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Botox injections in your 20s and 30s

Getting Botox in Your 20s and 30s

In terms of the beauty world, Botox is nothing new – but it might be extremely new to you! If you are under 40, it’s likely that you have never had these rejuvenating injections. You might, however, have friends who get regular neurotoxin treatments, or people you follow on social media who are the same age of you that get wrinkle relaxer injections every couple of months. Smooth, wrinkle-free skin is something most of us yearn for, but it’s harder to achieve for some of us than others. In our fast-paced, often frustrating world, maintaining a youthful demeanor untarnished by signs of aging and stress seems more and more difficult without a bit of cosmetic intervention. Whether you are considering getting early Botox or are just curious about this procedure that is skyrocketing in popularity, we are here to answer all your questions about getting Botox in your 20s and 30s.

How Does Botulinum Toxin Work?

Botulinum toxin has been steadily on the rise for the past couple of years. In 2020, 4.4 million botulinum toxin type A injection procedures were performed – that makes them the most popular out of all minimally invasive cosmetic treatments. There are many possible reasons for this. For starters, beauty influencers and celebrities on social media often flaunt perfect skin. Many of us have seen those “before and after” images that show a side-by-side picture comparison of gorgeous actresses today and 15 years ago. Some appear virtually unchanged, having barely aged between the ages of 25 and 40. It’s enough to stir up some admiration – and, let’s be honest, quite a bit of envy – in the average person.

While some people appear to be genetically blessed, the more honest beauty gurus and celebs out there frequently admit that minimally invasive cosmetic procedures are to thank for their flattering visages – with neurotoxin often being among the most commonly cited procedures. More and more, the thin veil of “perfection” in Hollywood is becoming more transparent; celebrities who prize themselves on authenticity make no secret of their physical alterations. Cindy Crawford, for example, who is a longtime beauty icon, has been very open about the role of injectables in maintaining her appearance over the years.

On top of greater promotion and desire stemming from fame and social media, a lot of people are also more open to the concept of age reversing injections thanks to advancing technology. It has increasingly been known as a safe and effective method for anti-aging, as well as a symptom reliever for certain chronic conditions. Those who may have been afraid of getting toxin injections in the past are more open to it nowadays. The dreaded “frozen face” effect that neuromodulators are sometimes associated with is more and more rare, as experienced, highly qualified medical professionals are able to deliver skin-smoothing results without an uncanny look.

Even if you’ve never had this wrinkle reversing treatment, most people have heard of it. You might not, however, have any idea of how it actually works. Botulinum toxin is a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure that consists of the injection of a botulinum toxin; the word “toxin” might sound scary, but it actually has a lot of cosmetic and even therapeutic benefits. The way botulinum toxins work is by inhibiting the release of neurotransmitters – these send out signals to muscles, causing them to contract.

The most commonly used type is botulinum toxin type A, but there are a few different types available. When you get your toxin treatment, this toxin is mixed with a saline solution and carefully injected into the targeted site. For people who suffer from chronic conditions caused by involuntary muscle activity, or those bothered by dynamic wrinkles resulting from facial movement, Botox is a great way to relax those muscles and create a solution that can last for up to several months. By temporarily paralyzing muscle activity, it can provide relief from discomfort and wrinkles alike.

At What Age Do People Start Getting Botox?

If you’re a bit new to neurotoxin injections as a whole, it can be a bit confusing to hear all this talk of preventative, early, and late neurotoxin paradigm. It’s often more obvious when older people have gotten wrinkle relaxers – there’s a reason your favorite actress is the same age as your grandmother yet looks completely different, and it has to do with more than just good make-up. But you might be surprised at how many younger celebs have gotten minimally invasive cosmetic touch-ups. With all this in mind, you’re probably asking yourself: when is it normal to get Botox? Am I too young for it? Or too old? There is no simple answer here, but we can give you a bit of an idea of what the general trend is when it comes to a neurotoxin timeline.

In general, most people who get neuromodulator treatment don’t start doing so until their late 30s and 40s. In a 2018 survey, it was found that only about 1% of wrinkle relaxer procedures were carried out on people aged 20-29. This jumped up to 18% in the 30-39 age range. The majority of injections appeared to be done in those who are between 40 and 54 years old, with 57% of procedures being in this age category – this is when even the most baby-faced individuals tend to see noticeable wrinkles appear. When it comes to people 55 and above, these made up 23% of total procedures in 2018.

But these figures might be changing. A more recent survey (specifically from 2021) found that the most common patient age group going for botulinum toxin injections were those aged 31 to 45 years old, suggesting that it is ever more popular at lower ages. It’s possible that the increased use of social media during the Covid pandemic exposed more people to the idea of preventative Botox, which can curb early signs of aging. In fact, many minimally invasive cosmetic procedures experienced this surprising pandemic boom, going up by 44% post-2020. Younger generations seem to be more willing and eager to get Botox early on, as a youthful face becomes a goal to strive for.

31 year old patient demonstrating complete resolution of frown lines between the eyebrows after administration of 20 units of botox
31 year old patient post 20 units of Botox treatment to relax frown lines between eyebrows

What Is Preventative Botox?

What Is Preventative Botox?

As we just mentioned, most people who get these age defying injection are still over 40. But more people are flocking to get these wrinkle reversing injections at younger ages – something they refer to as preventative or Baby Botox. The idea of prevention is that you can postpone the aging process early on. That means that, while you won’t halt aging forever, you are giving your skin a better base for milder wrinkles later in life. By stopping or limiting muscle contractions and dynamic facial movement, you can delay the development of wrinkles in the face.

The evidence for preventative toxin injections is still low and mostly anecdotal, as there have been no large studies to confirm or deny the theory that it will minimize the effects of aging in the long-run, even after treatments stop. Some dermatologists swear by this treatment, claiming that muscle contraction will peter out after several years of regular injections, resulting in less wrinkle formation even after you stop getting treatments. Others claim that there is little to back-up this claim, and that, once the botulinum toxin wear off, your skin will continue aging as normal. Studies do show, however, that patients are generally satisfied with their results for the projected effective period, meaning that 87% report being happy with the outcome 6 months after their injections.

before and after results following completion of Botox treatment for forehead wrinkles
32 year old female 2 weeks after getting 20 units of Botox to eliminate horizontal forehead lines

Do Wrinkles Start to Form in Your 20s and 30s?

Wrinkles, fine lines, whatever you want to call them – at one point or another, everybody has to deal with this simple fact of aging. Some people embrace the folds and creases in their skin as a sign of the times, while others have meticulous skincare routines to delay the effects of skin maturation as much as possible. One day you might look at a picture of yourself and notice new lines you never picked up on before; or, if you are in your 20s, you might start scrutinizing your face in the mirror, wondering when the time will come when your age catches up with you.

As you get older, the rate at which your cells renew and replenish themselves slows down more and more. This causes your skin layers to thin. Collagen and elastin, the proteins that allow your skin to be bouncy and firm, slowly begin to deplete in the body. Finally, older skin is also more prone to dryness and dehydration; hydration and moisture is necessary for the skin to heal itself. All of this means that the skin is more prone to damage, slower to repair itself, and more likely to end up with creases and depressions known as wrinkles. Fat and volume loss in the skin also causes skin to be dragged down more – a reason many people with rounded or chubby cheeks tend to look younger in the long run.

Dr. Schwarzburg, a cosmetic surgeon at Skinly Aesthetics in New York, explains that there are many factors that can cause wrinkles to appear earlier or later, depending on who you are, what you do, or how your skin is structured. In general, however, wrinkles don’t begin to appear until after you turn 25. The amount of elastin and collagen in your body starts to slow its production around the age of 20, but this doesn’t start to become noticeable until several years later. Often, the first place you will notice them is on your neck and hands (that’s a reminder to moisturize and apply sunscreen to places below your chin, if you don’t already). Over time, the legs and arms are also affected. Many of us don’t notice fine lines, however, until they appear on our face. 

In your 20s, you will probably start seeing the common forehead wrinkles, especially if you’re a very expressive person. These can even be visible in your teens, but they tend to become more noticeable as you get older – and don’t simply fade away when you change your expression. Crow’s feet around the eyes and frown lines generally start to appear in your 30s. For some, these are barely noticeable; for others, they are a good indicator that they might want to try out Botox. These lines deepen as you enter your 40s, and, by your 50s, wrinkles around the mouth, chin, and neck, are extremely common.

Why Do Wrinkles Form Earlier for Some Than Others?

The truth is, the time and pace at which wrinkles develop isn’t completely universal. You may already be seeing forehead and frown lines in your late 20s; meanwhile your best friend’s older sister is in her mid-30s and still has skin like a teenager. There isn’t a single rate or benchmark that applies to everyone when it comes to the rate of facial aging. It might not seem fair, but variations in skin texture, firmness, and smoothness have many causes.

Genetics and lifestyle can play a huge role. For example, if you’re particularly outdoorsy – an avid hiker, enthusiastic swimmer, or even someone who can’t get enough of driving in their topless convertible – you probably increase your risk of early aging due to sun damage. That doesn’t mean you should lock yourself indoors; proper sun protection is your best friend, and should be worn daily even if you don’t spend a ton of time in the fresh air. You may already be aware of the sun as a photoaging culprit. In fact, it’s responsible for at least 80% of the signs of aging in the face, and can hardly be avoided. The question is: why is that?

UV radiation depletes certain proteins in the skin – namely elastin and collagen – that give it a youthful smoothness and structure. UV rays kill off stem cells – which are responsible for replacing dead cells – and  activate two enzymes known as MMPs (matrix metalloproteinases) and cathepsin K. These enzymes break down collagen and elastin in the dermis. The more superficial layer of the skin – the epidermis – is also affected by damages to DNA in this layer. To prevent this, be sure to wear an SPF and other sun protection; and don’t forget to limit your time in the tanning booth, or, better yet, avoid it altogether.

Another huge factor in how your skin ages is the kind of habits you have and things you consume. It’s no secret smoking and drinking heavily isn’t exactly a beauty enhancer. Nicotine products shrink blood vessels, resulting in poor oxygen and nutrient flow in the body. The toxic chemicals that enter your body while smoking also damage your skin in other ways, like increasing free radicals that cause premature aging. As if there aren’t enough reasons to kick the habit – smokers typically have deeper nasolabial folds and other facial wrinkles than non-smokers, as well as sagging skin. Like smoking, excessive and regular drinking also deprives your body of vitamin A, dehydrating your skin and robbing it of bountiful bounciness.

If you are an overly expressive person, this may also lead to wrinkles forming earlier. Think of all the places in your face that folds and creases appear in when you make different expressions. Raising your eyebrows in surprise or disbelief causes parallel ridges to stretch across the forehead. Making a big smile deepens the folds around your mouth and nose, produces lines beneath your eyes, and even creates dimples in the cheeks. Scrunching your nose, frowning, or furrowing your brow in concentration all contribute to tiny lines caused by facial muscle contractions. These are all completely normal responses, and you shouldn’t have to monitor your facial expressions out of a fear of wrinkles. Toxin injections are helpful for restricting certain muscle contractions, so that these wrinkles won’t form in the first place. Other physical factors affecting your skin can be certain kinds of touch – sleeping with your face against your pillow or constantly resting your cheek on your hand, for instance.

But even the most careful and gentle treatment of your face isn’t going to prevent every wrinkle from forming, as much as you might hope it would. Putting lifestyle aside, genetics is also a major determinant in wrinkle formation. Studies suggest that around 60% of the variation in skin aging is due to genetics. This means that, while lifestyle changes can help you out in the long run, you can’t always blame wrinkles on sun exposure or big laughs. Sometimes, you are just born with the gene cards stacked against you – or, alternatively, playing in your favor. A solid skincare routine and protection can certainly help boost your chances of smooth and moisturized skin, however.

How Long Do I Have to Wait to See My Botox Results – And How Long Will They Last?

This is a commonly asked question for people of all ages. Those getting wrinkle relaxers in their 20s and 30s are often doing it as a preventative measure; they are eager to delay the aging process for as long as possible, and are hopeful that these rejuvenating injections can successfully make that happen. This is true to an extent as botulinum toxin can both treat and prevent wrinkles from forming. However, you can’t halt the aging process forever; at least, not with a single treatment. As much as many of us wish it wasn’t true, neuromodulators are only temporary.

How long the results last varies a bit based on where you got your injections. In general, you can expect to enjoy the results of the treatment for around 3 to 6 months. Not every patient is the same. One person might see the effects lasting for up to 6 months, another might see their results fading away after around 2 months. After this period, the neurotoxins injected during your session will begin to wear off, meaning that the neurotransmitters that tell your muscles to contract will spring back into action. First-time patients often experience shorter effects, while those with regular visits notice that the Botox lasts longer over time.

By paying attention and being gentle with your skin, it is possible to make effects last longer and look better. Sun protection and avoiding certain activities like heavy exercise immediately after your treatment are good steps to keep in mind. Having a reliable skincare routine is another great way to not only enhance the effects of your treatment, but to keep your skin happy overall.

As for when you will see results – you can also expect some slight variation here, but don’t worry, you won’t have to wait too long. Some people manage to see amazing results in only 24 hours. Others may have to be a bit more patient, and won’t get the full effect until about 2 weeks after their treatment. If you’re counting on your appointment to make you look especially good for a special occasion – such as a wedding, party, vacation, holiday, work event, or photoshoot – make sure to plan for this in advance. You also want to leave a bit of time in case there is a bit of swelling or bruising at the injection site; two weeks is a solid period of time that allows for these common side effects to subside, while also ensuring that you get the most out of the treatment.

If you love your Botox results – or, if you’re somewhat satisfied but think you can get a better result – you can always go for repeat sessions. A lot of people become regulars at their cosmetic clinic after their first round of neurotoxins. If you wish to maintain the effects of your treatment, you can come back every 4 to 6 months to receive touch-ups and draw out the flattering results for as long as possible. When you get these injections really comes down to your personal preferences and what you are comfortable with, as well as how well your skin responds to the procedure.

before and after results following the treatment with 20 units of Botox for Crows feet
31 year old female status post 20 units of Botox to reduce the appearance of Crows feet wrinkles
before and after results demonstrating effects of 20 units of Botox for horizontal forehead wrinkles
31 year old patient 2 weeks after receiving 20 units of Botox for forehead lines

Am I Too Young for Botox?

Most of the time, this is a question that needs to be considered on an individual basis. However, there certainly is an age at which neuromodulators are unnecessary, or even unadvisable. Those who are below 18 years old also need parental consent to get the procedure. There is no cosmetic reason for somebody that young to get the injections – before your 20s, it is unlikely that you have any noticeable wrinkles that need to be treated.

However, it is not always about aesthetics. There are certain chronic conditions that can be greatly relieved through Botox injections. For example, many people suffer from migraines that can be debilitating in every day life. They cause people to miss out on work, school, and social activities, opting instead to rest or take pain meds in the hope that the chronic head strain will go away. For a lot of young people, these meds are not yet approved or tolerated well; that can be a major issue for kids and teens, 1 in 10 of which suffer from migraines. A study found that botulinum toxin injections significantly improved migraine symptoms in adolescents, lessening the frequency, duration, and pain associated with recurrent migraines. This allows younger folk to return to school, engage in clubs, sporting activities, and hanging out with friends – enjoying themselves as they should.

Another condition often treated with botulinum toxin is primary axillary hyperhidrosis. Basically, this the medical term for excessive sweating of the underarms. This condition can affect people of all ages. Not only can it result in discomfort and smell, it can also be embarrassing – nobody wants to walk around with armpit stains. Deodorant can often only do so much, and reapplying it several times a day can be a real hassle. By inhibiting the release of the periglandular neurotransmitter acetylcholine, Botox helps control hyperactive sweat glands. Neurotoxin injections for hyperhidrosis have been met with high response rates and patient satisfaction.

People of all ages can also suffer from an overactive bladder. That means they are often running to the bathroom several times a day, or feeling generally uncomfortable as the urge to pee overwhelms their daily life. Just like chronic migraines, an overactive bladder can make daily life difficult and miserable. Those with a severely overactive bladder can find relief in treating the detrusor muscle, relief that can last 6 to 12 months

Finally, other commonly strained or pained areas can also be treated with these injections. The most common example of this is the neck. Cervical dystonia is the term for chronic neck pain and strain, sometimes many people suffer from. Botox injections can help mitigate these symptoms and allow you to live a more carefree, comfortable life.

While you can be too young to get Botox meant to target wrinkles, all the conditions above can be treated with these injections if recommended and approved by your doctor. People of all ages can suffer from the pain and drawbacks of chronic conditions, and when this medication is administered by a knowledgeable and trained professional at a medspa, can often be a safe and effective way to treat these issues.

results demonstrating complete resolution of 11s lines following administration of 20 units of Botox
29 year old female 14 days after getting 20 units of Botox injections to smooth out 11’s lines
results showing complete elimination of periorbital Crows feet after injecting 20 units of Botox
29 year old patient demonstrating complete resolution of periorbital Crow’s feet wrinkles after administration of 20 units of Botox

In Conclusion

While most people can get through their 20s without many wrinkles, some might want to start considering Botox once they hit 30. That’s when aging starts to become more apparent, especially if you lead a busy lifestyle and don’t put aside a lot of time for skin care. If you are worried about wrinkle formation, are genetically predisposed to thin, creasing skin, or have medical reasons to seek muscle relaxation, it can definitely be worth talking to your doctor about getting Botox.

No matter your reason for this treatment, it’s always important that you see a highly trained, qualified, and board-certified physician to receive the best possible care. To prevent side effects and get you the most desirable results, you want to rely on a doctor that you can trust. Dr. Schwarzburg here at Skinly Aesthetics on the Upper East Side is happy to see you for a consultation to discuss all your cosmetic treatment options, and to answer any questions you may have about other possible procedures.

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