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Too Young for Botox?

A plastic surgeon explains why so many women start in their 20s and 30s.

A woman having Botox injections
Photo credit: Getty Images
A doctor examining a woman's face

The care you need for the results you want

Dear Doctor,

I’m 34 years old and some of my friends are getting Botox already. They say if you do it now it will prevent wrinkles from “setting.” Is this true?

Sincerely,

"Flawless … for now"

Dear Flawless:

Yes, it is true that choosing to have Botox injections earlier can help prevent wrinkles from developing or deepening. But, of course, that doesn’t mean everyone and anyone needs to have Botox early, or at any age.

There are two kinds of lines on your face—dynamic and static. Dynamic lines are created when your muscles fire and contract to form facial expressions or make movements like squinting. As they contract, the muscles shorten and the skin on top of them is pulled closer together creating folds in your skin. Over time, those folds become etched in the skin and create “wrinkles,” the static lines we see when we look in the mirror without making any facial expressions.

Untreated dynamic lines will eventually lead to static lines, which is why you see a growing trend of people in their 20s and 30s getting Botox. Botox is a neurotoxin that paralyzes facial muscles, so the overlying skin stays flat, preventing dynamic lines from occurring.

Botox is a simple, low-risk treatment. Your provider will use a needle to inject the neurotoxin into key areas in your face. It is commonly used in the horizontal area of the forehead above the eyebrows, the area above the nose and between the eyebrows (which wrinkles when we squint), and around the eyes where “crow’s feet” form. When it is performed by a properly trained physician, the only downside should be the cost (it ranges from $250 to $500 per area).

If, however, you get Botox from someone who isn’t properly trained and doesn’t understand anatomy, there is the possibility that it could be injected too close to the eye and cause your eyelid to droop. So, it is essential to have the procedure done by a trained medical professional with a lot of experience giving Botox injections, like a plastic surgeon or dermatologist.

The effects of Botox last anywhere from three to six months. At that point, it’s up to you whether you want to repeat the tweak. There is a school of thought that repeated episodes of Botox will weaken the muscle over time, requiring less and less Botox as you age, but that’s not hard and fast science.

Expect to weigh in on what you want the results to look like. You can get the entire forehead, including the eyebrows, not to move, which creates the “frozen” look you see on news anchors and some actors, or if you prefer a more natural look, you can just have your forehead treated to maintain some movement and ability to make facial expressions. So, the more you can clearly communicate what you are going for to your provider, the happier you will be with the results.

“Yes, it is true that choosing to have Botox injections earlier can help prevent wrinkles from developing or deepening.”
Dr. Neil Tanna, plastic surgeon
Headshot of Dr. Neil Tanna, plastic surgeon for Northwell Health
Dr. Neil Tanna, plastic surgeon | Photo credit: The Well

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Published April 9th, 2019
A doctor examining a woman's face

The care you need for the results you want