The craze for being beautiful and young is reaching new heights in the USA. Young women between the ages of 18 and early 20 want to stay wrinkle-free with “Baby Botox”. Doctors and psychologists see this trend as a danger.

Generation Z’s panic about getting older: A “baby Botox” boom is currently making headlines in the USA. This is not about Botox for real babies. But out of fear of later facial wrinkles, more and more young American women between the ages of 18 and early 20 are getting Botox injections in mini doses.

According to the annual report of the Association of US Cosmetic Surgeons, the number of people under 30 who rely on the muscle-paralyzing neurotoxin to prevent wrinkles has multiplied. The number of 19-year-old Botox customers has grown by 75 percent in recent years. The forecast: The trend should continue to rise. According to surveys by the Plastic Surgeons Association, 80 percent of all cosmetic surgeons expect increasing numbers of patients in their 20s and 30s.

Just a few months ago, the term “Sephora Kids” caused a stir: according to US economic reports, primary school-aged children and young teenagers spent around $15 million at the cosmetics giant Sephora alone in 2023 – the majority of it on anti-aging creams.

Now they’re interested in Botox: The Hashtag

“No, this is not Botox for babies,” said doctor and TikTok influencer Emily Long in a video clip, explaining: It’s about “preventative” Botox for young people. “Instead of using a full dose of Botox, you use much smaller amounts, perhaps a third of a normal dosage, so that patients can still move their face. So they don’t completely freeze. It is intended to prevent wrinkles from forming in the first place.”

Her patients are also getting younger every year, dermatologist Shereene Idriss confirmed on the US broadcaster CNN: “They come to me without any wrinkles on their faces. They come because they are afraid of getting older.” The US health authority approves Botox from the age of 18. But Idriss only treats patients with preventive Botox from the age of 21, she says – unless someone has unusually strong, noticeable facial wrinkles at a younger age.

Experts attribute the extreme demand for Botox among Generation Z (born between 1996 and 2010) to social media and its unrealistic beauty filters. Many users spend countless hours every day on social networks from an early age. One of the possible consequences: unhealthy hyperfocus on beauty, appearance and wrinkle-free skin.

More and more teenagers are celebrating their evening anti-aging cosmetic rituals on social media apps as “self-care”. From the age of 20, many people see Botox and hyaluronic acid injections as the next logical step, which they are open to. In many parts of the USA, Botox and fillers in the lips, cheeks or chin are now something completely normal and no longer a taboo topic – for many people it is almost comparable to a visit to the hairdresser or a pedicure.

Psychologists are sounding the alarm. The pressure to always look perfect can have devastating consequences for self-esteem – especially among young girls, they warn. “Social media is exacerbating the mental health crisis among young people by bombarding teenagers with unattainable ideas of beauty. AI filters are making things even worse,” says psychologist Nicolette Leanza on the parenting portal “Motherly”. This makes many feel unattractive and causes them to develop mental disorders such as depression.

Dermatologists also warn: Too much Botox too early can lead to a vicious circle and even skin aging. “If you have a lot of Botox injected into your forehead over the years, your muscles will become weaker and weaker,” explained dermatologist Patricia Wexler in Vogue magazine. Expression wrinkles could appear in other places on the face – such as on the sides of the nose. “Then you always need more Botox later.”

Such warnings hardly seem to make any impression. More and more 20-year-olds are posting that Botox treatments make them feel more confident. TikTok user @hayleejoe has also been saying this in a video since her 21st birthday: “I get Botox injections every four months and love it.” Other users are more critical: “I think it’s bad,” says TikToker Matilda. “Now women at 40 should look like they are 20 to 29 forever. The period in which they can enjoy their old age is becoming smaller and smaller. When can we just relax? The answer is probably: never again.”