15 October 2008

Political analysts and cosmetic surgeons in the US are at loggerheads in a battle over whether or not vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden has had Botox injections.

Senator Biden, who is running for the White House as Barack Obama's deputy on the Democratic ticket, is suspected to have received the wrinkle relaxing injections as his brow - now dubbed the "Biden Brow" - appears much smoother than at the start of his campaign.

One US-based cosmetic surgeon told the Washington Post, "He has clearly had Botox. The lines are gone on his forehead. There is no way make-up or surgery could do that."

According to the Daily Mail, Erwin Gomez, a Georgetown spa owner, said: "On the right and left temple, you can see the lines, but he has no wrinkles in the forehead."

However, Biden, who is 65 years old, has denied resorting to Botox, with his spokesman calling the rumours "untrue and unsubstantiated".

Botox is fast gaining prominence as one of the world's most sought after non-surgical solutions for both men and women hoping to look younger through cosmetic surgery.

A recent study released by medical market researcher, Kalorama Information, said that the global market for non-surgical procedures - like Botox and dermal fillers - has experienced annual growth of 20.1 per cent, and was valued at $1.32 billion in 2007.

Botox in particular has enjoyed a stratospheric rise of up to 488 per cent since 2000, from 786,911 to 4.6 million procedures performed last year.

However, the emerging obsession with having a wrinkle-free visage has also led to some abuse of the popular injection. This week, the Harley Medical Group released a report that advised against Botox bingeing, or "Wrinkelrexia", through which a patient's face could look unnaturally frozen as a result of too much Botox.