We Asked Young People Why They Use Botox
Can't escape the Kardashian Effect.
Image: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
People younger than you'd expect have recently been undergoing cosmetic procedures traditionally used by a more wrinkled population. Specifically, Botox treatments between 19 to 34-year-olds skyrocketed 41 percent between 2011 and 2015, per the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
There's a lot of speculation as to why this curious trend is peaking. Some believe that the 'gram has fried people's brains into believing that perfection exists without gentle lighting and strategic angles. Others blame it on money: These treatments are not cheap, but an economic uptick and access to more affordable treatments has resulted in more than half a million procedures a year being done in this age range.
Maybe this age group is looking to preserve their looks before the first fine line has a chance to curl into crow's feet. No judgment. Wincing when I see our president speak has been accelerating my own wrinkles.
Botox lovers—the ones who choose to get poked routinely—often belong to the "plastic positive" set, while others who use it as an occasional and indulgent pick-me-up don't identify that way. Here's what a handful of young people had to say.
Taylor Vettese, 29, Toronto, Canada
My lips are ok. The shape is perfect, but I love the way they look when they're first done and the skin is so tight. It's all shiny like it's going to pop, like a pizza pocket. Like it's going to explode. I think that look is so hot. I love girls with lips like that. It kind of looks slutty and the slutty look is the hot look.
A lot of millennials don't care about commitments, like paying their bills and stuff. They're just like, "Oh, I'll spend it on filler." They don't care about debt. It's a very me me type of age group. That's why it's about selfies and social media.
Kylie Jenner really changed everything. They even call it the Kardashian Effect. If you look at all the popular girls on Instagram, they all have that Kardashian/Kylie Jenner look to them. They all look exactly the same. The Instagram eyebrows, the big lips. Everyone wants to look like that. Maybe it's popular right now. But I like the look.
Shannon Dawn Rauch, 37, Charlotte, North Carolina
[Three years ago], I thought, "I'm just going to try it." The first time I tried it, I got too much. The forehead. Everything. I had so much forehead I thought I had fivehead. It was awful. I did like it around my eyes, so I learned enough to know how to avoid overdoing it.
It's about ten dollars a unit, and I need about 50 units. The first time they gave me the full treatment, it was almost $1,000. At the time when I decided to try it, I worked on television, and I was not confident with myself. So Botox helped me a lot.
Now, I use Botox maybe once or twice a year. It takes a long time for it to go away on me, maybe three or four months. I feel comfortable with how I look for the most part, but when I know I'm going to be on television or something like that, maybe once or twice a year I get the crow's feet taken off. Anything I would want to edit on a photo. I zoom in on photos and go, "Oh, I wish I didn't have that."
I will continue to do it as long as it looks natural. Once I begin to really age, then I will pursue another job that doesn't require so many cameras.
Michael Prophet, 32, Indian Trail, North Carolina
It was something I had been thinking about for awhile. Then I turned 30 and decided to do it. I did it for about a year or so, but I was hoping the effects would last longer. That was the biggest deterrent for me. If you're paying $300 per session, because you pay by the injection, then you're only getting about three months of use out of it. You have to keep doing and doing it. It wasn't cost effective for me at that point.
The effects weren't overly noticeable and it wasn't painful or anything dramatic, so if I had unlimited financial resources, why not use it. I still spend a lot on my face wash and moisturizer, things I use to be preventative, but things you can get over the counter.
Overall, I enjoyed it. It made my forehead wrinkles go away. But after about two-three months it started wearing off, so you have to go back and do it again and you get stuck in the cycle. If I didn't tell somebody that I had gotten it, no one would have known. So it was more like a thing just for me.
Corinne A. Sweet, 31, Birmingham, Alabama
I started using it about six years ago. I've been an aquatics director for the last fifteen years, in and around pools. When I'm outside in the sun, I found I was squinting a lot. It seemed like the lines between my eyebrows were always there. With makeup on, they would create little foundation lines on my face and I hated it.
A friend of mine suggested getting Botox. I had the reaction of "I'm not old, I don't have wrinkles." She said, "Well, that's exactly what you're talking about; it would prevent them from getting larger. It would make them relax." The first doctor who gave me Botox injections agreed it would prevent them from getting worse when I got older.
I usually get Botox when it's on sale. There was one doctor that actually said, "You're too young for Botox." Which I thought was really strange because I said I'm doing this to prevent the wrinkles.
I don't mind the crow's feet or smile wrinkles. To me, that means I'm happy a lot, but the wrinkles between my eyebrows reminded me of stress or working a lot out in the sun.
Meg Smith, 30, Charlotte, North Carolina
I had gotten left for a girl that was ten years younger than me. I had a newborn baby. It was a lot for me to process.
I've always had great skin. I wore BB cream, but I was a sunbaby and I lay in tanning beds when I was 17 until I was 26. Then I got pregnant with my son and noticed a mole on the back of my ear, so I went to the dermatologist for the first time. Three of my moles had to get taken off because they were precancerous.
After that wake-up call, I stopped doing all things sun-related and started learning about skincare through my job at a plastic surgery and med-spa facility. The aestheticians schooled me on pros and cons of different things. I never thought about getting injectables, but I started noticing crow's feet and more expression lines on my face. That was a combo of being a single mother of a newborn, no sleep and sun damage.
They asked me to use Botox. It was the first time I'd ever thought about using it. I thought I was too young for it. But I was told Botox is good to get before the wrinkle is fully formed. It's preventative, so it basically paralyzes the muscle and it's temporary. It's not long term. It's a choice you make that you have to continue doing.