New Delhi: When Botox was approved for cosmetic use 10 years back by the US drug regulator, there were plenty of sceptics who felt using a toxin for undoing wrinkles was a weird thing to do.
A decade later there are many converts who have made the procedure to remove the frowns a regular feature of their lives.
The injectable treatment, that was originally used to treat eye spasms, was first found helpful in treating forehead wrinkles by Canadian ophthalmologist Jean Carruthers in 1987.
On April 15, 2002, Botox Cosmetic was finally approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
In India, Botox was approved for the treatment of hyper kinetic facial lines like glabellar lines -- lines that appear between the eye brows when you frown -- in 2006.
While celebrities and high-end people were the first to embrace the procedure, it has over the years become more acceptable among a cross-section of people -- men and women.
"When Botox came to India, only the high-end people used to undergo facial correction procedures. But now, the economic structure, and age group do not limit our footfall.
Even college goers come to us in a bid to get the perfect features," says Dr Jamuna Pai, a Mumbai-based leading cosmetologist.
Pai, who pioneered BOTOX procedures in the Indian market has closely observed its growth as a non-surgical procedure over the last 10 years, and believes it has virtually changed the face of medical aesthetic treatments in a world obessed with youth and beauty.
First used by Dr Alan Scott medicinally to treat an eye condition, in 1980, BOTOX as a cosmetic treatment was quite an accidental invention.
Botox is made from a purified, mostly harmless neurotoxin that causes the disease Botulism. The drug temporarily paralyses the facial muscles that cause wrinkles and frown lines.
Dr Chiranjeev Chabbra, a New Delhi-based dermatologist, has also witnessed a vast change in acceptance of the procedure over the years.
"Every six months we are finding that people don`t look at these treatments as a taboo or stigma, they treat them as a medicine. They do not have any doubts; they come with an open mind," he says.
Worldwide, number of patients talking to doctors about the possibility of Botox treatment has more than quadrupled to 5.8 million since 2002.
"Working women, receptionists, air hostesses, corporate employees (men or women) are few of the most random customers that we attend," says Dr K M Kapoor, a Chandigarh-based plastic surgeon.