Updated: Feb 16
Neurotoxins and dermal fillers have become very popular... but what's the right age to start?
The people coming into my clinic requesting Botox or cosmetic filler treatments are getting younger and younger. The average age of our clients used to be women in their late 30s, but these days I see more and more clients in their 20s, and some even younger.
So it begs the question: how young is too young for these treatments?
The answers differ for each procedure, and like everything, the answer is… it depends. I’ll discuss my thoughts first on fillers, then we’ll talk about Botox.
Many young women come into the clinic looking to get fillers, usually spurred on by young celebrities and social media stars like Kylie Jenner, who admits to getting lip fillers at the tender age of 17. They’re nervous, and are wondering if they are too young to be getting such a procedure. Thankfully, most young women I treat want a subtle “Did she..?” look, and not an “Oh no she didn’t!” Still, there is such a thing as “too young” for such a procedure.
First of all, we will never treat anyone under the age of 18 unless there is a very specific cosmetic defect like a serious deformity, imbalance or an overly “gummy smile.” In such cases we require the client to have the express written permission of their primary care physician and a parent. If they cannot provide this, I will instead recommend a good skincare regimen, including the daily use of sunscreen. A good skincare regimen will delay the need for any type of skin procedure and is my number one recommendation to all my clients, regardless of age!
Second, because I believe in treating the patient holistically, I will sit down with them to discuss why exactly they want to get fillers. A client may be refused treatment if they exhibit symptoms of body dysmorphia or haven’t thought through the risks involved in such a procedure. Such risks can include:
If too much filler is injected, you could actually end up actually looking older than you are!
Fillers last for between 6 and 18 months, after which point another application is required, so maintaining your desired look can get expensive.
While getting facial fillers may solve a cosmetic defect, it will not fix psychological issues.
There is no data on side-effects of long-term filler use. The microscars caused by injections, for instance, may lead to scar tissue build-up over time.
So, when is it a good idea to start with cosmetic fillers? Well, recent medical studies have shown that fillers like Restylane and Juvederm help to stimulate collagen production in the skin, and as such are good measures to prevent aging of the skin. Thus, in my personal opinion, starting with a conservative application of cosmetic fillers in your mid-to-late 20s can help maintain a youthful appearance, especially coupled with the collagen boost that such procedures provide.
Like cosmetic fillers, Botox has become increasingly popular with younger and younger women. And like fillers, Botox can help with mitigation of fine lines and wrinkles. However, if a woman is young and has no visible lines, creases, or wrinkles in their skin, Botox will not have any effect. I often tell young clients that I can’t apply Botox as they simply don’t need it yet!
In fact, very few clients under the age of 25 will ever be given Botox injections… the typical age is closer to 30. Botox is actually best used as a wrinkle prevention treatment rather than a cure, so when a woman starts to notice permanent furrowing in the brow or lines developing in the forehead or above the lip, that is an ideal time to start.
Botox treatment should ideally be plausibly deniable; that is so say, your best friend should not notice you’ve had a treatment. Botox is at its best when it’s so subtle its invisible, so it’s good to start treatment when the wrinkles or lines are first appearing. The relaxing of the muscles and nerves around the lines will smooth out the skin and prevent the lines from deepening, allowing your skin to retain its youthful appearance much longer.
So what’s the simple answer to “How young is too young?” For Botox, treatment will not be effective until lines have begun to show themselves, and for most women that’s in their late 20s. For fillers, the answer is more complicated, but taking stock of the risks involved should help guide your decision on if and when you want to start.
As always, adopting and maintaining a good skincare regime, with daily application of sunscreen no matter the weather, will help your skin stay supple and prolong the need for cosmetic fillers or Botox far into the future.