In America, horror stories of Botox gone wrong are common, in many cases resulting in serious injury or death. This being the result of desperate, cash-strapped people falling prey to bogus doctors with promises of cheap treatments. Fortunately, in South Africa, this is not a phenomenon... yet.
According to Dr Marius le Roux (MB.Ch B), from the I Care for My Body centre, which specialises in cosmetic surgery and medical aesthetics, Botox treatment is becoming increasingly popular by the day.
"Judging by the number of enquiries and adverts, this seems to be the product of choice for non-surgical cosmetic procedures," he says.
He says that more and more women in their 20s and 30s are starting Botox treatments earlier – the result of increased media information and awareness about the "importance" of starting young at wrinkle prevention. It's difficult to put a percentage to it as women prefer not to admit to having their faces frozen. Go figure.
Men also bitten by Botox bug
Dr le Roux says he's seen a "dramatic increase" in men requesting Botox: "From the teacher or lawyer with the angry frown to the 'model-faced' gym instructor type."
What you're putting into your face
Botox is a trade name for botulinum toxin A. Botulism is a form of food poisoning that occurs when someone eats something containing a neurotoxin, produced by the bacterium, Clostridium botulinum.
Basically, the botulinum toxins block the signals that would normally tell your muscles to contract. The muscle is essentially paralysed, thereby preventing the wrinkle from forming.
The effects of a Botox injection become noticeable between 5-10 days and last 4-6 months.
Cost varies from physician to physician, but on average, the cost is about R60 a unit – it takes about 20 units to treat the frown lines between the eyes.
Botox side-effects in cosmetic treatments are minor, if they occur at all, and are easily treatable. Side-effects include droopy eyelids, nausea, muscle weakness, facial pain, indigestion or heart burn, tooth problems and hypertension. Dr le Roux maintains that these side effects are extremely rare and may occur when treating wrinkles in the neck area using the incorrect injection technique and a too high dose of Botox.
As far as I'm concerned, the idea of injecting a form of poison into my face does not sound very appealing and neither does walking around with droopy eyelids.
My colleague Lili on the other hand, doesn't have a problem with it at all, and will gladly zap away her wrinkles as soon as possible.
Each to his own, I guess.
Have you been 'botoxed' or are considering having it done? If so, are you happy with the results? Have you experienced any side-effects? Let us know in the comment box below.