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Botox – The 'Celebrity' Dru

'Youth is fair,a graceful stag
Leaping playing in the park;
Age is grey,a toothless hag //
Stumbling in the dark'.

These four lines reflect the glory of youth and the dismal emotions that are attached to growing old. While most humans romanticize youth, they shrink from the thought of greying hair, sagging flesh and brittle bones, which are identified as the infirmities of old age.

With the changing trends, the concept of ageing gracefully by enhancing one’s inner beauty has caught on. Nevertheless there is a frantic search for the fountain of youth, especially among the celebrities and the aspiring 'also-rans', who are climbing the social ladder. Their challenge lies, not in the increasing years but, in efficiently hiding its symptoms. To them, Botox is 'God –sent'.

'Always remember that true beauty comes from within — from within bottles, jars, compacts, and tubes'- Peter's Almanac.

Botox has for the last few years been the injection that has restored the beauty of many celebrities and now is the most common cosmetic surgery procedure in the world. Celebrities such as Celine Dion, Cher, Madonna, Sharon Stone and Sylvester Stallone are rumoured to have had the benefit of the Botox needle.

The reason Botox has become so popular is due to the simplicity of the procedure.It does not require hospital admission, there are no surgical scars, no anesthesia and the results are visible in a few days. As one plastic surgeon puts it-'With Botox, the beauty is more than skin deep.'

Botox is the trade name for Botulinum Toxin A, a type of neurotoxin that is secreted by the bacterium, Clostridium botulinum. Since 1989,it has been used to treat several medical conditions like the 'uncontrolled blinking' or Blepharospasm and 'cross eyes' or Strabismus. During one such treatment, the doctors chanced upon the fact that Botox was capable of temporarily erasing frown lines and 'c row's feet' that formed around the eyes.

Botox functions by arresting the release of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter, that is essential for muscular contractions. If there is no muscle contraction, there can be no wrinkling. But it was only in the year 2002 that the FDA approved of Botox for cosmetic purposes.

Although Botox has gained popularity for its cosmetic usage, it is being employed by several specialists to treat an array of medical conditions that involve muscular contractions or spasms, such as the Dystonias of various organs. It is being considered for various other disorders as well, like Fibromyalgia or the 'Chronic Fatigue Syndrome', but the FDA is yet to approve of it.

The effects of Botox are not long- lasting and they tend to wear away within 3-4 months. It is therefore essential to repeat the treatment periodically. This raises the potential of Botox as an addiction-inducing substance that a user might become heavily dependant on, in order to 'feel good'.

Moderation, as they say, holds the key. After all, as Voltaire said, 'Beauty pleases the eyes only, sweetness of disposition charms the soul'.


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