The demand for Botox® has become so strong that the concerns surrounding Botox® have shifted in recent years from safety to the increasingly younger ages at which clients are seeking injections. Women in their mid-to-late 20s are increasingly turning to Botox® to prevent the onset of wrinkles. And men are too. The number of cosmetic procedures for males rose 22% from 2000 through 2012, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
The appeal of Botox® might be understandable for older clients eager to hide signs of aging, but why would a 21-year-old be interested in such a procedure? Michael Edwards, MD, president of ASAPS, says celebrities’ obsession with Botox® has raised its profile with teens and young women. Kim Kardashian, for example, admitted to trying Botox® in 2010, at the age of 29.
“We’re seeing younger and younger people doing it,” he explains. “It’s not uncommon to have 22- and 23-year-olds getting Botox®.”
Young people aged 19 to 34 underwent more than 546,000 Botox® procedures last year, an 11.7 % increase from 2012 and a 36 % rise from 2010. To compare, those between 35 and 50 underwent 1.72 million Botox® procedures in 2013, while teens 18 and younger got 1,149 procedures. Edwards says he would not accept Botox® patients who are under the age of 18 unless that individual had parental consent.
In light of recent GMC guidance for doctors, Botox® should not be used in those below the age of 18 and should not be hard-sold or offered as a prize to incentivise youngsters into treatments. While it is true that starting earlier helps delay the signs of ageing, one should be cautious of overstepping the line. At Derma Medical, our strategy is to conduct an in-depth facial assessment and work together with patients to encourage or discourage the ‘right’ candidate. At times, people may demand botox® treatments unnecessarily to look like their idols and threaten to go and pay elsewhere if you decline to offer these services. As practitioners, it is important to remember that like any other therapeutic medical intervention, Botox® is still a medicine and should be treated the same as NHS drugs with appropriate consultations and assessments. As such we should have a moral responsibility to our patients and be able to say ‘No’ when treatment is not indicated.