According to the survey of the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) 2020, a total of 5.24 lakh cosmetic procedures were performed in India.
The accessibility to these procedures is no longer restricted to celebrities or affluent people. With the advent of low-cost procedures and EMI services, these procedures are now accessible to many who seek to get a makeover in order to boost their confidence. The spike in the number of people choosing such procedures has led to the booming of this industry.
However, there are cases registered under the consumer court regarding the procedures that went wrong. Farhana along with her sisters Nourin* and Azeeza* visited Vibes Healthcare, Preet Vihar, for botox, liposuction and silicon surgery. The clinic assured Farhana of visible changes in one week with 100% guaranteed results. Azeeza got a swelling on the face as the procedures turned out to be a scam. The procedures cost her Rs 1.6 lakh; when they asked for a refund or correction procedure, the clinic denied it. Later an FIR was filed against the clinic, but the case is still pending.
Dr Sonali Chaudhary, Integrative and Cosmetic Dermatologist, Holistic Skin Care says, “Initially when I started practicing, getting such surgeries done was a fancy thing and not everyone could afford it. Fourteen years into the field, I can see a huge rush in the number of clients accessing these procedures.”
Botox and fillers are the most common procedures in demand these days, adds Dr Chaudhary.
She further says, “People who are working, especially the younger crowd, have started opting for it as everybody wants to look nice. Anybody can get it done as now all the information is easily available.”
Botox is also known as the lunch break procedure as it takes a maximum of 20 minutes to get the procedure done, and the changes are apparent within a span of three days. The prices range from Rs 350-850 per unit while dermal fillers from Rs 28-38K per milliliter. These aesthetic procedures are mostly chosen by people in their late 20s.
Fine wrinkles start to appear on the face from the age of 25, and people working in stressed conditions are more prone to develop them. Preventive botox procedures adapted by professionals avoid the appearance of wrinkles altogether.
Earlier, clients were accompanied by family members who would direct them in choosing the procedure. These days girls out of college or professionals come on their own for the procedures, says Dr Chaudhary.
“People face peer pressure…sometimes, it’s the requirement of the job to look the best. When everybody around you is looking nice and top-notch, then you would also want to look similar”, she adds.
She continues, “I’ve had patients who don’t want their family to know that they have undergone any procedure.”
Mira, who has gone through the procedure recently, says, “I’ve undergone a combination of three procedures: botox, fillers and thread. Since the procedure, a lot of people are noticing the difference in my looks. I didn’t feel any discomfort throughout the procedure.”
The younger generation usually focuses on the parameters of an ideal face, like the upper face, mid-face and lower face to be in one-third proportion with each other.
Dr Chaudhary elaborates that if a person has a double chin, they wouldn’t focus more on making changes in their weight loss strategy but would rather just elongate the chin to hide the double chin.
She further says, as the banks are providing EMI services, the accessibility has increased. Working-class people, who can’t afford the treatment in one go, can now avail the treatment by paying in instalments with the help of such pay-later services.
“Cosmetic surgeries and treatments were considered a ladies affair. Over these years, I’ve had a large number of men. Though their number is less compared to that of women, it is rising”, says Dr Chaudhary.
Men usually are interested in getting perfect features on the face. They want their face to look slimmer and more attractive with the right cheekbones and the jawline.
Based on her experience with male clients, she states, “As far as the pain is concerned, I believe that men do feel more pain as compared to women, and I don’t blame them. I think we, women, have a higher pain threshold regulation.”
While the demand for the procedures is on a hike, the death of the Kannada actress has stirred concerns. With increased accessibility of the services, unethical practices are on the rise. People without adequate medical qualification or experience are functioning in the field. There are clinics that lure the customers with low-cost procedures, 100% success rates and flashy advertisements.
“Most people consult these clinics just to save some money. But, I think one should go to a clinic after a proper background research of the doctor”, says Dr Chaudhary.
Asked about the cost of these procedures, Dr Chaudhary says that it depends on the product being used, where the treatment is getting done and who is doing it.
She adds that US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved products are available at a higher price while the Chinese and Korean products are available at cheaper rates in the range of Rs 150-300 per unit and Rs 8-10k per millilitre.
In certain cases, the client might require the treatment to be fast, and the doctor may go overboard to comply with the client’s request, which may cause trouble afterwards, she adds.
Dr Chaudhary asserts that doctors should practice under other reputed practitioners and surgeons before starting their own clinics.
Ankita Kochhar, who underwent a facial treatment, says that her consultant doctor didn’t suggest any unwanted procedure or treatment. The doctor prescribed the procedure that was most appropriate for her face.
She claims that a good doctor does ‘n’ number of treatments with good results. So, while choosing a doctor, the client should always verify the doctor’s degree and experience.
As a client opting for these procedures, Kochhar says, one should ask the doctor to address their own set of concerns like the post-treatment care and the extreme complications that can occur. One should be aware of the side effects. The most important thing is always viewing the pre-and post-treatment pictures of patients from the clinic.
*Names changed to protect identities
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