The question of when is the ‘right time’ to start Botox treatment is a topic of much discussion in the aesthetic industry – is it a case of start young to prevent wrinkles appearing or is it more a case of wait and see?
Well let’s start off with too young - Whatever your opinion I think we can all agree that the controversy surrounding pageant mum Kerry Campbell who allegedly injected her 8 year old daughter with Botox is TOO young. The media frenzy surrounding this case had practitioners globally denouncing the act, and I can say with confidence, that there is a clear consensus here that the act was wrong.
But what about 16, 18, 21, 25? Where does it begin? More importantly where should it end?
A recent Facebook poll by the Hospital Group asked 6000 people what age they think people should start having Botox treatments. They discovered the top answer was “in their 40′s”, with 33% of the votes, 18% of the respondents advocated Botox in their 30′s, 11% thought in their 20′s, 5% replied over 50, 2% thought Botox should start over the age of 60 and 31% replied never.
Due to society’s obsession with looking youthful it seems the notion of beauty concentrates predominantly on the face. With this in mind some may feel that, turning a particular age is the theoretical starter’s pistol for Botox treatment. This is strictly untrue as the decision regarding the ‘ideal time’ is subjective and will differ from person to person and practitioner to practitioner.
Someone who has pale skin and has worshipped the sun over the course of their lifetime will start to notice the effects of ageing at an earlier age. Similarly, skin type and colour affects your skin’s natural elasticity too, again delaying or hastening the appearance of wrinkles. For example, did you know that the skin thickness of an African male can be up to 5x that of the average Caucasian female?
But what about a self conscious 25 year old with healthy glowing skin who desperately feels they have imperfections and that Botox is the answer? No matter how many cries of “but you’re too young you don’t need it!” they hear, they may still feel unhappy and be fixated on getting Botox Injections.
However, this may point to an underlying issue with the patient including Body Dismorphic Disorder. BDD is a psychological issue when a person is excessively preoccupied about a perceived problem with their appearance. In this situation the practitioner will try to understand the problem the person perceives is there and will work together to come to a solution; which may not necessarily involve prescribing Botox. A practitioner should never treat purely for the money if the client has no treatable areas. This is an abuse of the medical profession’s most important tenet “first do no harm”. This can be a particularly tricky situation, especially with some young people being insistent on having Botox treatments when there isn’t a physical line to treat, but where someone is seeking to avoid the appearance of these lines in the first place. (Read plastic surgeon Mrs Chien C Kat’s thoughts on the increasing trend of using Botox to prevent wrinkles)
On the flip side of this, if a person has frown lines or pronounced early wrinkles, who is to say that person shouldn’t get these facial imperfections treated solely because they are not what society recognises as ‘the right age’?
It certainly seems that the older the person is the more accepted the concept of Botox injections tends to be, especially, with glamorous older celebrities such as Joan Collins, Ivana Trump and Sharon Stone flying the flag for older women and cosmetic surgery. However, there is no reason why Botox treatments for people outside the socially accepted age bracket should be regarded with disdain as there is no proof this is unsafe, bar the exception of the presence of medical contraindications.
Whatever your opinion on this subject, remember that Botox is a medically prescribed drug and as such, should be prescribed only by a licensed practitioner and given the same precautions and considerations as any other cosmetic treatment.