She treats Miss World and Miss Universe contestants, and there are more than a few Bollywood stars and models on her client list. But for Dr Jamuna Pai, the problems of the glamour world are not all that different from those in run-of-the-mill homes. The Mumbai-based dermatologist was in town for a few days, on holiday, but ended up dispensing advice on how to look good.
Having benefited beauty queens like Sushmita Sen, Aishwarya Rai and Lara Dutta, it’s her anti-ageing skills that are most in demand. Apart from acne advice. “Of the 50 to 60 clients I get a day, about half come for acne treatment, from 10-year-old girls to 45-year-old women, and even a few men,” she says.
Among the celebrities, too, there are two categories. “The younger age group wants acne treatment. The older lot, in the late 20s and early 30s, need help to fight the ageing process. The competition these days is quite harsh, so they have to always be on their toes. Sometimes, it’s droop, laughter or frown lines, or wrinkles that create cracks in the make-up,” Pai adds.
At an interactive session at Add Life spa, on Camac Street, on Friday, mothers and daughters bombarded her with queries on how to improve hair and skin, from dandruff and hair loss, to sun burns, patchy skin, pigmentation and, of course, pimples. And although dark circles under the eyes are often hereditary, Pai’s suggestion for shining hair was a healthy, high-protein diet.
“Life is a larger canvas than a film shoot or a catwalk. But looking good is important to feel good, because it gives confidence. That is important for happiness,” she says.
Her standard advice is healthy living — from drinking vegetable juice every day to de-worming every six months. However, a popular practice to fight ageing are injections, from Botox to Swedish-made gels, that erase lines and wrinkles, although temporarily. The injections relax the muscles, smoothening out the lines, and also preventing further damage.
“Surgery requires a lot of down time, and there are cuts and bruises as well. Many women don’t want to go through that. The injections are quite safe and they make you look good. All that the ‘filler’ does is prevent the ‘emotion signals’ from the brain reaching the muscle. So, they’re gaining increasing popularity,” she observes.
“Now, even housewives from middle-class Marwari families get the injections. There are no visible marks, so no one can tell. The jethani will never find out that the daurani had it done,” she says, adding that she’d “love to give Jaya Bhaduri a filler for her droop lines around the mouth”.