With millennials and the younger Gen Z growing up with selfie culture and cosmetic treatments being more openly discussed, it’s only natural that prospective patients are curious about their medical aesthetic options at an even younger age. But with Botox being suggested to those in their early 20s and a 17-year-old celebrity’s lip filler “confession” leading to a 70% increase in inquiries in the U.K. alone, it raises the question of how young is too young for cosmetic treatments?
According to United States law, there’s no legal age a patient must be to receive a cosmetic treatment. However, those under 18 years old require express written consent from their legal parent or guardian prior to treatment.
Last year in the U.S., cosmetic procedure patients aged 13 to 19 years old made up the smallest demographic (40- to 54-year-olds are still the largest demographic), accounting for 229,000 cosmetic procedures, 66,000 of which were surgical and 163,000 minimally-invasive, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ 2017 report. The most popular cosmetic surgeries among this demographic in 2017 were rhinoplasty, breast augmentation, breast reduction in males, otoplasty (ear shaping), and liposuction. The most popular minimally-invasive treatments were laser hair removal, laser skin resurfacing, Botox, laser treatment of leg veins, and microdermabrasion. As an added note, the number of procedures performed on teenage patients remains fairly steady despite the increase in interest.
Of course, these statistics don’t offer insight into why these patients sought treatment, which will also be a consideration when choosing to treat a younger patient. As always, procedures may be treated as rehabilitative (i.e., to improve daily function, such as a breast reduction to deter back pain) or cosmetic (i.e., to improve aesthetics and self-image, such as otoplasty to deter bullying).
Depending on the purpose of the procedure, there may be treatments that are less well suited for patients of a younger age. Most often, invasive procedures in teens are discouraged, particularly liposuction or breast augmentation, while others may be ideal for a younger patient, such as ear shaping or rhinoplasty. There are two reasons for this:
In the end, the case for each and every patient, regardless of their age, varies. Generally speaking, whenever circumstances permit, non-invasive options should be preferred and invasive procedures deferred until the patient is at least in their 20s.
Here are some additional tips to ensure you’re ethically and effectively treating young patients for positive treatment outcomes:
With an appropriate consultation procedure in place that prioritizes ethics and informed consent while taking into account the prospective patient’s unique needs and circumstances, treating younger patients can be a point of pride for your clinic.
Looking to invest in cutting-edge non-invasive devices that better suit this growing demographic’s needs as well as those of your older patients? Contact a Venus Concept expert to learn about our workstation options and our unique business model that prioritizes your success above all else.