Ageing is not a disease!
I have always believed that the Beauty Care Industry is a fraud, more so treatments which promise to make one look younger. What you eat, how much you exercise, how healthy you are and what your genes say is what affects your looks. The “treatments” are at best superficial and temporary. In any case, I don’t believe that ageing needs to be fought tooth and nail. Sure, it’s great to try and look young and healthy but why risk long term health?
This injectable skin cream (which is what I like to call Botox), was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) in 1989 for therapeutic use and in 2002 for cosmetic use. In India the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) approved it in 2006 and the company Allergan Inc supplies the drug. BOTOX® is their registered product (botulinum toxin type A).
It’s supposedly safe as it’s not the bacteria itself which is injected into people – just the toxin…and is that supposed to make us feel good?? They say there is a wide safety margin – the amounts injected being so small that they don’t cause harm. Wonder why that doesn’t make one feel better either!
Botox, once injected into the muscle that causes say a wrinkle, prevents the nerves from doing their job, it effectively blocks the connection between the nerve and muscle! That’s pretty unnatural and sounds unnerving, to me at least.
But the demand for Botox is growing in India, despite that fact that we Indians age fairly well. The fact that the proceedure takes just a few minutes and involves no hospitalisation is a factor in its popularity. No one seems to care that you have to keep doing it every few months. India’s first “Botox Lounge” opened in Mumbai last year, with a “spa-like setting.” Botox, like other anti-ageing treatments is catching on fast, and in fact the anti-ageing market itself was estimated to be about Rs 300 crores a couple of years ago.
Botox is getting a darned good press as the PR agencies representing companies that sell botox and the docs that do botox are hammering away at journalists to write the good stuff.
But all news isn’t good. The latest news is that this neurotoxin “can move from its injection site to the brain”! And well, from here on there could be “transmission to the central nervous system.” The results of this study have been published in a recent issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.
Those whose livelihood depends on Botox will naturally deny any such side-effects and demand that more studies are done.
Users will be in denial too. Particularly so if they are in show business and their career depends on it. They don’t use Botox just to fight age but to survive in the rat race. The stars work out to get that muscled lean look but as a result their face loses its fullness. Botox fixes this and in fact more male stars are said to use Botox than women! Men in western countries use Botox a lot too. I guess men need it more because they hang around for longer (till they are older) in showbiz. For those in show business Botox has become necessary weapon in a world where fresh young faces and nubile bodies are dime a dozen. What I wonder is how these actors are able to act when parts of their faces are paralyzed! I guess for people like SRK it’s fine, it will cut down his overacting!
Even politicians are rumoured to have used it. For example Hilary Clinton.
But it’s a mistake to think that older people go in for Botox. Mostly it’s the young, if you can call those between the ages of 30-45 young. That is because Botox has its limitations. It cannot get rid of all lines and wrinkles and therefore works best with younger patients.
In fact I rather feel sorry for anyone who feels a compulsion to use unnatural remedies like steroids and toxins for the sake of their career. It is even sadder when ordinary people do it, just for the “social” benefit, as if ageing is some sort of disease. It’s a shame to read on Botox sites that wrinkles are ‘unsightly.’
There are side effects. People who have botox injections may develop new wrinkles as a result of the treatment, as people may unconsciously try to recreate the same expression by using “nearby muscles to compensate” for the loss of ability in one set. So far doctors only caution patients about side-effects like “droopy eyelids, feeling like you have the flu, headaches, upset stomachs etecetra, all minor symptoms.” They say that unless the wrong dose is given, and that too the wrong way and in the wrong place, Botox is safe.
But let’s not forget that Botox has been in use in use for less than two decades and no one knows exactly what the long-term effects of Botox are. At best one can justify using using it as a therapeutic agent (for treatment of spasticity, excessive sweating, excessive blinking), but is it justifiable to use it as a cosmetic? One does not know the long term effects of Botox or how it combines with other drugs or what happens when people with certain conditions are treated with it. Interestingly, an article by Michael Russell talks of a study which shows that Botox doctors “fail to take a person’s medical history before administering these injections.”
I think that using Botox could well lead to serious repercussions 30 years from now.
The dangers of Botox will surface eventually. Just last month there were warnings that children could suffer fatal consequences if treated with Botox (kids are usually given Botox for medical purposes) and there are reports of serious side-effects in adults as well.
If you want to read more about Botox you can read this. To find out how Botox works, you can go here. No one actually says Botox is harmful despite the fact that “the botulinum toxins block the signals that would normally tell your muscles to contract…” And the company that makes Botox will fight a long battle to keep it that way. It is up to each individual to decide whether he/she wants to take a risk for a face-fix.
(First photograph is from smh.com and the second from telegraph.co.uk)
Update: This is a perfect video from Utube which is the perfect ending to this piece. The message is: Talk to your daughter before the beauty industry does. The link was passed on to me by Axinia. Thanks Axinia!