Going mainstream: More young women, men getting BotoxFARGO – By 3 p.m. on a Tuesday, aestheticians at Rejuv Skin & Laser Clinic had treated a dozen people with Botox – and they weren’t just the middle-age, country-club type.
By: Anna G. Larson, INFORUM
FARGO – By 3 p.m. on a Tuesday, nurses at Rejuv Skin & Laser Clinic had treated a dozen people with Botox – and they weren’t just the middle-age, country-club type.
Locally and nationally, the demographic of people who get Botox has changed since it was first approved for cosmetic use in 2002.
“It was very, very elite, and it was also very taboo,” says Melissa Rogne, Rejuv’s clinic director. “You didn’t talk about it. Now, the demographic is so different. For one, it’s so much younger.”
Botox use by people ages 20 to 29 increased nationally by 8 percent from 2011 to 2012, bumping the group up to 2 percent of the total Botox users, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. People ages 40 to 54 compose the largest percentage of Botox users, 58 percent. Botox accounted for more than half (6.1 million) of the 13 million minimally invasive cosmetic procedures performed in 2012.
A changing demographic
When Rogne, a licensed aesthetician, started administering Botox more than 10 years ago, her patients were mostly women in their 50s. Now, she sees people in their late 20s and early 30s getting Botox at the Fargo skin clinic. Rogne, 40, started Botox at age 30.
“It’s because they’re educated, and they know it’s a very preventative thing. We’ve gone from the days of correction in older people to prevention,” Rogne says.
To explain how Botox works to prevent wrinkles, Rogne uses an analogy of putting a cast on an arm. Once Botox is injected into muscles, they can’t flex to create a crease, just like a muscle in a cast can’t flex.
Botox is FDA-approved to treat wrinkles between the brows (also called the “11s”) and crow’s feet. Although there are legal “off-label” areas of the face Botox can be injected, it’s primarily used for the upper third of the face.
While most of Rejuv’s Botox patients are women, Rogne sees some male patients. Women still greatly outnumber men in Botox use. Up 8 percent from 2011, 5.7 million women got Botox in 2012, compared to 390,000 men (up 7 percent from 2011), according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Dr. Sue Mathison of Catalyst Medical Center in Fargo says most of her Botox patients are women, and about 7 percent are men. If she didn’t have surgical duties, Mathison says her entire schedule would be filled with Botox appointments.
“It’s become fairly mainstream. We’re starting to see that wave of more people doing it and more people talking about it,” she says.
Like Rejuv’s Rogne, Mathison says the overall demographic has broadened. She treats a small percentage of people in their late 20s who are starting Botox to prevent wrinkles. But Mathison emphasizes that Botox is a choice, and no one “needs” it.
“I’m quick to say, ‘You’re totally fine. You don’t absolutely need this,’ but if they are interested in prevention, then we’ll talk about it,” she says. “If it’s the right decision for them, we’ll go forward.”
The injections, done with a thin needle, take about five minutes and typically aren’t painful. The injection sites might have a little redness after the procedure, but Dr. Yulia Khan of Sanford Health says it disappears within a few hours. Occasionally, a blood vessel under the skin can be injured and it’ll bruise, but usually, people can go back to their daily activities right after the treatment.
It takes about two weeks to see the whole effect of the Botox, and it lasts three to four months, Khan says.
“It’s not going to change the facial structure, it’s just going to make your facial expression a little bit different, a little bit more youthful,” she says. “I think it’s becoming more and more popular because people hear about it. It’s an easy procedure, so that’s why people venture into it.”
‘Past the judgment’
Compared to 10 years ago, people are more accepting of Botox, even if they choose not to do it themselves, Catalyst’s Mathison says.
“I think we’ve gotten past the judgment. If somebody makes a choice that makes them feel better, we’re in a place locally and culturally where people are like, ‘Good for you,’ ” she says. “Some people get hooked on the word ‘toxin’ and choose not to use it – that’s totally fine.”
Rogne gauges Botox’s acceptance by how many people come to Rejuv through a referral.
“That tells me that people are comfortable talking about it,” she says. “I never thought I would see the day where we were doing 10 to 15 Botox patients in a day.”
With its popularity comes caution, though. “Botox parties” made popular by reality TV shows like “The Real Housewives of Orange County” show women coming together for a night of cocktails and Botox injections. The seemingly glamorous parties are risky, Rogne says.
“I’m totally against them. You wouldn’t go have a Pap smear party. I’ve seen where bacteria have been introduced because the needle wasn’t clean,” she says.
She says people might think of Botox differently than other medical procedures partly because of how it’s priced. Botox is usually priced her unit, and each unit, on average, costs between $10 and $12, Rogne says. One Botox treatment typically costs from $200 to $600, depending on the provider and number of units.
“People start to look at it as a product, not a service. Sometimes people think they’re just buying the material and don’t think about the application of it,” Rogne says. “At the end of the day, it is a medical treatment. You’re paying for skill, training and the facility.”
Questions to ask:
• Will it help me meet my goals? Not everyone is a candidate for Botox, Dr. Yulia Khan of Sanford Health says.
Since it doesn’t totally smooth deeply etched wrinkles, some people aren’t going to see the results they want with Botox. Khan encourages those people to seek other treatments rather than waste their money on Botox.
• How long have you been injecting Botox? Melissa Rogne, the director of Rejuv Skin & Laser Clinic in Fargo, says people who’ve been working with Botox a long time know that it’s “as much an art as a science.”
• How many times per week do you administer Botox?
• Where were you trained?
• Where was the Botox purchased? Some facilities cut costs by purchasing Botox from a source other than the manufacturer, and there might be different safety standards, Khan says.
• How was the Botox diluted? Botox comes to providers as a powder that should be reconstituted with sterile saline. It’s also important to note that because of this, a unit of Botox at one clinic can be different than a unit at another, Rogne says.
If a person chooses to have Botox treatments after researching and meeting with a qualified professional, Rogne says it can help them feel more confident.
“If it makes you feel good, you’re going to be better in all aspects of life,” she says. “That’s the bottom line.”
Readers can reach Forum reporter Anna G. Larson at (701) 241-5525