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Could ‘Baby Botox’ In Your 20s Mean You’ll Never Get Wrinkles?

Since Botox first appeared on the market 30 years ago, the treatment has been aimed at women over 50. After all, they have the wrinkles that botulinum toxin injections temporarily smooth out by ‘freezing’ the face.

But a new trend for “Baby Botox” promises something completely different: a face that doesn’t get wrinkles at all. The catch is that you have to start injections at 20.

“People don’t think they need Botox until they’re 50,” says Ana Sakinyte, an esthetician who calls herself the queen of youth. ‘But then it is often too late to achieve the desired results.

‘Botox is injected into the superficial muscle layer and relaxes. That stops the muscle contracting, so it doesn’t create a line — but it doesn’t do anything to erase deep wrinkles [that you already have]. That’s why it’s so good to start early.’

Radhika Sanghani examined the risks of starting Botox in her twenties.  Pictured: Kate Thompson, who has had Botox since age 25

Radhika Sanghani examined the risks of starting Botox in her twenties. Pictured: Kate Thompson, who has had Botox since age 25

In other words, while Botox can smooth out small existing wrinkles, especially the kind caused by muscle movement when you smile or squint, it can’t fill or smooth out deeper lines.

Ms. Sakinyte recommends that people start at age 25, when what you’re freezing is already smooth.

“I know society thinks ‘my god they are too young’, but I recommend starting with smaller doses to prevent the wrinkles from ever appearing. I’m 37 and have been taking Botox every four to five months for ten years, and I have no lines. What you’re doing is freezing time.’

Over the past year, the Botox industry has boomed – the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) says consultation requests have increased by 70 percent, with Botox accounting for half of all procedures – and the market is getting younger.

Ms. Sakinyte says she is seeing an increasing number of women in their twenties and thirties, with existing patients in their fifties and sixties bringing in their daughters.

But does it work? Is it safe? And who are the women who pay thousands of pounds from their mid-twenties to get successive injections?

Kate Thompson, now 38, was 25 when she started Botox treatments. As a married mother of two from Leeds, she had noticed a few lines in the corner of her eye. She wanted to prevent them from getting worse and prevent the formation of others.

So despite the protests of her parents and her husband Edward, Kate, founder of The Kindr Company, began undergoing treatments for £150 per eye. Thirteen years later, she estimates she has spent £5,000 on Botox.

Karolina Kotlowska, 28, (pictured) who lives in Northampton, spent £100 a month on creams to prevent wrinkles four months ago before starting her Botox treatment

Karolina Kotlowska, 28, (pictured) who lives in Northampton, spent £100 a month on creams to prevent wrinkles four months ago before starting her Botox treatment

Karolina Kotlowska, 28, (pictured) who lives in Northampton, spent £100 a month on anti-wrinkle creams four months ago before starting her Botox treatment

“You can’t put a price on how you feel,” she says. “I think the fact that I’ve had it regularly over the years means that the lines haven’t gotten as deep as they would have.

“For the past two years I’ve had it on both my forehead and around my eyes and I can still move my face completely.

“I think I probably look my age now, rather than tired or older than I should. I’m so glad I started early.”

Kate is indeed so happy with her ‘preventive Botox’ that she thinks she should have started injections when she was 20.

Karolina Kotlowska, 28, started her Botox treatment four months ago with Ms. Sakinyte.

“Initially I wasn’t a fan of Botox,” she says. “I thought it was for people who already have a lot of wrinkles. But when my friend told me she’s had it since she was 27, I decided to go for a consultation because I wanted to look good for my best friend’s wedding in Portugal, where I would be a bridesmaid.’

Until then, Karolina, a financial services researcher living in Northampton, had tried to prevent her wrinkles with creams, which cost her £100 a month, and biweekly anti-aging facials for £60 each. Her Botox costs £250 for three areas, and she has it two to three times a year.

Stina Sanders, 30 (pictured), who started Botox four months ago, said everyone told her she didn't need it, including the doctor, but she saw tiny lines on her forehead

Stina Sanders, 30 (pictured), who started Botox four months ago, said everyone told her she didn't need it, including the doctor, but she saw tiny lines on her forehead

Stina Sanders, 30 (pictured), who started Botox four months ago, said everyone told her she didn’t need it, including the doctor, but she saw tiny lines on her forehead

“I don’t mind the cost because it really works — and it’s like going to the hairdresser once every few months,” she says. “It’s a great way to slow down the aging process.”

The subtle results weren’t noticeable to her friends and family, but for Karolina, they were a big boost to her confidence. She acknowledges the role social media played in her decision — indeed, it seems likely that the desire to project a “perfect” self-image on platforms like Instagram and Facebook is a big driver of the Botox trend in her 20s.

“I used to put on a lot of makeup and use social media filters to look good,” says Karolina. “Now that I’ve had the Botox, I like to post natural photos, even without makeup.”

Yet practitioners are divided over the wisdom of Botox at such a young age.

The Thérapie Clinic, which has practices across the UK, advises people in their late twenties to try it. “If Botox is injected during the early stages of fine lines, it will help stop them,” the clinic’s website states.

But other doctors say it can be harmful, alter the shape of the face over time, and even thin the skin.

dr. Jonquille Chantrey, surgeon and aesthetics teacher, acknowledges that Botox can reduce aging, but emphasizes that there can be risks and side effects, especially on the forehead.

“A very light dose can soften some existing lines gently,” she says. “However, if you are routinely given the same doses in key areas without really looking at the face as a whole, it can cause eyebrow heaviness if you use your facial muscles a lot.”

Karolina (pictured) said she put on a lot of makeup and used social media filters to look good before starting her Botox treatment

Karolina (pictured) said she put on a lot of makeup and used social media filters to look good before starting her Botox treatment

Karolina (pictured) said she put on a lot of makeup and used social media filters to look good before starting her Botox treatment

“It may not happen in the first few years, but eventually it can cause people to look heavy or pinched and cause an earlier frown drop.”

She advises twenty-somethings to try other forms of anti-aging first, such as using vitamin C and retinol products. “Many injectors may say that everyone should do it, but are they thinking of the patient’s interests in the medium to long term or are their motives financial?” she asks.

“There can be financial, mental and physical side effects, such as making people more self-aware about other characteristics. And physically it can have a medium term effect where you may need other treatments.’

For example, as people get used to having their forehead and eyes looking young, they may want other treatments to make other parts of the face or neck look just as young.

Stina Sanders started Botox four months ago, at the age of 30. “Everyone said I didn’t need it, even the doctor,” she says. ‘But I saw very small horizontal lines appearing on my forehead. You have a choice to embrace aging or not – and I decided I didn’t want to.”

Stina, a psychotherapist and author, visited oculoplastic surgeon Dr. Maryam Zamani in Chelsea, West London, for her first round of Botox injections.

“She thought I could wait a few more years, but I didn’t want to get any more lines on my forehead. So she put in some Botox and now those lines are completely gone and won’t increase.

“I’m so glad I started when I was 30, instead of waiting. Now that I know this is an option, I can do something about it if I notice other wrinkles starting to form elsewhere on my face.

Stina (pictured) admits she didn't like her look in the mirror and thought she looked dehydrated before starting Botox

Stina (pictured) admits she didn't like her look in the mirror and thought she looked dehydrated before starting Botox

Stina (pictured) admits she didn’t like her look in the mirror and thought she looked dehydrated before starting Botox

“Botox used to be so medical and taboo, but now it just feels like getting your hair dyed or going to the dentist.”

Like Karolina, Stina is aware that social media pressure has influenced her decision to turn to Botox.

“It’s selfie culture,” she says. “I’m so used to looking at myself up close, I didn’t like it when I caught myself in the mirror looking dehydrated. When I look in the mirror now, I look a lot shinier. I look radiant, like I’ve had a face mask on.’

dr. Zamani herself points out that there can be a risk of skin thinning if Botox is used too much.

My ethos is “less is more” and that it is best to wait until you have faint lines or wrinkles caused by dynamic movements to treat with neuromodulators [wrinkle-relaxing injections such as Botox],’ she says.

‘The reason for this is that constant suppression of movement can lead to atrophy of the injected muscles. For example, forehead contact treatment can atrophy the frontalis muscle over time and make the skin look thinner, so it’s best to wait until you have a faint line or wrinkle to treat.”

But many of the young women doing it now have no intention of stopping.

Kate Thompson has even inspired her friends to start using Botox. “It feels so normal now,” she says. “We all talk about it the same way we do about getting our nails done. The thought of getting it done forever doesn’t bother me.’

Stina still hopes she doesn’t become addicted to Botox treatments. “I don’t want that over the top look,” she says. “As much as it is normalized, we need to be careful and aware of the dangers.

“I think I’m going to do it for the long haul, but I don’t want to be a pincushion. Making lighter adjustments now will prevent you from looking over the top when you’re 50 or 60. Maybe then I’ll stop and go natural – or maybe I won’t.’

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