Botox has always been targeted at over-50-year-old women since its inception 30 years ago. They, after all, have the wrinkles that botulinum toxin injections temporarily smooth by ‘freezing’ the face.

But a new trend for ‘Baby Botox’ promises something very different: a face that never gets wrinkles at all. You have to begin injections as early as your 20s.

‘People think they don’t need Botox until they’re 50,’ says Ana Sakinyte, an aesthetics practitioner who calls herself the Queen of Youth. ‘But by then it’s often too late to get the results they want.

‘Botox is injected into the superficial layer of the muscle and relaxes it. That stops the muscle contracting, so it doesn’t create a line — but it doesn’t do anything to erase deep wrinkles [that you already have]. That’s why it’s so good to start early.’

Radhika Sanghani investigated the risks associated with starting Botox in your twenties. Pictured: Kate Thompson, who has been having Botox since age 25

Radhika Singani examined the potential risks of Botox starting in your twenties. Pictured: Kate Thompson, who has been having Botox since age 25

In other words, although Botox can smooth small existing wrinkles, especially the kind caused by muscle movement when you smile or squint, it can’t fill out or smooth away deeper lines.

Ms Sakinyte recommends that people start at the age of 25, when what you’re freezing is already smooth.

‘I know society thinks “my gosh, they’re too young”, but I advise starting with smaller doses to stop the wrinkles ever appearing. I’m 37 and have been having Botox for a decade every four to five months, and I haven’t got lines. What you’re doing is freezing time.’

In the past year, the Botox industry has been booming — the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) says there has been a 70 per cent increase in requests for consultations, with Botox accounting for half of all procedures — and the market is getting younger.

According to Ms Sakinyte, she is seeing more women in her 20s and 30s while patients who are in their 50s or 60s bring their daughters.

It works, but is it reliable? But is it safe? Who are these women who pay thousands to get back-to-back injections starting in their 20s?

Kate Thompson (now 38) was just 25 when Botox began. She was a Leeds-based married mother to two children and noticed some lines around her eyes. They were getting worse, and she wanted to stop them from becoming more.

So despite the protestations of her parents and her husband Edward, Kate, founder of The Kindr Company, began having treatments at a cost of £150 per eye. Thirteen years on, she estimates she has spent £5,000 on Botox.

Karolina Kotlowska, 28, (pictured) who lives in Northampton, had been spending £100 a month on creams to prevent wrinkles before starting her Botox treatment four months ago

Karolina Kotlowska, 28, (pictured) who lives in Northampton, had been spending £100 a month on creams to prevent wrinkles before starting her Botox treatment four months ago

‘You can’t put a price on how you feel,’ she says. ‘I think the fact I’ve had it regularly for all these years means the lines haven’t become as deep as they would have done.

‘In the past two years, I’ve been having it on my forehead as well as around my eyes and I can still move my face fully.

‘I think I probably look my age now, rather than tired or older than I should. I’m so glad I started early.’

Indeed, Kate is so pleased with her ‘preventative Botox’, she thinks she should have started injections at the very start of her 20s.

Karolina Koloski, 28 years old, began Botox treatments four months ago. She was with Ms Sakinyte.

‘Initially, I wasn’t a fan of Botox,’ she says. ‘I thought it was for people who already have a lot of wrinkles. But when my friend told me she’d been getting it since she was 27, I decided to have a consultation because I wanted to look good for my best friend’s wedding in Portugal, where I’d be maid of honour.’

Until then Karolina, a financial services investigator living in Northampton, had been trying to prevent her wrinkles with creams, which cost her £100 a month, and fortnightly anti-ageing facials at £60 each. Her Botox costs £250 for three areas, and she has it two to three times a year.

Stina Sanders, 30, (pictured), who started Botox four months ago, said everyone told her she didn't need it including the doctor but she could see tiny lines appearing on her forehead

Stina Sanders (pictured), 30, started Botox four years ago. Although everyone said she wasn’t needed it, even the doctor, she was able to see small lines in her forehead.

‘I don’t mind the cost because it actually works — and it’s just like going to the hairdresser once every couple of months,’ she says. ‘It’s a great way of delaying the ageing process.’

The subtle results weren’t noticeable to her friends and family but for Karolina, they were a big confidence boost. She acknowledges the role played by social media in her decision — indeed, it seems likely the desire to project a ‘perfect’ self-image on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook is a big driver of the twentysomething Botox trend.

‘Before, I was putting on lots of make-up and using filters on social media to look good,’ says Karolina. ‘Now I’ve had the Botox, I’m happy posting natural photos, even without make-up.’

However, practitioners disagree on whether Botox is a wise treatment for such an advanced age.

The Thérapie Clinic, which has practices throughout the UK, advises people at the end of their 20s to try it. ‘If Botox is injected during the initial stages of fine lines, it will help to stop them in their tracks,’ the clinic’s website states.

However, other physicians warn that it can be dangerous and could alter the appearance of your face.

Botox is acknowledged by Dr Jonquille Chantrey who is also a surgeon. She stresses the risks associated with Botox and the potential side effects, particularly for the forehead.

‘A very light dosing can gently soften some existing lines,’ she says. ‘However, if the same doses are given routinely in the main areas without really looking at the face as a whole, it can create a heaviness of the eyebrow if you use your face muscles a lot.

Karolina (pictured) said she was putting on lots of make-up and using filters on social media to look good, before starting her Botox treatment

Karolina (pictured), said that she used filters and a lot of makeup on social media before beginning her Botox treatment. 

‘It may not happen in the first few years but, down the line, it can lead to people looking heavy or pinched, and create an earlier frown descent.’

In her 20s, she advises that people try alternative forms of anti-ageing such as vitamin C or retinol. ‘Many injectors might say everyone should do it, but are they thinking about the best interest of the patient in the mid- to long-term or are their motives financial?’ she asks.

‘There could be financial, mental and physical side-effects, such as making people more self-conscious about other features. And physically, it could create a mid-term effect where you might need to have other treatments.’

People may become used to the appearance of their eyes and forehead looking younger. They might then seek other treatments for other areas or parts of their face.

Stina Sanders, aged 30, started Botox four years ago. ‘Everyone said I didn’t need it, even the doctor,’ she says. ‘But I could see really tiny horizontal lines starting to appear on my forehead. You have a choice to either embrace ageing or not — and I decided I didn’t want to.’

Stina is a psychotherapist, author and visited Dr Maryam Zamani, an oculoplastic doctor in Chelsea West London to receive her first Botox injections.

‘She felt I could still wait a few years, but I wanted to stop more lines forming on my forehead. So she put some Botox in and now those lines have completely gone and won’t increase.

‘I’m so glad I’ve started at 30, rather than waiting. This is an option. I will do my best to prevent wrinkles from forming elsewhere.

Stina (pictured) admits she didn't like her appearance in the mirror and thought she looked dehydrated before starting Botox

Stina (pictured), admits that she was unhappy with her look in the mirror before she started Botox.

‘Botox used to be so medical and taboo but now it just feels like getting your hair dyed or going to the dentist.’

Stina has a similar story to Karolina. She is conscious that social media pressures influenced her decision for Botox.

‘It’s the selfie culture,’ she says. ‘I’m so used to looking at myself up close, I didn’t like it when I’d catch myself in the mirror and I looked dehydrated. Now, when I see myself in the mirror I feel shinier. I look glowy, like I’ve had a face mask.’

Botox can cause skin to thinning, as Dr Zamani points out.

‘My ethos is “less is more” and that it is best to wait until you have faint lines or wrinkles caused by dynamic movement to treat with neuromodulators [wrinkle-relaxing injections such as Botox],’ she says.

‘The reason for this is that constant suppression of movement may cause atrophy of the muscles injected. For instance, contact treatment on the forehead can atrophy the frontalis muscle over time and make the skin look thinner, so it’s best to wait until you have a faint line or wrinkle to treat.’

However, many young women aren’t planning to quit.

Kate Thompson inspired friends to have Botox. ‘It feels so normal now,’ she says. ‘We all talk about it the same way we talk about getting our nails done. The thought of getting it done for ever doesn’t bother me.’

Stina still hopes she doesn’t become addicted to Botox treatments. ‘I don’t want the overdone look,’ she says. ‘As much as it has become normalised, we need to be careful and aware of the dangers.

‘I think I’ll do it long-term but I don’t want to become a pin-cushion. You won’t look overdone when you reach 50 and 60 by making lighter adjustments now. Maybe I’ll stop and go natural then — or maybe I won’t.’