How young is too young for Botox?

Q: How young is too young for Botox?  I think I need it, but I don’t want to look frozen.  I’m scared of looking like a wax mummy!

I hear this question on a weekly basis, but as a beauty girl living in LA, I think I’m a little biased.  (This is much to D.’s dismay, who clucks like I chicken when I come home after a fresh batch of treatments every six months or so.  She says, “Be natural!” I say, “…and embrace the angry frown-line between my brows?  Mais, non!”  For a better perspective, I put the Botox Q to my docs at Profiles Beverly Hills, Dr. Jason Litner and Dr. Peyman Solieman.  This week, Dr. Litner takes it:

“We are so glad to hear you say that! In Hollywood, looking like a wax mummy is bordering on perfectly acceptable these days. But–at least in our opinions–these blank stares are giving Botox a bad rap. Remember that Botox is a tool, and that same tool can be used to make delicate refinements…or to turn your face to stone. It’s all about how much is used and where it is placed.

Injecting Botox is not rocket science. That’s why you can find someone to inject Botox on practically every street corner. But there’s an art to consistently (and safely) creating a natural un-frozen appearance that just makes you look and feel better. To achieve the look you want with finesse, you should see an experienced injector. Be honest with what you want…all too often patients come in saying they don’t want to be frozen only to complain a week later that they can still move their forehead.More and more women and men are seeking Botox and other non-surgical treatments at an earlier age. Most patients begin in their early 30’s. We occasionally see an actress in her 20’s who is trying to look younger for a particular role. Some patients also have hereditary early aging or a stubborn frown line that may benefit from Botox at a slightly younger age.   (Note: like Jolie!)

There is also a lot of mythology surrounding Botox. You will not get addicted, though you may really like the look. Your wrinkles will not be worse than ever after it wears off…if anything, Botox can help prevent new and worsening wrinkles if you are fairly good about keeping up with it. If you think you need it, at whatever age, please be sure the doctor you discuss it with is experienced.” (So no Botox at the mall, please!)

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  1. Kristi Pflug

    Hi Jolie,

    After reading your book, Beauty Confidential, I’ve loved coming to your blog to get the latest and greatest beauty scoop! I mean seriously, help navigating all those beauty products? Count me in!

    But after I was perusing your posts this week, I noticed this one on Botox use. Frankly, I was kinda concerned. In this post you make Botox sound perfectly safe…which it might not be.

    Just last Monday, Newsweek printed an article in their magazine called “A New Reason to Frown Does Botox get into the brain?–Troubling research contradicts earlier findings about the treatment.” Which discusses the use of botulinum, one of the deadliest poisons in nature and a possible bioterrorism agent, that is (in very dilute doses) in Botox and Myobloc. It seems like the earlier FDA tests didn’t catch the fact that this poison can reach your brain and spinal cord.

    It surprised me to learn that “In 2005 scientists at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration analyzed 1,437 such ‘adverse events’ between 1989, when Botox was approved for eye spasms, and 2003. Most came from people who got Botox to erase their wrinkles, but the 28 deaths occurred in people who had received it for medical purposes.” The FDA also has “evidence that [serious reactions and even death] can happen in a broader population,” said the FDA’s Russell Katz. “Is it possible with cosmetic use? Possibly.”

    “Now, the FDA’s Katz said that people getting Botox for cosmetic reasons should ‘make their own personal best judgment about this’ and ‘be aware that there’s the potential for’ the neurotoxin to spread.”

    I don’t know about you, but I had no idea about any of this! I thought that since Botox had been used for so long, that it was pretty much guaranteed to be safe. Apparently, I was wrong. And I also think that other women who are considering Botox should be aware of all of this too. It might make a difference!

    *A link to the Newsweek story I quoted can be found here…

  2. Gretchen

    Hi Nadine,

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and was glad you covered botox in this post. I’ve always had a really bad frown line and have always thought that easing these frown lines would make me look a lot younger and fresher.

    I stayed away from botox for many years due to fear of looking frozen just as many people often fear. After many years of careful searching, I finally found a doctor who I was confident could perform the shots on me in a safe manner while achieving the results I was looking for. It’s been a month since i got my first dose of botox and I am very happy with the effects. People say I look a lot friendlier and younger. I just turned 32 in January but poeple tell me I dont look a day over 25.

    So far so good, no bad side effects or reactions. I think I’ll keep it up.

  3. Yes, I have also read a recent study where botox was given to lab rats and later the lab rats were dissected and examined and as it turns out, the botulinum toxin had made it to the rats brain cells. I really don’t knw why this treatment ever made it past the FDA, but of course that’s my opinion. Of course, I think natural products are a better choice alternative to chemical based personal care products all the way around… from your skin to the environment. Just be careful of treatments that have not been around long enough to see the long term effects. For example, when I was a youngster a lot of kids I grew up with had the gray teeth as a result of antibiotics their mothers took. Nobody knew at the time, but in retrospect, it seems so clear.