Materia Medica Malaysiana

July 28, 2006

Botox fix forbidden

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:54 am

NST: KOTA KINABALU: The rich and famous, artistes and a growing number of young professionals will have to give up on their Botox fix.
The National Fatwa Council ruled yesterday that Muslim men and women are forbidden from reaching for this treatment to slow the ageing process, keep their skin wrinkle-free and other cosmetic purposes.
It said that Botox injections — a growing rage among the upper-middle class and rich in Malaysia — contained prohibited substances, including those from pigs.
It also said that this treatment could also result in negative side effects.
The fatwa does not carry the force of law but those who ignore it are committing a sin.
Council chairman Prof Datuk Shukor Husin said: “The council arrived at the decision after studying reports from abroad, local specialists and fatwas (decrees) made in Middle Eastern countries.”
Speaking to the New Straits Times after the council’s three-day meeting here, he noted that the use of Botox injections to treat medical conditions such as cerebral palsy was allowed.
But even in medical cases, it must be used only when the patient is in a dire situation and the treatment is provided by a specialist.
“This decision refers to situations when there are no alternatives for medical treatment.
“Since its introduction, there have also been many fake products in the market and that is another reason why it is haram,” Shukor said.
Botox, a powerful neurotoxin introduced two decades ago, is widely used to cure facial problems but is best known for its cosmetic qualities. It paralyses facial muscles, giving foreheads a relaxed, wrinkle-free appearance.
Several plastic surgeons interviewed by the NST said that Muslims only accounted for between 10 and 15 per cent of their clientele. This is not surprising as many well-heeled Malaysians prefer to get their Botox injections at clinics overseas, where a whole suite of anti-ageing treatment is available. Also, obtaining treatment outside the country gives them more privacy.
Dr Angamuthu Rajoo said for every 15 Malaysians coming to see him for a Botox procedure, fewer than five are Muslims.
“Most want to improve their facial features, with the most popular treatment administered to the forehead and crows feet to get rid of lines. Some also wanted to firm up their jaws,” he said.
Consultant dermatologist Dr Ko Chung Beng, said about 10 per cent of the 100 patients he sees monthly are Muslims.
Each treatment of Botox costs between RM400 and RM700.
The council’s decision to forbid the treatment for cosmetic purposes was supported by several individuals and non-governmental organisations.
Television personality Azwan Ali welcomed the council’s ruling.
“People should learn to accept their looks and come to terms with ageing instead of altering what God had given them,” he said.
The Women Section of the Jemaah Islah Malaysian noted that the council arrived at the decision after much deliberation and consultation with experts.
“So the Muslim community should respect the ruling,” said its president Dr Harlina Halizah Siraj.
But there were also signs that not everyone was going to toe the line.
Kalsom (not her real name), 48, said that she was going to continue getting Botox injections to keep her face wrinkle-free.
“I did it to look good and not necessarily to look young,” she said.
Television personality Nurfarahin Jamsari said she did consider jumping on the Botox bandwagon.
“I did not see any problem using it. Every woman wants to look beautiful and have a face free from lines and wrinkles,” she said.
But she did not take that final step after her husband told her that she already looked beautiful.

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