“Am I too young for Botox?” That question has become more and more common these days. While people usually associate plastic surgery procedures, such as a facelift, with people in their 40s, 50s, or older, non-surgical procedures tend to be popular among younger patients. In 2013, Botox injections were among the Top 5 minimally invasive procedures performed on patients between the ages of 20 and 29, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Nearly 95,000 treatments were performed on people in that age group last year.

When it comes to deciding whether Botox is the right treatment for you, you should think about more than just your age. While some people might not need the treatment or be ready for the injections in their 20s or early 30s, receiving Botox early on can help others effectively fight the signs of aging on their faces.

What Botox Treats

Botox is used to ease the look of wrinkles that are created by movements of muscles on your face. When you frown, for example, the area between your eyebrows contracts, and two small vertical lines often appear. With repeated frowns, those lines develop into wrinkles and the folds become deeper and deeper over time. Crow’s feet, located at the corners of the eyes, form when you squint from the sun or scrunch up your eyes in laughter. Everyone moves their facial muscles differently, so some people might never develop the lines between the brows or crow’s feet, while others might develop both.

After Botox is injected into the selected area, the substance prevents the nerve signals from getting through to the muscle. The muscles aren’t able to contract in the same way, reducing the appearance of wrinkles.

 Botox for Prevention

The sooner you start receiving Botox injections, the more effective the treatment might be. Some doctors believe that early Botox can have a preventative effect on your wrinkles. Receiving injections in your 20s or 30s means that the deep wrinkles are less likely to form on your face, since the muscles aren’t able to contract as much.

The impact of early Botox treatments was seen in a 2006 study performed on a set of twins. Over the course of 13 years, starting at age 25, one of the twins had Botox injections several times a year in the forehead area, and injections in the crow’s feet area twice. The other twin had two injections of Botox, spaced several years apart. The twin who had regular injections had a smooth forehead at the end of the period while the twin that only had a few injections showed signs of aging.

Patients who wait to start Botox treatments until the signs of aging on their face are more pronounced won’t see the same results as those who start younger. There’s also the potential that people who start Botox earlier in life will need fewer and fewer injections as they get older, as the facial muscles become used to not moving and lines are less likely to form.

Who Shouldn’t Get Botox?

It is possible to try to get Botox too soon, though. No surgeon can guess where wrinkles and lines might develop on a patient’s forehead, so it’s not recommended for people with no signs of aging yet. Without a line or wrinkle to serve as a guide, the surgeon won’t know where to inject the substance.

Skin Type Plays a Role

Your skin type also plays a role when it comes to determining the right age for Botox. Often, people with paler, thinner skin develop lines and wrinkles earlier than people with darker complexions or thicker skin.

Things to Consider

Along with the appearance of lines on your face, there are a number of other factors to think about when deciding if Botox is right for you in your 20s or 30s. One important consideration is the cost. Another is the frequency of treatments.

You can expect to pay a few hundred to a thousand dollars for each treatment, depending on the size of the area you want to treat. Since the injections aren’t permanent, you might repeat them several times a year, which over the course of many years, can add up financially. On the plus side, though, if the Botox has a preventative effect on your wrinkles, as you get older you will likely need fewer and fewer treatments, compared to a more invasive procedure to fight the signs of aging.

Dr. Choe is a board certified facial plastic surgeon who can evaluate your face and help you decide whether Botox is right for you, no matter your age. For a consultation, contact The Choe Center in Virginia Beach by calling 757.389.5850.