Too Young for Botox?

While preparing for a role in an upcoming episode of "Glee," 18-year-old pop star Charice Pempengco had Botox injections to look "fresh on camera."

Of the 5 million people in the U.S. who got Botox last year, almost 30 percent were under the age of 30.

How young is too young to go under the needle for such things?

CBS News Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton talked about the pros and cons of such treatments on younger people with "Early Show" co-anchor Harry Smith.

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While Ashton says she was a little surprised to hear about Charice, she's seeing this happen in her practice, as well, and not just with Botox, but with all types of cosmetic or aesthetic plastic surgery.

"It is infiltrating, pardon the pun, the younger age demographic and I think anytime you see 18-year-olds looking to cosmetic surgery, there is cause for concern," she said.

According to Ashton, the Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of Botox for cosmetic therapeutic medications for people 18-to-65. So, most reputable plastic surgeons will not consider it below age 18.

Looking at these numbers again, Ashton points out that Botox is "tremendously popular when you look at how it breaks down -- 0.2 percent of those who had Botox were actually in the 13 to 19-year-old age group -- oviously, outside the FDA indication. About 26 percent were in their twenties. So, again, this adds up to about 27 percent; it's huge chunk of the Botox users are quite young."

How do we account for the increase?

"Well, listen, I think that, when you talk about Botox, it can be very helpful for certain people in reducing fine lines. There is a sweeping trend kind of an undercurrent thinking that, if you hit those wrinkle areas before they actually have time to form, you're literally preventing wrinkling, which is one part of the aging process," she explained.

Are there any long-term benefits for people who would do this at an early age?

"There aren't thought to be in terms of medical long-term side effects or consequences right now, and it is thought to be safe both for cosmetic use and therapeutic use," Ashton said.

"I think the greater concern here is when you talk about teenagers or younger women in their 20s really seeking to prevent the signs of aging, you have to ask yourselves what is their definition of beauty, and I think we need to be teaching our teenagers that beauty comes from within, as does health. It's not always so superficial."

"Aren't you more beautiful at 30 than you are at 18 usually?" Smith asked.

"And 40 better than 30 and 50 better than 40," Ashton added.

While Botox has become more commonplace, there are some things to consider when getting the injections.

"This procedure, like any, has its known side effects and basically, you can have a droop of the nerve, usually when it's given on the upper forehead," Ashton pointed out. "If it's not given properly, it can cause your eyelid to droop. There can be some bruising at the area. So with anything, you want to go to someone who knows what they're doing."

But, she added, the "Do this now so I don't have to do it later" mentality may not be a good idea for some. There are some warning signs when a Botox injection hasn't turned out right.

"Again, if one eyelid is closed, that's probably a bad sign," she said. "But we have to remember there are people who should not consider using it and obviously pregnant women, women who are breast feeding and those prone to neurologic conditions should stay clear of Botox and recognize their inner beauty."
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