The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cosmetic rush for wrinkle relief

Thousands of patients, 10 years and 60 countries later, the wrinkle-smoother comes to town. Botox has grazed the cheeks, and removed the crows’ feet, laughter lines, frown and worry lines of many a celebrity and Hollywood star. And now, it’s ready to work its magic on Calcuttans.

At an evening of open discussion on Wednesday at Apollo Clinic on Shakespeare Sarani, a bevy of women gathered for an informative session on the pros and cons of a Botox boost. Present at hand to elucidate on all matters Botox were physician Milan Chhetri and plastic surgeon Aniruddha Bose.

To put it simply, several units of the medicine are injected a number of times into the specific muscle in about five to 10 minutes, with a syringe smaller than an insulin needle. The patient can go back to normal in 15 minutes. The effect can be felt in two to four days, peaking in one to two weeks time and lasting about four to six months.

It’s a non-surgical, non-invasive, almost painless procedure, which stops the offending muscle from contracting. However, with an average price tag of Rs 4,000, the smooth results are not cheap. However, Botox prevents further wrinkling, and over time the need to re-inject diminishes.

While most of the women present felt they’d rather not be the first ones to take the plunge, there is nothing wrong with doing it. Beautician Julie Sen, although “too old myself”, said she would recommend the treatment to her younger clients, while television actress and anchor Sudeshna Roy said a lot of celebrities, particularly film and television personalities, would surely benefit from Botox. But Doel Sen of Spandan argued that natural is “good enough for me”.

Botox has numerous non-cosmetic uses, too. The concentrated protein extracted from bacteria (it was accidentally discovered in 1897 when it caused food poisoning) can help alleviate migraine, excessive perspiration problems, squint eye and also rehabilitate cerebral palsy patients by relaxing the muscles, thereby loosening the limbs. But what it can’t do is lift sagging skin, or radically change the appearance.

So, while you can’t stop the repetitive muscle action that causes hyperfunctional lines, you can now hide them. Temporary side effects may include slight tenderness and bruising in the area, mild headache and drooping of the eyelids. “It’s just another way to defy the effects of gravity,” says Bose. And as far as Chhetri is concerned, “It’s an act of maintenance, not vanity. Besides, being vain is self-preservation.”

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