March 29, 2007 — -- What would make most women older than 40 shake their heads in disbelief? Perhaps a 20-something woman getting Botox.
Young women, even those in their teens, are increasingly demanding cosmetic procedures to prevent looking older. Afraid to age, they urge plastic surgeons to treat them like they treat their decades-older counterparts.
Ashley Lavanty, 22, started getting Botox injections at 21.
"I don't have any wrinkles but the reason I want to do it is to prevent them from forming to avoid later surgery," she said. "My plastic surgeon said I really didn't need it. He didn't see the point in doing it, but … he did it because I insisted."
Lavanty is not alone. Many doctors say there has been a rise in the number of women younger than 35 rushing in for nonsurgical treatments.
"There are aspects of getting older that are appealing to me. You gain in experience and knowledge, and I want to get older," Lavanty said. "I just don't want to look older."
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, last year people age 19 to 34 accounted for nearly 20 percent of nonsurgical procedures such as Botox and chemical peels, and 28 percent of women age 18 to 24 said they would seriously consider getting cosmetic surgery now or in the future.
"There's more pressure than ever to, to look young, to look perfect," said Evelyn Crowley, assistant editor of W magazine, which recently covered the issue of younger women getting plastic surgery.
"The accessibility of treatments like Botox and Restylane. … You can go to a day spa and get it. It's like going into a Starbucks or something. … It's just everywhere," Crowley said.
Lavanty said she wanted to hold onto the youthful looks of her 20s.
"I so often hear from women in their 40s and 50s saying, 'Oh, to be 20 again!,'" she said. "You know, that kind of made me realize I want to preserve it."
While the appropriateness for young women getting plastic surgery remains in question, some believe the benefits are real.