When Latinxs Should Start Botox, According to a Dermatologist

The beauty industry is booming with new solutions that promise to defy aging, but one segment that has seen an uptick among Latinx consumers specifically in recent years is injectables. Whether it's Botox or fillers, Latinas are booking sessions and procedures unapologetically — and earlier than ever before.

"It's becoming much more acceptable to do a little wrinkle prevention, whether it's by way of Botox and fillers, in the Latino community," board-certified dermatologist Alicia Barba, MD, tells POPSUGAR.

Dr. Barba is based in Miami with a clientele that is nearly 80 percent Latina and women of color. It's no surprise, seeing as her practice is in one of the US cities with the highest population of Latinx communities. Still, in her 15 years in the field, she has witnessed more acceptance of beauty injectables today than ever before. "I have mothers who come in and then bring their daughters when they're 25 and 30 years old because they want them to start doing some treatment as a preventative mechanism," Dr. Barba says.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) estimated that 22 percent of the total cosmetic procedures in 2011 were performed in nonwhite groups and 50 percent of this group was comprised of Latina women. ASPS also found that Latinx patients represent the largest and fastest-growing cosmetic group in 2013. However, the Cosmetic Plastic Demographic Trends from the 2020 Plastic Surgery Statistics Report showed a 4 percent decrease in cosmetic procedures, including Botox and fillers, among Latinxs between 2019 and 2020.

If you're Latinx and thinking about trying Botox or fillers for the first time, there are a few things to keep in mind. Most noticeably, a study conducted by UCLA researchers found that Latinxs actually age more slowly than people of other ethnicities at the molecular level. Scientists call this the "Hispanic paradox," because despite being disproportionately impacted by diabetes and other diseases, Latinxs are living longer than their white counterparts. Understanding why could help scientists discover how to slow the aging process for everyone. This study could also mean that Latinxs may have more time to contemplate whether beauty injectables like Botox and fillers are the right decision for them.

But if you're ready to start today, first you'll want to learn about the product before facing a needle. "Botox is a microscopic protein that just relaxes muscles that cause permanent wrinkles." Dr. Barba says. "We inject it between the eyebrows and around the eyes to avoid that constant creasing of the skin, the muscular movement that over time causes permanent indentations in the skin.

It's important to be careful about selecting a reputable practice or clinic because a cheaper procedure today may mean managing more expensive complications tomorrow. Injecting off-label products can lead to serious injury, including long-term pain, infection, permanent scarring or disfigurement, and even death. The FDA also warns against buying or using lip or facial fillers sold directly to consumers. These products may be contaminated with chemicals and infectious organisms, and are not FDA-approved.

Just as important as when you start is educating yourself before: research the products and, more importantly, the dermatologist ahead of time. Make sure you're seeing a certified dermatologist or physician, read patient reviews, and ask your doctor about their approach to your overall care because it could be the beginning of a long-term and costly relationship.

According to Dr. Barba, injectables can work wonderfully if approached in a certified, physician-approved way. Whether you start treatments in your 20s or 50s — it doesn't matter, as long as you manage your expectations.

She advises clients that "the best time to get Botox is when you are starting to see wrinkles." At the same time, she thinks we should all ignore the naysayers who suggest that once you begin seeing more permanent wrinkles — like the "11" between your eyebrows — you've waited too long.

"I don't try to create that type of anxiety," Dr. Barba says. "I believe that when you're ready, it's the right time to start to do it. It's when you're ready. When you feel safe, and you're ready to start."

So, is it ever too late for Latinas to start beauty injectables? Dr. Barba says it could be if you're starting your beauty injectables journey at 70 and want a miracle. Here's her advice: "Don't buy into this thing that there's a moment that you have to start doing it in your 20s so that when you're 50 you look great. You might look better at 50 if you started at 35 than if you start at 50, but we don't know when that magic number is — so I wouldn't get caught up in that and let it create anxiety."