brows, and around the eyes for prevention.

But with anything in life, too much of a good thing can be bad. “If you do too much Botox on your forehead for many, many years, the muscles will get weaker and flatter making the skin look looser and thinner,” she cautions. To add to matters, as the muscles become weaker, they can start recruiting surrounding muscles to help make facial expressions. Wexler continues, “If one stops using their forehead muscles, they may start squinting using their nose and have wrinkles along the side of their nose.” All of which to say, it is crucial that your younger clients use an expert Botox injector who understands anatomy and who is conservative in their treatment approach.

Final Thoughts...

As we stated above, there are no definitive rules when it comes to determining what the right age to start using Botox is for preventative aging. But, wrinkles typically don’t begin to appear until the mid-twenties. Regardless, each client should be looked at as an individual with the rule of thumb that “less is more” is the best approach.