Forever Young: 8 Year Old Gets Botox

MakenzieR on 24 Mar 2011 at 12:00am

Just when we thought moms couldn't get any crazier than those on "Toddlers and Tiaras"...

The Internets are ablaze with the story of an 8 year-old girl whose mother gives her Botox injections so she can become famous and successful. 

Kerry Campbell gives her daughter, Britney, injections on a regular basis to hide her "wrinkles" (do those exist in an 8 year old??) and prevent her from aging. She also takes her for a monthy "virgin wax," with the idea being she won't grow pubic hair when puberty hits. 

Britney admits in The Sun interview that all of this is painful and tear-inducing, but in the end she's happy because she feels like grown-up. 

If this story came out a week from now, I'd think this was an April Fools joke. It sounds more like something from The Onion, not The Sun. Sadly, it's all real. We hear more and more about young kids wanting to be the next Hannah Montana or--gasp--Britney Spears (or is that my 12 y/o fantasy?). And parents like Kerry will go to any length to make that dream come true. 

At RealSelf we try not to encourage or discourage anyone from having cosmetic procedures done. But we do encourage making educated decisions that are the right choice for you. What really troubles us here is that while Britney is happy with the outcome of these procedures, she didn't make the initial choice for herself

This story has spurred some controversy over the fact that while Botox is only FDA approved for adults over 18, it is not illegal for minors to use it too. This is a good thing because fillers like Botox are also used to treat migraines and excessive sweating--ailments to which teenagers are not immune. 

Kerry is within her legal right to allow her daughter to use Botox, and she's convinced it'll prevent her from aging and thus losing her celebrity. "I know one day she will be a model, actress or singer, and having these treatments now will ensure she stays looking younger and baby-faced for longer."

Is wrinkle-prevention even a valid reason for using Botox? The doctors on RealSelf are asked about this a lot, and opinions vary (but none of these statements are in relation to a patient this young):

The Yeses 

  • "In general, Botox works best in younger patients because it reverses the trend to frown unnecessarily. Over time, you can actually re-train those over-active muscles and prevent wrinkles. Often, I have seen patients put off Botox and fillers too long, and then these non-ablative, no-downtime measures are inadequate to effect a real change." - Mary Lupo, MD, New Orleans dermatologist
  • "It is best to start Botox before the wrinkles develop. The reasoning is that continued stress leads to dermal atrophy and breakdown of the structural integrity of the dermis (wrinkles). If you start Botox early, then you are decreasing the stress on the skin and, thus, helping to prevent wrinkles." - David Shafer, MD, New York plastic surgeon

The No's

  • "You should wait until you at least start to show a little crinkle (much smaller that a wrinkle) in your forehead." - Michael A. Persky, MD, Los Angeles facial plastic surgeon
  • "Worrying about aging will only contribute to aging...Receiving Botox when you have detected the first signs of wrinkling would be a more reasonable strategy than Botox as a preventive measure." - Bryan K. Chen, MD, San Diego dermatologist

The Don't You Dare! 

  • "If you have no wrinkles, leave yourself alone! They will come soon enough, and I don't think you can prevent them...My advice would be: Forget Botox, don't look in the mirror too much, and enjoy your youth. When you actually get lines or wrinkles that bother you, then Botox is a good thing." - George J. Beraka, MD, Manhattan plastic surgeon

Whether it works or not, an 8 year old can't drive a car. She can't have her own credit card. Shoot, someone would probably call CPS if she tried to buy a Barbie by herself. Yet she's mature enough to understand the potential repercutions of injecting herself with a dermal filler?? Ethically this is a very gray area. If the child isn't kicking and screaming about it, should we care?