Can our favorite gadgets be making us look older?
Plastic surgeons said they are seeing younger patients coming in for Botox to get rid of wrinkles. Some doctors said the wrinkles are caused by constant squinting and facial muscle use associated with technology use.
We’ve just become more connected, and we’re using those devices more and more, and we’re overusing those muscles. So, I think we are seeing more and more patients that are more concerned about those hyperanimated lines that are developing,” said plastic surgeon Dr. Richard Chaffoo.
Ellie Caston, 24, is one of those patients.
“I definitely think it’s from being on the phone all the time, squinting on Facebook, text messaging, emails,” she said.
But San Diego plastic surgeon Dr. Munish Batra said he hasn’t seen good evidence to show smartphones or electronics are causing early aging.
“There are people in their late 20s who do have premature signs of aging, where Botox can be useful. But I don’t think it’s wise to necessarily promote it to a demographic that really doesn’t have the signs of aging or sun damage,” Batra said.
He said he believes the whole idea of promoting Botox for smartphone-related wrinkles may be driven by finances.
“The whole notion of the BlackBerry Botox is to go after this younger patient group,” Batra said. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons said it does not do research into the reasons why people get specific procedures. However, it recently released statistics that show there was an 11 percent jump in Botox treatments done on women ages 20 to 29 from 2009 to 2010.
Chaffoo said he warns his patients that it’s not a permanent fix and not for everyone.
“You have to be cautious, and you have to give people all the options that are out there,” he said. “You can take a medication like Botox and inject it into anybody and probably not get ill consequences, but the question is: is it the right thing to do?” questioned Batra.
Caston said she has no regrets.
“I’m very happy with the results. I think it did a good job. I’m glad I did it,” she said.