중앙데일리

Written in wrinkles

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Feb 15,2008
For thousands of years people have sought ways to get rid of their wrinkles . Nero’s wife, Poppea, was the first person to use substances to remove her wrinkles. Gaius Plinius Secundus wrote in his book “National History” that Poppea washed her face with donkey’s milk 700 times a day, and that her skin was as smooth as pearl.
In Korea and China, there are numerous records that testify women used a variety of materials to get rid of their wrinkles.
These days, Botox is the most well-known substance of this kind. Botox is a brand name but it often refers to all types of botulinum toxin cosmetic treatments.
The problem is that this medicine is only effective for three to six months. A person who receives this treatment also has trouble making facial expressions. But Botox costs less than surgery and people now want to appear younger than they actually are, so the product is popular. Botox has a strong brand power, second only to Viagra.
The last syllable in Botox comes from toxin. Botulinum toxin occurs naturally and causes food poisoning. Dioxin is known to be the most poisonous artificial substance, and botulinum toxin is 100 times more toxic. Ordinary poisoning causes diarrhea and stomach ache but a botulinum poisoning patient has a 50 percent risk of death. In short, it is the most dangerous kind of poison.
Late last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration expressed concerns over the safety of Botox after the U.S. civic group Public Citizen announced that 16 people have died from side effects of Botox treatments since the drug was commercialized. The Korea Food and Drug Administration also took measures because it believes that an overdose of Botox might cause difficulty in breathing and swallowing food, thus putting lives at risk.
The key word here is overdose. Most of the victims were cerebral palsy patients and they tried to temporarily ease muscle spasms with Botox.
The injection they took was 28 times more than the amount used for cosmetic treatments.
Wrinkles on the face are traces of the person’s life. In the late 20s, wrinkles start to form around people’s eyes, then on the forehead in the late 30s and then around the mouth in the late 40s.
There is a saying that wrinkles around the eyes form when a person starts to understand reason and rationality, on the forehead when he understands life and around the mouth when he grasps the laws of nature.
This saying does not seem to apply to the person in their late sixties who allegedly set fire to Sungnyemun.

The writer is a special heath reporter for the JoongAng Ilbo.

By Park Tae-kyun [tkpark@joongang.co.kr]


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