March 12, 2012 -- In a society that has become obsessed with youth, there is a growing trend of young women, many still in their 20s, taking dramatic and expensive measures to stop the signs of aging before they happen with non-surgical treatments.
Preventive Botox injections and costly thermage, a hot radio frequency treatment that tightens and lifts skin that is all the rage among celebrities, are the latest cosmetic procedures used to stop crows feet in their tracks.
Starting early is one of the top tips Dr. Debra Jaliman, a dermatologist on New York City's tony Fifth Avenue, offers in her new book, "Skin Rules." She often tells her young patients, if they ask, that the science is clear: Early engagement can stop the clock.
"If you know you're somebody who's going in the direction of cosmetics and you know that you're going to care about lines, then I say it's better to do it earlier than to wait and do it once these lines have etched into the skin," Jaliman said. "So if you're in your 20s and you start to see lines coming, then why not do it early and prevent it? And to me it's just like exercise."
However, Jaliman also offers less costly, basic advice for any young woman who is looking to fend off the signs of aging. At the top of the list is getting enough sleep and eating right.
"I can't tell you all the people who come to me to correct problems they wouldn't have had if they followed those simple rules," Jaliman said. "They would save thousands of dollars if they did those simple things."
Most importantly, she says, young women should stay away from prolonged sun exposure and tanning beds.
"We know sun exposure is cumulative," Jaliman said. "Even five minutes a day is enough to give you cancer, but it's also enough to break down the collagen."
Thermage treatments jolt collagen under the skin into overdrive, causing the body to produce more, and firm up saggy areas. Patients get the nip-and-tucked look without the surgery, but it comes with a hefty price tag.
"It definitely tightens your skin. There's no downtime," Jaliman said. "But it is expensive. To do a whole face could be $3,500. So it's an expensive investment, so it's not for everybody. But I think it's a good investment."
Jane Curasco, one of Jaliman's patients, is a new mother and aspiring actress, with no overt need for any boosting or filling. She said she decided to make a substantial investment in stopping the aging clock at age 31. While her friends have tried lasers and microdermobrasion, Curasco said she was the only one to invest in thermage.
"I went on an audition recently and I was supposed to portray a young mother, which I am actually, but every young mother that went in looked 19 so I looked way older than the other people portraying what I actually am," Curasco said.
The dermatologist said thermage is so popular in her office that she has seen a new trend of patients who request it as a full body treatment, which costs a whopping $25,000. But if thermage is out of reach price-wise, patients can turn to preventive Botox.
Click HERE for more information about Dr. Debra Jaliman's book and to read more of her tips.Typically, single Botox injections start around $280 and go up from there, and according to American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Botox usage is up 10 percent among 20-29-year-olds in the past year. But Jaliman said she is not surprised.
"Botox has been around now for almost 20 years. We started using it in the 1990s. It got FDA approval in the early 2000s," she said. "It's relatively painless. It's quick. It's easy. It's an office visit. It doesn't require any surgery. So many people are willing to do it."
Katy DeMayo was just 28, with wedding bells ringing in her future, when she said she decided to try Botox. Before getting engaged, DeMayo said she never had any intention of indulging in cosmetic procedures.
"When you are 25 you have that mentality that it's never going to happen to me. I'll always look this great. I won't be one of those people that does that. And then it happens. Wrinkles appear," she said.
Just a month before her wedding day, DeMayo said she wanted her face to have that "extra perk" and to look "sparklier" for her pictures, so she got Botox injections.
She was so thrilled with the results, she said, that she continues to go back to the doctor once a year for maintenance. However, like many young Botox users, DeMayo wasn't that eager to go public about it. She said before this interview, she hadn't even told her husband she was getting Botox.
"I'm not going to look like I'm 25 years old, but if I'm 35 and I can look 30, or if I'm 45 I can look 40, I think that's worth something," DeMayo said.