9 Women On Why They Got Botox In Their 20s — & Keep Getting It

Design: Assa Ariyoshi.
There's a long list of things we're still not "supposed" to talk about. Politics. Religion. Salary. Smoking weed. Miscarriage. Some even bristle at being asked "what do you do?" too early in the dating game. And in the beauty world, the taboo topics are plastic surgery and injectables, despite the fact that in 2015, more than 6.7 million Botox procedures were performed, making it the most popular non-surgical treatment.

Even more taboo in certain circles? Getting Botox when you're in your 20s. But it's more common than you think: According to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 64% of plastic surgeons saw an increase in the under-30 crowd getting aesthetic procedures. Though there are plenty of reasons women go in for Botox — migraines, excessive sweating, depression — the early prevention of aging, a benefit touted by many derms, seems to be the most prevalent.

We're looking forward to the day when a celebrity can get her lips done without making national news, when no one labels a woman superficial for having breast implants, and when we don't have to wonder if the reason we didn't get asked out on a second date is because we revealed our forehead is frozen — but we're not there yet.

That's why we asked nine women — all outside of the hyper-image-focused fields of beauty and fashion, and all who paid for it with their own hard-earned cash — to share the reasons behind their decision to get Botox in their 20s, the reactions of their friends and family, and the cost of maintaining the results, which varies depending on city and potential insurance coverage. Stigma be gone — let's talk about Botox, baby.
1 of 10
Alissa
Current Age: 30
First Injection: 29
Job: regional director at a tech startup in Jersey City, NJ

"I squint a lot, especially working at a computer all day, and get some very angry '11' lines between my eyebrows. I noticed they were showing up in photos, so I started researching how I could get rid of them. I found a fantastic plastic surgeon in the West Village who had a no-pressure approach and made me feel comfortable.

"I was nervous about any unpredictable side effects, but I was really excited about the idea of being able to get rid of the wrinkles. I told some close friends and my fiancé and they all reacted favorably.

"After a few days, I slowly stopped being able to furrow my brow as much and it was awesome to watch the day-by-day progress. The 11 lines were practically gone in 5 days — MAGIC!

"I have continued to get Botox. I pay around $17 per unit and need a full 20-24 units to see the full effect in my brow area, so around $350-400.

"I think there's definitely still a stigma about Botox in general, but mostly because people haven't done the research and the concept is still associated with overly-plastic-looking women. Sharing a bit of information about the true nature of the procedure, and the way it interacts with your body, usually helps people get more comfortable, but it's also kind of fun to see the shock value of saying 'I'm already getting Botox.'"
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Lindsey
Current Age: 27
First Injection: 24
Job: co-founder and photographer at Vibe Tribe Creative in Boulder, CO

"Having picked up my first real camera at the age of 13, it's no surprise that a decade later, I had the squint lines to prove it. Particularly in the middle of my forehead; I really began to notice a very deep vertical line when I would laugh in photos that was far more noticeable than most women my age. My aunt specializes in Botox and because there was so much trust there, I allowed her to inject me the first time. I moved cities, so now I spend around $200 getting it every three to four months.

"I can confidently say that it was a decision I truly made for myself. I feel amazing and was in shock with how quick and painless it was. I'm a pretty open book, so my closest friends and family knew. Some of them were surprised, but those closest to me knew that this was something that completely transformed how I felt on the inside.

"[Botox makes] even small things, like doing your makeup, so much more fun. I also noticed less breakouts on my forehead under periods of stress, which was great. So many people are scared of the word Botox, assuming that the result is always extreme. To me, good Botox is noticed only by the one who is getting it."
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Sarah
Current Age: 33
First Injection: 27
Job: chief of staff, NYS Assembly, in NYC

"I've had migraines, some extremely debilitating, most of my life. So having a viable, new, FDA-approved treatment, especially one that didn't involve taking pills daily, made me so excited. I was willing to share it with everyone who had known about my previous struggles. A friend joked, 'Wait, so you'll get rid of migraines AND never get wrinkles?'

"For awhile, I was asking the doctor not to inject in certain places on my forehead because it made me unable to visibly react to things (like not being able to raise my eyebrows), but my feelings about that and the treatment injection sites have changed over time — so I just do what's best for both.

"The results are so worth it; I get it every three months. Because of the documented history of migraines and other failed treatments, insurance pays for it, minus my appointment co-pay."
4 of 10
Reilly
Current Age: 26
First Injection: 23
Job: sales executive in Newport Beach, CA

"I have very animated facial expressions, paired with hyperactive forehead muscles, so a mini Grand Canyon started to appear across my forehead at a young age. I was so tired of downloading photo editing and beautifying apps to hide my forehead wrinkles, and was so self-conscious that I didn’t even like being in other people's photos. Once my dermatologist (who I’ve been going to for 20 years) confirmed that I had the forehead of a 40-year-old woman, I knew it was time.

"I was nervous about what people might think, but I was so excited to finally have a forehead that looked my age. I told my best girl friends, and eventually the guy I was dating. He grew up in Orange County where he developed a negative perception of the treatment, but once I explained my hyperactive forehead muscles and that it’s preventative — so I could look fabulous when I’m older — he was actually pretty supportive.

"I can’t imagine going back to the days of deep creases and beautifying apps. I go about every four or five months and spend about $225-$275."
5 of 10
Anna
Current Age: 33
First Injection: 27
Job: freelance writer living in Brooklyn, NY

"I've always worked in magazine editorial, so it is an image-focused industry even though I've always been on the features side [rather than beauty or fashion]. But I think of Botox as relatively preventative. I'm pretty low-maintenance otherwise, so I think people are surprised.

"Unfortunately, I absolutely believe that even though it's a double standard, seeming relatively ageless is important if you're a woman. I am not afraid of aging, but I also do not want to be more wrinkled than my peers a few decades down the line. I just get it done twice a year and I pay $400 per time."
6 of 10
Amanda
Current Age: 26
First Injection: 26
Job: public relations associate in Venice, CA

"I had been staring at the lines on my forehead for a year, so I decided to finally do something about it. I made my mom come with me and I asked the doctor a million questions. I researched a ton and read horror stories about people's eyes drooping down afterwards, but I decided that the reward would be greater than the risk.

"I was surprised at how fast and easy it was — and I loved how there is virtually no recovery time. I got more compliments on my skin from people after. I waited six months before my second appointment and I got a very minimal amount both times (I paid a little over $200), so I wouldn't say I'm addicted to it or serious about maintaining it.

"The only people that know are my mom, my dad, and my best friend [who also gets it], and they're all really supportive. I'm not open about it with my friends yet because I think that I'm the only one who has gotten it. Once other people admit to it, I'll be more open about it, but for now it's my little secret."
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7 of 10
Emily
Current Age: 25
First Injection: 22
Job: social media director for a non-profit organization in Tel Aviv, Israel

"I got Botox because I want to avoid needing to do wrinkle reversal when I'm older. I don't want to be one of those people that overdoes plastic surgery and aesthetic treatments.

"Surprisingly, all the doctors I went to weren't surprised at all and gave me an honest consultation. When I discussed getting preventative Botox in another area of my face, they actually said 'no way.' So I think the most important thing is that you have a good doctor who is honest and whom you trust.

"I felt great about [the decision]. The injections hurt, of course, but I was extremely happy after the fact. It made my skin brighter and healthier-looking, it wasn't too expensive, and it made my headaches go away.

"I get 10-12 units every three to six months. Because I live overseas now, it's a lot more expensive, but I've done it in three countries. In Los Angeles, it cost about $150. In London, it was 200 pounds [$250], and in Israel, it was about $300."
8 of 10
Jaime
Current Age: 30
First Injection: 27
Job: attorney in Los Angeles, CA

"I had complained to my mom a few times about having a line on my forehead. She, being a physician who has never used Botox herself or gotten any other plastic surgery, thought it would be a good idea for preventative measures before any significant wrinkles set in.
I felt good about the decision because I did a lot of research prior and talked to people who got it and saw how great they looked.

"I'm pretty open about it and have told everyone — my parents, friends, coworkers. In L.A., it's a pretty common occurrence for girls my age to use Botox. But I didn't tell my boyfriend at first, and he was surprised when someone mentioned my Botox in passing because he didn't think I would be the type to get 'plastic surgery.' But after I explained what it is and how it works, he didn't think much of it.

"There is nothing like the virgin Botox glow. I remember being so excited when it kicked in a few days after my first treatment! I don't see as pronounced of a difference now as when I get treated, but I have a completely wrinkle-free forehead and brow. I get a pretty reasonable amount — 30 units total on my brow lines and forehead — so I still have movement and look natural. I used to have a fierce 'resting bitch face' scowl when reading or concentrating, but my muscles are now trained to not make those pronounced faces that were creating wrinkles, which is great."

"I go every four to five months and will likely continue until there is some reason medically it's not advised (for example, during pregnancy or breastfeeding). I spend about $300 per visit ($10/unit, which is a great deal)."
9 of 10
Natalie
Current Age: 28
First Injection: 26
Job: freelance writer in Brooklyn, NY

"I didn't search Botox out; it sort of fell in my lap. My friend, a nurse making the brave transition to the noble field of aesthetics, needed a guinea pig to log training hours. Once I heard it was preventative, too, I decided to stick with it.

"I kept it a secret for the first year. Now I'm like, 'Fuck it, I get Botox.' It makes my skin seem smoother and I love the idea of less wrinkles as I get older, which is happening as of, like, now, so I get it every three to four months and spend about $180 each time."
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