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New Trend Shows More Teens Are Getting Botox

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It seems kind of backwards for people under 18 to get procedures to look young, but a new trend shows that teens are getting into the Botox craze to fight the signs of aging.

"I wanted to be cute, to look cute, but I had these ugly lines in between my eyebrows and on my forehead," says Stephanie Torres, 19, tells MSNBC. "So I asked if I could get Botox. My mom paid for it. It was like a little birthday present."

Dubbed the "teen toxing trend," the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reported nearly 4,000 more Botox procedures performed on patients 18 and under in 2009 than recorded in 2008. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons also reported a 2 percent increase in Botox procedures performed on patients ages 13 to 19 from 2008 to 2009.

Botox is the brand name for botulinum toxin, which is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. In big doses, the injectable can cause botulism, a paralyzing illness. But, when used cosmetically, the protein is diluted and used in small doses that weaken muscles, causing the youthful effect.
"I've heard from colleagues that kids are coming in with their moms and saying, 'Can I have Botox, too? I feel like I need it,'" says Dr. Mark Jewell, a plastic surgeon and rep for the Physician's Coalition for Injectable Safety. "Botox is a blockbuster of a product, but should a teenager be getting it? I think the answer is no."

What's your take on the Botox debate? Should teens be getting these procedures? Is it smart or stupid to try to ward off signs of aging before the age of 18? Would you do it? Let us know in the comments below.

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