Stress, intense concentration, squinting to keep out the ultra-violet rays of the sun… Over time, all these expressions leave their mark on the face, making one look tired, older and stressed out. Botox, a simple, non-surgical procedure, promises to “dramatically reduce” the toughest wrinkles in a matter of days.
“Botox is a greatly diluted derivative of the toxin produced by botulinum bacteria. It’s a natural, purified protein that relaxes wrinkle-causing muscles,” explained veteran American dermatologist Albert M. Lefkovits, assistant clinical professor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York. He was in town to conduct a presentation and workshops on Botox at Dermacon 2003.
Lefkovits, an international expert on Botox therapy, a relatively new area in India, was here on the initiative of the Indian Association of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology, convener of the dermatologists’ conclave at Science City.
“This year, the theme of the continued medical education programme of Dermacon was aesthetic dermatology, and there couldn’t have been a more qualified expert to speak on the field than Professor Lefkovits,” S.S. Malakar, chairman of the association’s scientific committee, told Metro. Malakar felt such new-age skin therapy had “immense potential”.
Botox, the most commonly-used cosmetic treatment in the US, involves “a few tiny injections” which relax the muscles that cause the deep, persistent facial lines, keeping them relaxed for months. “When one is young, the elastic fibres keep the skin smooth. But, with age and exposure to the sun, the fibres lose their integrity, causing wrinkles,” explains Lefkovits.
The co-director of Mount Sinai’s cosmetic and surgical dermatology Fellow Training Program, Lefkovits acquainted city doctors with the “versatility” of Botox at the workshops.
“You can use the muscle-relaxing properties of Botox to address a plethora of conditions, like strabismus (a focusing problem of the eye), migraine headaches, cervical distonia and many other muscle spasms,” he said.
Lefkovits, consultant to Mount Sinai’s student-transfer programme, is keen to help start a “structured exchange” of dermatology students with Calcutta, “local institutions willing”.