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Teens Getting Botox - Harmless Treatment or Dangerous Trend?


As the number of teens having neurotoxin injections is on the rise, the aesthetic industry needs to take a stance - is it okay or not?

There is a new trend known as Teen Toxing where teenagers are getting injections of botulinum based neurotoxins such as Botox and Dysport. Many of these young patients report that they are getting these treatments in order to prevent wrinkles from forming in the first place, the thought process being that if they can avoid wrinkles, their skin will remain youthful for longer.

teen botox use
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The trend gained media notoriety earlier this year when it was revealed that 49 year old "Human Barbie" Sarah Burge had injected her then 15 year old daughter Hannah with Botox injections. The British Burge is an aesthetician and is known for having over 500,000 pounds worth of cosmetic surgery. She visited with The Doctors and defended her decision to give her daughter injections saying, "My daughter came to me and she was concerned about her frown lines, considering that she uses the internet so often, so obviously I suggested having a couple of Botox shots."

Here in the US, in 2009, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) reported 12,110 Botox or Dysport procedures were performed on patients 18 and under, up from 8,194 in 2008. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) reported 11,889 cosmetic Botox or Dysport procedures were performed on patients age 13 to 19, an increase of 2 percent from 2008.

The Physicians Coalition for Injectable Safety (PCIS) has taken a stance against this trend. Dr. Robert Weiss, a PCIS leader and Past-President of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) doubts that there's any need for teens to undergo neurotoxin treatments and feels that it's not worth the risk. "I am very doubtful of the benefits of neurotoxins for individuals who are wrinkle-fee by virtue of their age. Botox does not prevent natural aging, so this seems like an unnecessary risk."

In the official FDA approval for Botox, it is specified that it is developed for improving the look of "moderate to severe frown lines between the eyebrows (glabellar lines) in people 18 to 65 years of age for a short period of time (temporary)." There is nothing in the treatment's indications that says it should be used for prevention of wrinkles, and further, it indicates that it should be used in those who are 18 at a minimum.

Neurotoxins are safe when used at the recommended dosage by a trained administrator - state laws differ on whether a physician or aesthetician can perform the injections. The trouble enters in when patients look to untrained individuals or fake product for their treatment. According to MSNBC.com, Dr. Mark Jewell, a plastic surgeon from Eugene, OR and spokesperson for the PCIS said "I've heard from colleagues that kids are coming in with their moms and saying, 'Can I have Botox, too? I feel like I need it'.... "Botox is a blockbuster of a product, but should a teenager be getting it? I think the answer is no."