What if I told you, that the fountain of youth was real. It was a bit pricey, but not a whole lot more than a lot of the luxury creams and potions on the market that claim to do the same thing, yet all fall short. The truth is, it already exists. Botox is so popular because it absolutely works, and now we’re seeing women (and men) getting it earlier and earlier.
I feel like society’s perception of Botox is very much a “love it or leave it” mentality. Everyone I talk to either thinks Botox is the greatest thing that ever happened, or it terrifies them and they run away in the opposite direction. As a science graduate (and still a geek at heart), I wanted to get the facts straight about Botox and specifically why women are opting to get it at a younger age. I turned to Dr. Andrea Herschorn at Edelstein Cosmetic to help answer my questions.
While it is gaining social acceptance, there’s still a very strong taboo in society surrounding Botox. For some reason, we can slather our faces with every cream and serum under the sun, hoping that the “deeply penetrating” ingredients will work their magic—but heaven forbid we actually put something deep down with a needle. Now, I’m not advocating for either side—I 100% think everyone should do whatever makes them feel good—but I also believe that it’s important to be fully educated so that you can make informed decisions. I also want to tell it like I see it.
So, why are people still so afraid of Botox? I get the whole needle thing, I do. Most people don’t like needles, so it’s natural to be a bit scared of them. Some people also don’t like the fact it comes from the botulinum bacteria. Fair enough… but just so we’re getting rid of any and all myths here—it is a purified protein from the bacteria’s type A toxin, not the actual bacteria itself. One of the biggest deterrents people have is that they don’t want to look plastic. Every time I hear someone look a celebrity who looks like a plumped up plastic doll and say “they need to lay off the Botox,” I cringe a little. That’s. Not. Botox. Too often, we associate extreme use of plastic surgery, fillers and implants to be overuse of Botox, but the truth is that a lifetime of Botox won’t do that to you. Fillers are additive, meaning the more you use, the more stays in your system over time. Botox has a lifespan of around 3-4 months, and when it wears off, it’s gone. The muscles will learn to relax more over time, but it doesn’t build up in your system. I’m not bashing fillers either, but I’m just saying it doesn’t work the same way as Botox.
Botox also isn’t an all-or-none treatment (something I discovered during my chat with Dr. Herschorn)—if a patient still wants to retain natural movement in their muscles, but just have their expressions slightly softened—that is very possible to achieve with the amount of Botox that is injected. Dr. Herschorn said “It’s a tradeoff between having some movement and getting rid of all lines. If a patient wants some movement, then we will go with a lower dose.”
There has been a change in the trend of the age of women getting Botox now—women (and men) are starting to get it much earlier than before. We are moving from a goal of rejuvenation, to that of “prejuvenation”, where preventing the signs of aging are the main goal instead of trying to erase them. While wrinkles are caused by a variety of physiological and environmental factors, one of the big ones is everyday muscle movement. Repeated muscle movements will cause fine lines and eventually deep, permanent wrinkles. If the muscle can’t make the movements (or the movements are greatly softened), then wrinkles won’t form as quickly. The concept of preventing the signs of aging is the same whether you’re using an anti-aging serum or getting Botox—they’re on the same spectrum, just at different levels extremity.
So what age should someone seeking preventative Botox start treatments? There isn’t really an age per se, but Dr. Herschorn says “a good time to start getting Botox is when you start seeing dynamic lines, the wrinkles that appear when you make a movement like a frown, but then disappear when your face is relaxed.” Typically this is around 25-30, but it varies greatly between individuals.
Having said all of this, it’s still very much a personal decision and one that does require upkeep to benefit long-term. It may not be for everyone, but at least now you’ll know why younger individuals are opting to get it before lines have even appeared. One of my best friends has been getting Botox for years, and while myself and my other friends around the same age are all starting to show first signs of fine lines—she has none. Whenever she tells anyone that she gets Botox and they exclaim “but you have no wrinkles!” she just responds with “yep, that’s why.” Clever girl.