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A wrinkle in time

China Daily Asia | Updated: 2017-05-05 08:56

A wrinkle in time

Long seen as an anti-ageing treatment for women, more and more men are giving Botox – err, Brotox – a shot. [Photo provided to China Daily]

"Wrinkled, wrinkled little star; hope they never see the scars." So said a wry Meryl Streep in the 1992 movie Death Becomes Her – and indeed, discovering the fountain of youth has been an unending quest since the dawn of time.

Enter Botox, a lethal neurotoxin (technically "botulinum toxin type A") that relaxes muscles via injection and was discovered to help reduce wrinkles by a California plastic surgeon in 1989. After a long period of formal trials, it was approved for use in the US in 2002 – and has since become a household name as the world's most common cosmetic procedure.

Long used by women, in the early Botox days, there were few male clients; most did it for occupational reasons, such as actors and anchormen. Through wider acceptance in society, it has become more common for men in recent years. Some clinics in Hong Kong even claim that male clients compose 50% of their business today. The rise in popularity explains how the humorous nickname "Brotox" has entered the vernacular.

Where do guys get their Brotox injected? They say the eyes are the key to the soul – and so the most popular areas address crow's feet and the vertical lines between the eyebrows. These lines can make a man look angry and unapproachable, which is why nine-time Olympic swimming champion Mark Spitz, an open endorser of Botox, wanted to try it in the first place. In an interview with plastic surgery website Make Me Heal, Spitz explained, "I wasn't trying to look younger or different; I just wanted my face to portray how good I was feeling inside – instead of telling the world that I was perplexed or angry all the time."

Concerned about "surprise lines" on your forehead? Those annoying, intractable lines can also make you look older than you actually are, so a considerable amount of Botox treatments are focused on this area. However, it's hard to completely remove them because this is an easy-to-crease area.

Botox has been nicknamed the "lunchtime facelift" because it can be done in less than 15 minutes. Expect to see effects after two weeks of injection, with the best results after about a month. In Hong Kong, the standard practice is to have a consultation session with your doctor before deciding what areas to address and how many shots are needed. Fees are charged per area or per unit, depending on the clinic; locally, some start at HK$3,000 per treatment package of 10 units. You don't need to drastically change your routine or eating habits. Just avoid alcohol on the first day of injection and don't apply pressure to the area. So, what are your plans for lunch?

A wrinkle in time


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