A Wrinkle in Time. How Young is too Young for Botox® Injections?

In 2010, Charice Pempengco, an 18 year old star who was set to join the cast of “Glee” received Botox injections in the Philippines.  At the time Pempengco, now known as Jake Zyrus, said the procedure was done to prepare for a new television role. The backlash was astounding, unleashing an international discussion about “Botox® age appropriateness.” Pempengco’s publicist subsequently elaborated on the injections stating that the injections were done to help with jaw pain.

Today, 8 years later, cosmetic Botox® treatment is on the rise with both male and female millennials. In fact, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons the number of people age 20-29 years old who opted for Botox® injections increased 5% in 2016 over 2015. This is the same increase as the 30-39 year old cohort. Both groups beat out those 40-54 by 1%.

Botox® is the brand name for Botulinum Toxin Type A, a neurotoxin derived from bacteria. Botox® will block the transmission of the signal between the nerve and the muscle. The FDA approved Botox® for cosmetic use in 2002. Botox® along with other biosimilar agents such as Xeomin and Dysport have become the go to fix it for crows feet, furrows and wrinkles on upper part of the face.

Botox® is also used to treat many conditions such as migraines, muscular tics, back pain, strabismus, and extreme sweating to name a few. As a result, it has been used in the younger patient safely. The amount of Botox® required for cosmetic correction in a millennial is generally much less than required for the older patients and can also be done safely with excellent cosmetic results. In general, the millennials seeking one of the neuromuscular blocking agents for cosmetic purposes should be at least 18 years of age and should only do so after consultation with a surgeon experienced in these injectables.