“Am I too young to get Botox?”
This is a common question I’m often asked by people in their 20’s and 30’s. Sometimes a mother will plead with me in front of her daughter: “Please, Doctor Sarnoff. Tell her she’s too young for Botox!”
While it may surprise many people to hear this, I’m actually in favor of Botox being administered to patients of any age when the situation calls for it.
The fears are understandable. Botox is a botulinum toxin, which sounds scary, often reminding people of botulism, a bacteria in spoiled food. To make matters worse, there is an abundance of misinformation surrounding Botox in the media, and the results of poorly administered Botox on celebrities has provided ample material for late night comedians.
The truth is Botox is safe, and when injected properly by a skilled, board certified physician, the results are fantastic for patients of any age. In fact, Botox has been used to treat conditions such as crossed-eyes and muscle problems caused by Cerebral Palsy in children since the 1980’s, establishing a long track-record of safety.
There are many other conditions that cause social anxiety for teens and young adults where Botox can be used effectively. Contrary to popular belief, Botox isn’t only for people who don’t want to look older. Many teens have to deal with bullying, teasing, and poor self-image and Botox can actually make a world of difference in their lives.
Here are 5 cases where Botox can be used to treat younger patients:
Adolescents or young people in their 20’s who have overactive apocrine glands suffer from profuse sweating in the armpits, which causes body odor and social embarrassment. Patients often have to change shirts multiple times throughout the day.
Treatment: Botox is injected by a board certified dermatologist into the skin without injecting the muscle beneath it. This will reduce sweating in the area significantly. Before injecting, a numbing cream is applied to the underarm making the treatment virtually painless. A very small needle is used and approximately 25 small injections are administered to each under arm. The patient will still sweat elsewhere, but their under arms will stay relatively dry. The results of this treatment last for approximately 10 months and some insurance policies may cover the cost.
Another socially embarrassing condition, profuse sweating of the palms can make people reluctant to shake hands in a business setting or hold hands on a date. Sufferers often have to wipe their hands on their pants or skirts and occasionally visible beads of sweat can start rolling down their palms. This condition is caused by an overactive eccrine glands and it’s often hereditary.
Treatment: A board certified dermatologist will apply numbing cream to the hands to minimize discomfort. Next, the Botox is injected very, very superficially into the skin without inadvertently injecting the muscles in the hand. Only 25 little injections into each palm will prevent excessive sweating in the area for approximately 10 months. The treatment takes approximately two weeks to start working after the procedure. It is sometimes covered by medical insurance, especially if one can successfully make the case that the condition interferes with one’s livelihood and prevents one from being able to do things such as write or play an instrument.
When some people smile, their top gum is especially visible. Some people who have this issue feel unattractive or self-conscious and hold back from laughing or smiling in public as a result.
Treatment: A small amount of botox is injected into the right and left corners of the nose. These injections will penetrate the muscles, which causes them to relax. The upper lip will drop slightly lower down so that it will hide the upper gum only when one laughs or smiles. When one isn’t laughing or smiling, the upper lip will not appear any lower down than usual. The effects of this treatment last for about three to four months.
Some teenagers or adults in their twenties suffer from migraine headaches. Usually hereditary, these severe headaches are often accompanied by nausea and menstrual cramps, making them especially unpleasant and incapacitating.
Treatment: Instead of taking Advil or Aspirin, sufferers can see a board certified neurologist or pain management doctor who will strategically inject Botox into the tiny muscles in the head, neck, shoulders, and scalp area. The effects of this treatment can keep the migraines at bay for approximately three to four months.
Some people complain that their faces always look angry, tired, or worried. This can be cause for many unpleasant social interactions. A person who is asked a few too many times if she is tired, upset, or angry about something when she is feeling just fine, thank you very much, will actually start to feel these negative emotions. Many people have vertical frown lines between their eyebrows that make it seem as if they are perpetually frowning. This condition is genetic, but it can cause others to respond negatively and form snap judgments. If you’re a teen or a twenty-something unintentionally giving off a bad vibe, a little bit of Botox can smooth things over.
Usually all it takes is about 4-5 injections of Botox into the area between the brows and forehead every 3-4 months to keep these frown lines away. If the treatment is repeated once every 6 months, the patient can sometimes outgrow the condition permanently. Botox retrains the muscles so that patients may no longer need it after a while.