Social Media and Botox: How the Anti-Wrinkle Injection Became Popular Among the 20-Something Set
Botulinum toxin is the most popular nonsurgical cosmetic procedure and with good reason. It works by minimizing muscle activity and provides temporary paralysis to the muscles it is injected into. It does so by interfering with the underlying muscles’ ability to contract, which allows for existing wrinkles to smooth out. And even though results from the anti-wrinkle injection treatments only last three to four months, it is still the go-to injectable treatment and gold standard for smoothing out facial wrinkles. Botulinum toxin comes in three brands, (Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin). It is the most popular nonsurgical procedure for women in their twenties and early thirties, up 45% in that demographic in the last 5 years. More than four million treatments were performed nationwide last year according to statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. But why are such young women concerned about lines when they typically don’t yet have any?
For most young patients, the skin is thick enough to withstand the forces that cause the underlying muscle to crease from repetitive facial expressions. As we get older, our skin laxity decreases and folds become more noticeable as wrinkles. Everyone is different, and so this aging process has the possibility of occurring earlier for certain people, which is why more patients are requesting for Botox in their twenties.
Botox has been proven to be effective in smoothing out expression wrinkles improving one’s overall appearance. According to a new study published in the _Aesthetic Surgery Journal_, patient satisfaction with their overall facial appearance increased by 28% with injections to the so-called “11s” (the glabellar rhytids, which are the lines that appear between the brows as we age). The satisfaction rate was determined based on participating patients’ completion of the FACE-Q survey, a newly developed and validated patient-reported outcome instrument that can be used for measuring patient’s own perceptions of cosmetic facial procedures.
First impressions have always been important, but with social media and the proliferation of selfies, more attention is being paid to personal appearances than ever and people are now much more aware of not only how they look, but how they appear in photos and on camera. Memory photographs are a constant reminder of how we look, or rather how good we used to look thanks to Facebook’s daily memories pop up function among others. This prompts young women to correct virtually any imperfection that they notice including treatments with Botox. There are young patients who do not show any signs of wrinkles, but seek out preventative Botox injections to ward off the possibility of wrinkles. Preventative Botox is about weakening the muscles that cause wrinkles on the forehead, between the eyes, and near the temples, basically thwarting the wrinkles before they make their debut to begin with. It is still unclear if the effects of Botox will last longer in younger patients, but some believe that the underlying facial muscles weaken more effectively the earlier the patient receives the injections. This may also decrease the frequency of injections as patients age. It is important for patients to understand the only way to prevent wrinkles is the continuation of Botox treatments. The term “preventative Botox” can also be a misnomer; not everyone in their twenties needs it, nor should they all get it.
Just like other cosmetic procedures, Botox has specific indications. If you frown excessively or wrinkle more than you like on account of more dramatic facial expressions, Botox can definitely help. In select young patients with the early onset of wrinkles, Botox can help eliminate those lines or stop them from progressing. However, Botox can’t smooth out sleep wrinkles because they are not caused by muscle contractions as facial expression wrinkles.
The number one priority for anyone that is seeking any cosmetic treatment is to find a board-certified plastic surgeon, which all ASAPS members are. Finding a certified physician can make all the difference between looking refreshed and natural versus looking frozen and potentially causing any deformities as there are risks in all procedures, even nonsurgical ones like Botox. To find a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area use the Select a Surgeon search tool.