LAST_UPDATEMon, 21 May 2018 11am

Debunking The Botox Myths In Malaysia

BTA injections can reduce the appearance of frown linesBTA injections can reduce the appearance of frown linesDo you always catch yourself thinking “Wow, (insert celebrity’s name) looks so good for his/her age!” True indeed, but with a little help of the B-word nevertheless. Botulinum Toxin Type A (BTA) seems like a mouthful to pronounce. But if you haven’t caught the drift, we are talking about Botox, of course. Although it also comes in two other forms, Dysport and Xeomin, the name Botox has become a brand on its own that it stands as a common word in any global-tongue compared to its akin counterparts.

But speaking about the word in Malaysia, it almost seems like a modern-day taboo, as it can be a tad sensitive. Especially when a handful of people may look at it negatively, and to some Muslims, modification done to any part of the body means going against the Islamic teachings inferring that one is ungrateful for the appearance that God has bestowed upon them.

Equivalent to the time where our ancestors used ‘Jamu’ (herbal treatments), ‘Bedak sejuk’ (cold talcum), or consumed ‘Ulam’ (salad) dishes made typically of leaves to enhance one’s beauty, Botox that is now common among both women and men similarly offers enhanced beauty treatments through innovative and aesthetic techniques.

With beauty no longer being just skin deep, we find out what really makes this treatment ‘special’ in the eyes of the beholder that longs for beauty.

Getting To Know The Treatment

The BTA treatment which is commonly referred to as Botox is an injectable used to treat and reduce wrinkles. It is injected directly into the muscles between areas that are being treated. Botox is known to be the most popular 'non-surgical' method since the 1980s.

Slightly curious of how it works? Well, the treatment is only a temporary cure for overactive muscles. It can treat moderate to severe frown lines using neurotoxins in many problem areas, like the forehead, crow’s feet, deep lines and the ‘marionette’ area, and are definitely high in demand.

It does not remove wrinkles, however relaxes the muscles for a smoother appearance, and can tighten the skin on the chin and neck area. The procedure usually takes around 15 to 20 minutes by a registered aesthetic doctor. Results last between three and five months, and with repeated use can begin to have a cumulative effect.

Some even use the treatment for the rejuvenation of the jawline, to drape and contour the skin, providing it with a visual 'mini lift'. Patients are normally satisfied with the outcome of the technique and only a number have complained of adverse side effects.

Botox- ‘Haram’ Or ‘Halal’?

In 2006, the National Fatwa Council Committee in Malaysia ruled Botox as ‘Haram’ (forbidden). Because of this, Muslims in the country have expressed their reservations from undergoing the beauty treatment, with the assumption of what they know to be ‘Botox’, and other forms of the BTA treatment as ‘Haram’.

Nevertheless, in a report, its chairman Tan Sri Dr Abdul Shukor Husin claimed, even in medical treatment, the injections must only be provided by a specialist in dire case.

One of the porcine-free, 'Halal' products in the market- mDOne of the porcine-free, 'Halal' products in the market- mD

However, Janet Kettels, a spokesman for Allergan, which manufactures the product, describes the process as follows, “The manufacturing process includes growing of bacterium using a culture containing an enzyme derived from pig's milk. A specialised purification process removes the pig-derived enzyme and produces a purified medical protein called Botulinum toxin, which is an active ingredient in Botox,” she said.

Janet asserts that the final version of the product does not contain any pig-derived enzymes. Furthermore, in the process of manufacturing Botox, the bacterium is not being nourished on pig's milk at all. It merely introduces an enzyme derived from it to stimulate the production of the Botulinum toxin. This enzyme then goes through a biochemical reaction and is not incorporated into the resulting substance.

Therefore, Botox should not be regarded as an impure substance, so long as it is used for reasons that pose no threat to one’s health.


Not Only About Beauty

A typical assumption of BTA treatments like the Botox would be that it is hefty on the pocket and bank account. But did you know that Botox injections in Malaysia typically costs USD4.90 - USD6.60 per unit, primarily cheaper than our neighbouring South East Asian countries like Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

Dr. Maryati, consultant and aesthetic physician of and Mary Lane Clinic - mDDr. Maryati, consultant and aesthetic physician of and Mary Lane Clinic - mDIn some unfortunate cases, BTA treatments may leave one’s face frozen and expressionless. However, aside to being a beauty enhancer, from a medical viewpoint, Dr Maryati Maharon, registered aesthetic expert, explains how studies made in the United States have proved that the treatments are a stress-reliever.

Because it is apparent how a huge part of unwanted wrinkles are caused by stress, a test was conducted on a group of students to assess their stress levels, on a scale of one to ten. Those who underwent the BTA injection at the crease of their frown lines claimed that after a week, when the test was re-conducted, 80 percent showed a decline in their stress levels.

“BTA also aids hyperhidrosis, the problem of excessive sweating that occurs in about 1 percent of the population. Archetypally, a patient that goes through this procedure possesses overactive sweat glands that produce uncontrolled sweat.

“Many have felt embarrassed by their condition, and moreover it creates discomfort for the patient. The excessive sweating occurs in regions of body like the hands, feet, face, head, and underarms.

“An estimated price of an BTA injection for the treatment of hyperhidrosis is RM2,000 for each area treated,” she explains.

Dr Maryati adds that Bruxism (teeth grinding) too can be controlled and cured with BTA treatments. The habit that occurs especially when one is sleeping does not usually cause harm, but when it occurs on a regular basis, the teeth can be damaged and other oral health complications may arise. A person who suffers from this habit may also be bound by stress and anxiety.

Bruxism can be cured with BTA treatments - mDBruxism can be cured with BTA treatments - mD

In treating Bruxism, a dose will be injected on the masseter, the facial muscle that plays a major role in the chewing of food.

She tells us,“If Bruxism is not prevented, the surface of the mandibular and maxillary teeth will wear out. In the long run, the outer part of the teeth which protects it will be lost, and patients will begin experiencing pain.

“It is possible when too much pressure is put on the teeth, apart from experiencing pain, patients will start losing their tooth one by one. BTA injections on the masseter, normally costs RM2,500,” she adds.

Clearly, the public perception of BTA injections and the likes of Botox have strayed from its true beneficial concept.

“When it comes to beauty and medical treatments such as these, my advise − it is always best to consult a registered aesthetic doctor. It is true, not all doctors are aware of BTA, and only those who are trained, know the side effects of the treatment. That’s why it should be used wisely in order to reveal the best results,” she concludes.