Sunday, August 22, 2010

Botox me

Women in their 20s now clamour for Botox

By Lee Yen Mun

KUALA LUMPUR: Every week, an average of five women will knock on the doors of a plastic surgeon here to give their faces a more ‘feminine’ shape.

But, while it was the middle-aged who used to ask for botulinum toxin type-A (BTA) injections to smooth out the wrinkles on their faces, these days it is women in their 20’s.

These women, unhappy with a square-shaped face, want the injections to reduce the size of their jaw muscles, so that their faces will appear smaller.

Each injection administered may cost the customer from hundreds of ringgit to RM1,500, depending on the amount of BTA, popularly known by the brand name Botox, used.

Plastic surgeon Dr Victor Cheong said it is now very common for younger Malaysian women to seek BTA injections, a trend he had observed among his clients.

“Although I have also performed the injection on some men, 97% of the clients who seek BTA are women,” he told The Star at his clinic here yesterday.

Malaysian Association of Plastic, Aesthetic & Craniomaxillofacial Surgeons (Mapacs) president Dr Peter TL Wong said that BTA injections was also an acceptable treatment for teenagers who had prominent jaw muscles.

“This helps to reduce the square jaw look and sharpen the jaw line, and is an alternative to jaw reduction surgery,” Dr Wong said of the non-surgical treatment.

He, however, added that plastic surgeons here were not giving BTA injections to teenagers to prevent the onset of wrinkles or delay aging.

“These claims are dubious and the procedure is not justified.”

Dr Wong was responding to media reports of 18-year-old Charice Pempengco, who created a worldwide furore over her decision to resort to BTA injections so that she could maintain a fresher look on television.

The talented singer from the Philippines was due to appear on season two of award-winning musical comedy Glee, which will debut on US television next month.

“I cannot understand why teenagers would want to do it unless it is for clinical reasons,” said Dr Eileen Fong, a plastic surgeon based at a private hospital here.

She said the oval-shaped face is the preferred look among most BTA injection recipients, as a square face is considered a more masculine feature.