Whether you want to eliminate existing dynamic wrinkles that make you look older than you actually are, or you want to proactively prevent them from forming in the first place, Botox is one of your best and most popular options.
But at what age should you start getting Botox? And when is young too young?
While the FDA has approved Botox for use in certain pediatric populations (such as two-year-olds with cerebral palsy), you’re likely wondering about its more traditional cosmetic uses, and for that you’re looking at a lower age limit of 18, and an upper age limit of infinity.
With no upper age limit for Botox, the popular prescription medication is even used in funeral homes on the dearly departed.
Botox: Popular Ages vs Proper Ages
Because Botox is a prescription medicine (though an injectable one), its use is somewhat carefully controlled. Who can and can not get it is determined by clinical trials, and age-ranges are among the many things approved by the FDA in prescribing information.
- 18-years-old is the youngest you can be for cosmetic use of Botox.
- 35-years-old is typically when preventative Botox is begun.
- 40-55-years-old is the most popular period for Botox.
- There is no upper age limit for Botox. Use above age 70 is very rare.
Too Early for Botox:
The legal age limit for Botox is eighteen years of age. But there are numerous factors that could otherwise make Botox futile. Patients with no dynamic facial lines or fine wrinkles caused by muscle movement will have nothing to treat cosmetically with Botox, but could benefit from Botox when used in a lip flip or lip lift.
Too Late for Botox:
Patients whose facial lines are no longer “fine” or “moderate” may need a facelift or brow lift rather than Botox–or a facelift in addition to spot-treatment with Botox and dermal fillers. Typically between about the late 40s and early 60s, there comes a point when the accumulated effects of environmental exposure and sun damage, coupled with muscle movement that causes wrinkles, reduces the effects and improvements that Botox is capable of bringing to a patient.
Most Patients Get Botox Between Age 40 and 54
Botox at very young ages is extremely uncommon–and often extremely unnecessary, since Botox addresses dynamic wrinkles that aren’t likely to form until one’s late 20s or early to mid 30s.
In 2020, 12,767 patients between ages 13-19 received Botox, accounting for less than 1% of the total patients receiving the treatment for cosmetic purposes that year. Another 1% of cosmetic Botox patients that year were between the ages of 20 and 29. Eighteen percent were ages 30-39, and 57% were ages 40-54. 23% were between 55 and 69. No instances of cosmetic Botox use were reported for patients over 70.
[Related: Avoid After Botox: The 10 Most Important Don’ts.]
When Botox is an Option for Various Conditions:
As Botox cosmetic is FDA cleared for many, many more uses than as a wrinkle reducer, patients at all ages may benefit from certain of its uses, the most common of which are outlined here:
Botox for Cosmetic Use: Ages 18 – 100
When used to reduce the appearance of dynamic facial wrinkles, Botox is FDA cleared for use in patients who are at least 18-years-old or older.
Botox for an Overactive Bladder: Ages 18 and Up
Botox is FDA cleared to treat the symptoms of an overactive bladder. The symptoms may include the strong need to urinate immediately, a leaking bladder, or clothes- and bed-wetting accidents. When used to treat the symptoms of an overactive bladder, or an overactive bladder caused by a neurological disease, patients need to be 18-years-old or older to meet FDA requirements, and they may need to first try another treatment (an anticholinergic).
Botox for Headache Prevention: Ages 18 and Up
Botox is FDA cleared to treat patients who experience a migraine headache for 15 or more days per month, with headaches lasting 4 or more hours. When used to treat or prevent headaches and migraines, patients need to be 18-years-old or older.
Botox for Muscle Spasticity in Pediatric Patients: Ages 2 and Up
In July of 2020, the FDA cleared Botox for use in certain pediatric patient populations. Infants aged 2-years-old and up may be treated with Botox to address muscle spasticity, including spasticity caused by cerebral palsy.
Botox for Muscle Stiffness in Pediatric Patients: Ages 2 and Up
As with muscle spasticity, muscle stiffness in pediatric patients who are aged 2 and above may be treated with Botox.
Botox for Abnormal Head Position & Neck Pain: Ages 16 and Up
Persons with cervical dystonia, or CD, experience muscle contractions in their neck that cause the head to twist or turn to one side. Patients with this condition who are 16-years-old and above may be treated with Botox.
Botox for Eye Muscle Problems: Blepharospasm & Strabismus: Ages 12 and Up
The very first FDA approved use of Botox occured in 1989 when the injectable neurotoxin was approved to treat two rare eye muscle conditions, blepharospasm and strabismus. Botox may be part of the treatment plan for patients with these conditions if they are 12-years-old and older.
Botox for Severe Underarm Sweating: Ages 18 and Up
Botox is FDA cleared to treat the symptoms of severe underarm sweating, otherwise known as severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis. Botox is not cleared to treat excessive sweating anywhere other than the armpits, for which use a patient must be at least 18-years-old.
Botox for Infants: Ages 2 and Up
In July of 2020, the FDA approved Botox for use in certain pediatric populations: Children 2-years-old and older may be prescribed Botox to treat muscle spasticity, including lower limb spasticity caused by cerebral palsy.