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Botox before 30?

New wrinkle in the beauty wars: More adults in their 20s are turning to the needle

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April 03, 2012|By Tracy Swartz, RedEye

As if 20-somethings didn't have enough to worry about between mounting college costs, troubling economic conditions and dwindling job prospects.

Now there's a new wrinkle: Their wrinkles.

The author of a new book about skin care recommends people in their 20s start getting preventive Botox to battle the onset of wrinkles. Some young adults already are facing this concern head-on.

About 375,000 Botox procedures were performed on adults ages 19-34 last year, up about 1 percent from 2010, according to recent statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, a plastic surgeons group.

But one doctor says there's no age by which adults need to get Botox. In fact, "no one ever needs Botox," said Dr. Jill Weinstein, a clinical instructor of dermatology at Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group. She said potential patients need to sit down with dermatologists to determine whether Botox is right for them.

New York doctor Debra Jaliman, however, says if adults start getting Botox injections early, they won't have to undergo multiple procedures later to erase the appearance of lines.

"If you're someone who's going to care about lines, start early," said Jaliman, who wrote "Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist," which was released last month.

Jaliman, 56, said she's been using Botox for 20 years and she no longer gets shots of the drug, which typically costs about $375 for a single injection.

She said her clients range in age from their mid-20s to their mid-80s, but those who have waited to tackle their lines face the need for rejuvenation such as microdermabrasion and laser peels, which both remove the top layer of skin, in addition to the Botox.

If young adults are not quite ready to cross the line to injectables, which have been popularized on shows from the "Real Housewives" franchise to "Keeping up with the Kardashians," Jaliman said they need to look inward.

A diet deficient in protein and a lack of exercise can negatively affect the youthful look of skin, Jaliman said. Also, worrywarts should avoid the sun and facial exercises, which she said do not reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

"Your skin is a reflection of your overall health," she said.

Weinstein agrees that sun protection is the No. 1 key to skin health.

She said there are topical products with vitamins A and C that can improve the look of skin, but if a person is trying to get rid of deeper expression lines on their forehead, Botox probably is the way to go because it blocks nerves that affect muscle movement.

"You can't undo the lines that are already there," Weinstein said. "You can just prevent them from getting deeper in the future."

Weinstein recommends potential patients meet with a dermatologist to discuss their concerns and what treatments would be the best course. Weinstein said she typically sees patients in their 30s and 40s for Botox; those in their 20s are a rarity.

Still, there's no way to draw a line between those who should or shouldn't get Botox, she said.

"It's something you can't generalize. Everyone is different. It depends on genetics, sun damage, the kind of skin you have," said Weinstein, adding that Botox may be in order "if you're at a point where you're seeing lines of expression and you don't want them to get any worse."

Top chops, tucks, lifts and plucks

Nearly 1.8 million cosmetic procedures were performed nationally on young adults last year, according to a report by the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, a plastic surgeons group. RedEye breaks down the top five cosmetic surgical procedures—about 456,000 in 2011—and nonsurgical procedures—about 1.3 million—for people ages 19-34.

Surgical procedures

>> Breast augmentation: 155,256

>> Liposuction: 96,099

>> Rhinoplasty (nose reshaping): 60,973

>> Breast reduction in women: 33,467

>> Breast lift: 31,064

Non-surgical procedures

>> Botox: 375,162

>> Laser hair removal: 346,842

>> Hyaluronic acid (used to smooth wrinkles, plump lips, remove scars): 153,544

>> Microdermabrasion (skin exfoliation): 137,420

>> IPL laser treatment (hair removal): 84,001

tswartz@tribune.com | @tracyswartz

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