Ever since 17-year-old American socialite Kylie Jenner told 35 million Instagram fans about her lip filler injections, there has been a decided uptick in the number of young people seeking a variety of cosmetic injectable treatments. How young? Much of the surge has been among twenty- and thirty-something’s, influenced by celebrities like Kylie and her older sibling Kim Kardashian.
There is, however, a growing mountain of evidence that girls as young as 14 are also requesting—and receiving—injectable treatments. Boys, too. Here in Australia, eighteen-year-old Glitter Strip sensation Kurt Coleman is sharing his “beauty secrets,” and inspiring peers to change their appearance for the better.
This teen trend has sparked controversy regarding the age appropriate use of muscle relaxants, lip plumpers, dermal fillers, and other enhancement products. What Team Costhetics wants to know is: How young is too young to receive cosmetic injectable treatments?
Why Teens Want to be Stuck-Up
Ask people in their 20’s and 30’s about their appearance and many will respond, “I wish I could look the way I did as a teenager.” Conveniently blocking out the embarrassment of adolescent acne, they remember their skin as unlined, taut, youthful perfection.
Today’s teens see themselves differently, and far from perfect. Self-obsessed thanks to image-oriented social media sites such as Flickr and Shutterfly, this unique demographic wants muscle relaxants and dermal fillers to improve their appearance, not reclaim their youth.
One teen said she opted for a neurotoxin as a way to erase “squint lines” that remained after she switched from glasses to contact lenses. Another had a series of injections to erase a crease that had developed in her forehead. In both of these cases, the mothers of the patients gave their wholehearted approval. Said one,
“ (She) wasn’t changing her looks in any way; it was more of a preventative measure to train her not to frown there. I only allowed it because it was such a severe crease for a young girl and it was kind of bothering her.” – Colleen Dozark to SkinInc.com
Muscle-Relaxing Injections as Preventive Medicine
The view on the best age for various cosmetic enhancement treatments has evolved. Muscle-relaxing injections were once the purview of patients in their 40’s and 50’s seeking to erase dynamic wrinkles and lines etched into their faces over time.
Today, patients in their 20’s and 30’s are choosing muscle relaxing injections as a preventative measure to keep wrinkles from forming in the first place.
“If you slow down the use of these muscles beginning early in adult life, the lines never develop. Rather than going backward and fixing something that’s there, you can inhibit it from starting in the first place.” – Dr Kenneth Arndt, The Today Show
Plump Is In for this Body Part
The age at which skin-plumping dermal fillers are appropriate depends on the issues being addressed. The most popular injectables smooth out the wrinkles and skin folds that signal the arrival of middle age, even though they may appear while those middle years are still a long way off. Dermal fillers are also useful for patients from 20-60 who feel that their lips are too thin.
Rarely are muscle-relaxing injections an appropriate course of treatment for teens.
Teens dissatisfied with the contours of their noses, but not ready for rhinoplasty, may be helped by dermal fillers. As for teens who don’t think their lips are sufficiently plump and kissable: it’s better to use an over-the-counter plumping lipstick. Lipsticks and glosses with ingredients like cinnamon oil and capsaicin mildly and safely irritate the lips and make them swell slightly.
Or the alternative: create “Kylie” lips with makeup.
Want Answers? Ask Your Doctor
So “How young is too young to receive cosmetic injectable treatments?” The jury is still out on that one. One thing is certain to Team Costhetics:
A consultation with a board certified professional should be the first stop for any patient of any age considering medical aesthetic treatments.