Not so long ago, horizontal lines appearing on male foreheads were seen as maturity or masculine signs of wisdom. Today, men with similar furrowed foreheads are very likely to sign up for a Botox treatment to rid them of this sign of aging.
The same goes for the bunny lines on nose, laugh lines or crow's feet around their eyes. Skin experts across the city note how more and more men are now doing what women have done for years - trying to put the brakes on looking older and willingly going for Botox injections to seek wrinkle relief.
Dr Jastinder K Gill, chief dermatologist and cosmetologist at SPS Apollo Hospitals, Ludhiana, shares how she receives two-three queries every month from men ready to use Botox (the commercial name for diluted botulinum toxin) injections that relax the facial muscles to minimise lines and wrinkles.
"This is at least half the number of queries I get from women. On an average, we are giving the Botox treatment to one man every month, something unheard of in the city a couple of years ago," she says.
Most of the time, she says, it is the men in their 40s and 50s who come with complaints of horizontal forehead lines or angry brows. "While women begin to approach us in their 30s, men do it quite later in life," she adds.
"This is precisely what we suggest all our clients, and counsel women against going for this cosmetic treatment at such an early age," adds Dr Gill, sharing how a village businessman is as likely to come for this treatment as a non-resident Indian (NRI) in city for vacation.
Doctors note that the most common reasons that make male clients seek Botox include a desire to remain competitive at workplaces, whether corporate houses or personal business, and succumbing to their wives' encouragement.
Dr Bimal Kanish, a consultant dermatologist at Christian Medical College and Hospital, shares a recent case of a senior sales manager at a corporate house in city, who sought the treatment for purely professional reasons: "The man, in his early 60s, already looked quite younger, but was eager for more vibrancy and youth on his face. He told me it was because his work involved meeting clients all the time."
"Every fifth client who approaches us for Botox is a male these days. This number has really shot up over the last few years, matching the enthusiasm in the metros," he adds.
Still, the trend of men using Botox, say doctors, is hardly mainstream and only catching up. This is evident from a quick survey around, which reveals that the most typical response among men to Botox is dismissive. As a 42-year-old owner of an upmarket restaurant in city, not wishing to be named, says, "I think exercise, proper diet and the right attitude helps in maintaining the looks. Botox is desperate."