What an explosive heading this is!
I recently read an article published in one of our industry trade magazines that fully explored the current feelings about preventative treatment. It examined the market trends, medical reasoning and possible mental health implications. It also firmly finished with a healthy reality check. I thought it worth sharing the highlights of this article with you as we are often asked where we sit with injecting young adults.
So here are some facts and our take on them.
In the US the number of Botox procedures performed on 20 to 29-year-olds has increased by 28% since 2010; whilst enquiries for anti-wrinkle procedures from patients aged 18 to 25 has swelled by more than 50% year on year!
It is argued that this raises ethical questions: how can someone in their 20s let alone 18 need wrinkle treatment? Is a fine line when some people really do display early signs of ageing for many medical reasons.
At Somerset Cosmetic Clinic we tend to discourage anyone under the age of 25 because that is when we generally see signs of volume changes in the face. It is at this age the collagen and elastic begin to reduce; even then, very light touch is required. That is not to say that we wouldn’t take into account a younger adult if the treatment was remedial in some way.
Ironically, it is not unusual for our regular patients to bring in their adult children to ask for advice. They have recognised the early signs of ageing in their child and want to help them get the best advice they can before they develop the same wrinkles they have. In this instance, we take into account the whole picture beginning with good skincare, sun screening and only consider treatment is there a good grounds, and even then, with a light hand. There are treatments other than injectables such as retinoid cream and hyaluronic acid that can be offered and we like to consider all options.
Whatever age you personally believe it is right to embark on preventative ageing the important thing is to remember the norm – be realistic and recognise what is achievable. Aesthetic practitioners are humans and as such we also adapt to norms and it is very easy to lose sight of what normal is and what is aesthetically pleasing. Younger patients could be very vulnerable to this, since they are continually being influenced by young celebs, social media and the new “must have“ in every picture – a filter!
At Somerset Cosmetic Clinic we spend time with patients explaining what can be achieved within the realms of ‘normal’ and we always reserve the right to refuse treatment if it is unnecessary, unrealistic, inappropriate or is frankly just another fad that they are going to regret in no time at all. We may seem to be making decisions for our patients that they don’t like but as this practice is led by myself, a practicing doctor, it is my duty to ‘do no harm’ (Hippocratic Oath) and protect patients, especially if I feel that body dysmorphia is a potential problem ; mental health as much as physical well-being has to be considered.
In October last year we wrote about the dangers of High Street Chemists administrating injectables.
The worry is that the ‘norm’ will become even more skewed when retail environments, where teenagers regularly shop, carry these products: this concerns many of us. Normalising aesthetic procedures at that age will bring repercussions – will youngsters believe that Botox is just another form of off-the-shelf cosmetic in a few year’s time? Whilst these treatments are in the control of practicing doctors, these ethical issues are under tighter restraint: the minute they are available in main stores in the High Street (albeit by trained practitioners – not doctors), you risk moving the goalposts:
“Shampoo, hair dye, Botox or fillers today anyone?“ Now, there is a real ethical dilemma!