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03 December 2023

How young is too young for botox?

What Botox does is, temporarily paralyze the muscle causing the wrinkle to relax and smooth out (Shutterstock)

By Amal Al Jabry

Dad: What would you like for your birthday sweetie?

Daughter: botox fillers!

Does this conversation sound OK to you?

Well, it’s been quite the norm for a while now, and even more popular than ever.

“That’s absolutely wrong,” said Dr Allen Rezai, leading Senior Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon of the Elite Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery Group.

Speaking to Emirates 24|7, the surgeon added: “We welcome everybody that comes to us, but not everyone has the right indications for cosmetic procedures and if a 20 year-old comes to our practice asking for botox to treat wrinkles, then he/she will be rejected unless the person is indicated for this treatment by for example having  a visible deep fold in her forehead, that is caused by overactive muscles and which can be improved by Botox injections.”  

He added: “I am strongly against young 20-25 even 30 year old patients having botox injections for rejuvenation purposes,  and whenever I get such patients, I explain for them why they shouldn’t start using botox at this age and what will the consequences be, if they did.

"What botox does is, temporarily paralyse the muscle causing the wrinkle  to relax and smooth out. I even advise my older patients to Not have botox more than twice a year, as they need to allow their muscles to become fully active before injection them again. ”

Dr Allen explained that the practice occasionally receive patients seeking both surgical and non-surgical treatments starting from the age of 20.

But not when it comes to all procedures, especially Botulinum toxin or botox, which has quickly grown to become a household name.

In cosmetic surgery, botox is injected into the facial muscles in the upper part of the face to treat frown lines, crow’s feet  and wrinkles and lines between the brows by temporarily paralyzing the muscles.

Dr Allen explained what exactly goes on in paralysing them.

“In my opinion botox should NOT be used to prevent wrinkles from forming. If you start having Botox at the age of 20 for preventing wrinkles from appearing, and keep your facial muscles paralysed for a longer periods of time, by the time you reach 35, your muscles will have weakened and lost their thickness resulting in reduced muscle function and drooping of your upper face.” he said.

The surgeon continued: “And then you’re in need of a brow lift, to treat your drooping, and heavy looking forehead.”

Dr Allen linked this to members of the public not being given the correct information and proper awareness about what they can or can’t do, particularly with botox.

He also expressed his concern, in particular, on the regional beauty shows where TV presenters advise viewers to get treated at a young age.

“This is wrong information that is being portrayed to the public because this is not coming from medical professionals. I always reject patients who are either too young for botox or any other cosmetic procedure for that matter, or if they do not have the right indication, and advise them that they may need to have this procedure later in life but right now, it’s not the time, and if they do this now, they will end up with unnecessary complications.”

He added that any kind of advice and opinions on all plastic surgeries should be expressed solely by the experts alone.

“A plastic surgeon or a qualified medical professional should be the one expressing their opinions about cosmetic procedures and Not someone who is not qualified to do so. I would never advice anyone regarding a subject outside my professional field, as I will not have the necessary training and  knowledge to do so.”

As cosmetic surgery encompasses a huge weight of responsibility since its involves making someone's aesthetic dreams come true, Dr Allen stressed that “It’s the responsibility of the Plastic Surgeon to have a thorough consultation with the patient and also to provide them with necessary information regarding all aspects, including pros and cons of their desired procedure, and whether or not they are suitable candidates for this surgery.

"It is important to be honest  with patients and  to provide them with correct information so they can make an informed decision and if surgery is not the right option for them,  this should be communicated to them in a way they understand and they should also be made aware of the consequence, if they did go through with this surgery.”

And exercising the profession within the higher standards of ethics, the surgeon explained how at times he would reject patients who were not suitable to have a specific procedure.

“For example, if you come to me for a specific surgery, and following examination I see that you don’t have the right indications, I will  turn you down and explain why” he said.

He added that this honesty from plastic surgeons will in turn protect members of public from receiving the wrong kind of cosmetic surgery and the complications that follow, an epidemic that has hit all corners of the globe.

Dr Allen explained: “Cosmetic surgery can transform people’s lives as long as they have the right indications, I believe honesty and communication between doctor and patient are very important, providing patients with correct information and not performing unnecessary surgery for the sake of making money, in other words honest and ethical  patient selection would  result in much less complications associated with cosmetic surgery”.