Q. A hubbub erupted recently because a woman from California claimed she gave her 8-year-old daughter Botox injections to eliminate wrinkles, saying she believed it would improve the girl's chances on the child beauty pageant circuit. It now appears the whole thing may have been a hoax. But is it ever appropriate to use Botox on a child?
A. Only for medical reasons, says Dr. Pamela Basuk, a Bay Shore dermatologist.
Botox has been approved for children 12 and older who are cross-eyed or experience eyelid spasms, for instance, or for minors 16 or older who have a certain type of neck spasm and pain, she says.
It's approved for cosmetic use to reduce signs of aging, such as wrinkles, in people 18 and older.
"What cosmetic use does it have for an 8-year-old girl? There is none," Basuk says.
Every day, Basuk and her patients measure risks of procedures against benefits. "There are risks to Botox," Basuk says.
"The risk of an 8-year-old getting Botox outweighs the benefit," Basuk says. "The benefit of giving Botox to a young girl is zero."
Dermatologists aren't allowed to sell Botox; buying it from another source or allowing someone who isn't a dermatologist to administer it increases the risks, Basuk says.