Sunday, January 24, 2010

Charm versus Beauty.....

"SINGAPORE — It is relatively painless and gives quick results. But some people in Singapore are getting their Botox fast fix at private parties where the person giving the injections may not be a medically trained professional.

Not that some of them seem to care.

The Health Ministry says only registered medical professionals can prescribe Botox. The Singapore Medical Council, the Academy of Medicine and the College of Family Physicians state that only certified doctors can administer such injections.

At private parties, the person injecting it could be a beautician not authorised to do so.

One such recent party at a house in eastern Singapore was attended by more than 10 women, who looked to be in their 40s. One of them, Nora (not her real name), said she was there for her six—monthly "touch up" and also because "it is more expensive to receive Botox injections in a clinic".

The women paid between S$250 and S$300 each to receive their injections from Alice (not her real name), a beautician from a neighbouring country. Alice had come to Singapore that day to see her "regular clients".

She was armed with vials, syringes and hypodermic needles, but admitted she is not medically trained. On closer inspection, the drugs she used in the procedures, which she claimed were genuine, did not seem to come from a reputable source.

Botox, which is the trade name for the Botulinum toxin, is distributed by Allergan. To date, another company Ipsen has come up with a similar product, Dysport. What Alice used were from neither distributor. Instead, the vials they came in had Japanese characters on them.

Despite this, her clients did not seem to be unduly worried about the unknown source. They also did not appear to care that the beautician could have used fake Botulinum toxin products on them. This, after a woman in the United States died in 2006 after receiving a bogus Botox injection from her hairdresser.

According to the Health Sciences Authority, Botox is a medicinal product that requires official approval before it can be sold, imported or supplied here. Offenders who deal with it without a proper license can be jailed up to two years and fined a maximum of S$5,000.

When informed of this, Alice visibly bristled and gave the assurance that she is "a professional" who has been giving such treatments for "many years".

"I know what I am doing. I use a very small needle and my clients hardly feel any pain," said Alice. Her injections are "safe" as she only injects "harmless bacteria" into her clients’ faces.

She — and her clients — could not be more wrong.

As Dr Liew Kou Chuen from Neuglow aesthetics clinic explained, Botox is a poison produced by a bacteria, the Clostridium botulinum. Doctors inject it into their patients in tiny amounts to paralyse muscles and eliminate wrinkles.

The procedure is not totally risk—free, he said. If injections are incorrectly administered, patients can end up with droopy eyelids and lopsided faces. Bacteria may also enter the skin if injections are improperly done in a non—sterile environment. This could lead to cellulitis, a serious skin problem that has to be treated with antibiotics.

"The area affected with cellulitis will become red and inflamed. It may even be filled with pus," said Dr Liew who charges between S$400 and S$1,000 for Botox injections, depending on the amount of toxin used and the area treated.

Because of these risks, he strongly discourages anyone from getting such injections from non—medically trained professionals.

"Be sure you totally understand the products that go into your body, and the reliability of your practitioner," he cautioned."

I came across the above article in the news report and felt somewhat puzzled that some ladies could go to such extremes at the risk of their lives. I know of one rich lady who has already undergone twenty times under the knife - you name it, she has performed it! Liposuction, breast enlargement, double eye lid surgery, etc. She wants to remain beautiful in the bid to keep her husband from having mistresses. Despite all that, she failed.

Instead of going for all these external measures to help in maintaining beauty, ladies should focus more on character building, for I believe that characteristics such as compassion, kindness, confidence, happiness, exuberance, etc. are traits that help to enhance a lady's overall looks and personality. I had written about my sister's friend whom I met while attending a fun fair. Under the hot blazing sun, I was mesmerised by her charm and confidence. She was petite and did not even have a good complexion, but her exuberance, sincerity and sparkling eyes as she chatted with sister made her extremely charming! I remember after that incident, it dawned upon me that a beautiful lady could lack in charm while a plain Jane could ooze with so much charm that it made her look attractive and beautiful!

Hence, ladies, minimise your botox treatment and plastic surgeries. Focus more on getting the most out of life and look outward and not inward. Then your world will become larger and more interesting.

Truly, at the end of the day, people do not really remember how you look, but they will always remember how you made them feel!

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