Wondering when to start to botox treatment? Is getting started young the right answer to staving off wrinkles?
With 20-something reality TV star confidently revealing their aesthetic enhancements, it’s easy to see why more young people are booking in for injectable treatments. Clearly, women in their teens and 20s undergoing botulinum toxin treatments is a controversial issue – and one that tabloids love to hype up – but ethics aside, is there even any point having botox at that age?
Well, not according to the experts.
“I’m very much a believer that you don’t fix it until it’s broken,” explains Dr Maryam Zamani, founder of the Cadogan Clinic.
There are no hard and fast rules about when you’ll start to see the signs of ageing in the skin, but Dr Zamani says that crows’ feet and wrinkles on the forehead – the main cosmetic problems that doctors will treat with botox – don’t usually appear until people are in their 30s.
“Some people are lucky and they start in the late 30s, some people get them in their early 30s, but generally, whenever you start seeing them, the minute you start using toxin, it goes away. So there’s no reason to prevent it, because you can treat it as soon as it comes,” she says.
If wrinkles are still a way off yet, Dr Zamani says it’s important to get into good skincare habits, to help delay the onset of age lines.
In fact, aesthetic practitioner and skincare expert Dr Terry Loong says that’s just as important even when you are at an stage where botox treatments are giving noticeable results. “Botox is just one part of it,” she says. “I would say it’s a ‘symptomatic relief’ and after that you need to get down to the source of the problem, which is the skin.”
Dr Loong says botox can be used on dynamic wrinkles – those are wrinkles that only appear when you’re pulling an expression, like a frown – but it should only be a starting point. “The whole point is you’re breaking the habit of the muscle breaking the skin. Once you’ve relaxed the muscle a little bit, then you need to build up your skin’s resilience.”
This means, she says, skincare products rich in antioxidants like retinol and vitamins C and E, and other non-surgical treatments such as micro-needling or deep skin peels that will boost cell turnover and stimulate your natural collagen production.
Starting toxins young could have unwanted effects further down the road. Dr Zamani explains that repeatedly paralysing a muscle leads to muscle atrophy, where your muscles deteriorate from lack of use.
“It can make you have a more aged appearance because you lose volume,” she says. “You never want to do anything that’s going to remove volume from your face, unless you have a specific reason for it.”