Rajesh M., a marketing manager based in Mumbai, constantly got into arguments with his colleagues and juniors because they found him too critical. Then one day, he was told by a friendly colleague that it was his frown which made him look “angry” all the time. “I had these three deep frown lines in between my eyebrows,” explains the 35-year-old, “which looked like I was always frowning.” His colleagues felt he was always disapproving of something being discussed, which led to negative vibes in the team.
“I had had enough of this. I wanted to get rid of these lines. Someone suggested Botox to me. I looked up on that online and liked the idea,” says Rajesh. Over a weekend at the start of this year, he got Botox injections to freeze the area between his eyebrows. “The process took barely 10 minutes at a clinic and after the weekend I was all ready to join back work without those lines,” he says.
“Botox injections for treating frown lines have become quite common for men,” says K.M. Kapoor, senior consultant and head, department of cosmetic surgery, at Fortis Hospital, Mohali, who also runs a private clinic in Chandigarh. “Freezing that frown gives you a relaxed and friendly look, giving you a pleasant look.” According to him, Rajesh is among an increasing number of men who are not thinking twice before opting for non-invasive procedures to “correct” a facial expression or hide ageing.
Dr Kapoor gets around 600-700 patients, both men and women, every year who want Botox injections. Thirty per cent of these are men in the 35-45 age bracket. Three years ago, the percentage of men coming to his clinic for Botox was only 10%. “They are all well-educated, senior executives in high-paying jobs who want to retain their young looks, especially among their juniors who are in their 20s,” explains Dr Kapoor.
Botox, fillers and other non-invasive cosmetic procedures such as peels and laser hair removal are popularly known as lunch-time lifts. “All lunch-time surgeries take less than an hour, are non-invasive or superficial, can be done with local anaesthesia and show results immediately,” explains Mumbai-based cosmetic surgeon Manoj Kumar J. Manwani, who handles approximately 5,000-6,000 cosmetic cases every year. Lunch-time procedures are very popular with professionals as there is little or no recovery period, explains Satish Bhatia, 43, a dermatologist and skin surgeon based in Mumbai. “Most of my patients want non-invasive or lunch-time procedures due to weekday office timings,” he explains. They can recover over the weekend and be back on Monday looking “refreshed and relaxed”.
According to Dr Bhatia, corrections for which demand is growing in the corporate world are mole removal, skin augmentation, double- chin correction, chemical face peeling, laser treatment for unwanted hair, and facelifts.
“The idea behind preferring non-invasive procedures to a full-blown surgery is that these men do not want to change their faces remarkably, but just give themselves a younger face which makes one feel more confident,” explains Dr Manwani, whose male patient list is full of professionals—engineers, doctors, managers, etc. All of them want quick, non-invasive procedures because they want little alteration to their faces and want to get it done quickly. “They also know exactly what they want and which area needs to be ‘treated’,” he says. “Most of my male patients come to me alone and after an initial consultation where they tell me the problem area, we decide on the kind of procedure they want to take up.”
Priti Shukla, a cosmetic surgeon who has been running Priti Shukla’s Cosmetic Surgery in Hyderabad since 2001, believes that the trend of men “doing it” is here to stay and will increase in the coming years. “Already 50% of all patients I get are men,” she says, “and most of my older clientele who are in their 40s opt for Botox and fillers.” According to her, the trend is most common among software professionals in Hyderabad who want to get cosmetic surgeries done to boost their confidence and come in with their credit cards handy. Money is not a problem for them.
Looking good: Frown lines,?laugh lines,?moles, scars—you can get rid of them in a jiffy.
Though treatments such as Botox and other non-invasive procedures are generally risk-free, some temporary side effects have been reported. “There can be some reactions in case you are allergic to the toxin in Botox or fillers,” says Dr Kapoor. In the case of Botox, you can experience droopy eyelids, nausea, muscle weakness, facial pain, indigestion, or tooth problems. In the case of fillers, you can experience prolonged redness, swelling, itching or skin hardness and bumps.
He cautions against trying out these injections in a beauty parlour or a spa since they are unregulated and the results can be disastrous. A trained cosmetic surgeon knows facial anatomy, so the chances of his injecting the wrong muscle are very small, explains Dr Kapoor. So the chances of you looking like a frozen bitter gourd on Monday morning are slim.
Do your research beforehand. Dr Kapoor suggests: “Read up on the procedure, what it does to your body, consult with a known doctor who will know the right questions to ask and ask if there would be any side effects, especially if you have a history of heart disease or popping pills like vitamins, medicines or even herbal products. Your doctor needs to know it all.”
Another risk is infection, or wrongly administered anaesthesia. “You should avoid any kind of cosmetic makeover during summer as there is more colonization of bacteria and chances of infection are higher,” cautions Dr Manwani. According to him, winters are the best time to get these procedures done. “Also, before you decide on a clinic, check the place thoroughly for its sanitization to avoid catching an infection floating around.”
“The biggest risk in these procedures is that of unrealistic expectations,” says Dr Shukla, who gets patients who want drastic changes to their face. “A face filled with Botox is never a good idea, it can make you look too plastic. Your doctor knows best and if she says that a specific wrinkle cannot be filled, take her advice,” she says.
Take the example of 24-year-old Kanishka S., who is already worried that his face is beginning to resemble a dried-up walnut. “I can already see wrinkles on my face,” he writes in the cosmetic surgery section on www.ehealthforum.com. “I have tried lots of topical ointments but still it has shown no improvement on my face. Can anyone suggest me what to do in this case. Should I opt for some cosmetic treatment or Botox fillers?”
“There is no end to wanting good looks,” says Dr Bhatia. “There are times when I have declined procedures on patients despite their insistence.” A good surgeon, according to him, should know when to keep the needle away.
“One should also ideally do total facial planning rather than get rid of wrinkles in one area,” adds Dr Kapoor. Every time you get rid of wrinkles in one area, like your eyes, the other wrinkles suddenly show up more in relief and if you don’t plan ahead, the rounds to the doctor keep increasing.
The most important thing, however, is to take good care of your skin while you can. “In your 20s, your skin starts crumbling so start taking care of it using sunscreen or facial creams,” says Dr Kapoor. “By the late 30s, Botox or fillers are the only option left.”
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