[By Celine Lee]
We ponder if beauty can be natural or if external help is always needed to help one maximise their beauty potential. Short of going under the knife, what are the latest non-invasive aesthetic options that can help us achieve the ideal face and body of our dreams?
We chat to Dr Kenneth Lee, medical doctor at The Sloane Clinic in Singapore as he shares with us the lowdown on looking good and staying young.
1. Do you think there is such a thing as a “natural” beauty?
There are a several key elements that make up a beautiful face. These include a triangular face shape, symmetrical facial features, facial proportions that respect the golden ratio, but most importantly, flawless and beautiful looking skin.
While it’s very common to have one or a few of these physical characteristics, hence there is a certain innate natural beauty in all of us, having all 4 in combination is a rarity. As such, there are just a chosen few who have been blessed physically in this way. That being said, most models, actresses or celebrities who appear convincingly beautiful naturally, have usually had some help in one or two of these areas. This may range from removing spots from their skin, to erasing lines and wrinkles, to plumping-up folds and hollows, to even accentuating certain features. In expert hands, cosmetic treatments nowadays can be done in a subtle yet effective way, to produce beautiful and natural-looking results.
2. What are the main skin woes facing Asian women in your practice
Facial pigmentation in the form of freckles, sunspots or melasma, is extremely common in this part of the world. Asians tend to develop pigmentary changes earlier than Caucasians, starting in their twenties. Often this can be a significant source of stress, embarrassment, and loss of self-esteem, comparable to having acne as a teenager. This condition is best treated using a combination of topical lightening creams and lasers. The Sloane Clinic’s Divine Whitening Program, one of our most popular treatments, combines US FDA- approved pigment lasers for pigment removal and overall skin lightening, with vitamin therapy to improve skin radiance and glow.
3. What would be the top 5 skincare tips you would like to give our female readers.
A) Sun-protection– I feel that sunblock is the most important step in a good skincare regimen. Sun exposure has been said to be responsible for up to 80% of facial skin aging. You should start applying a good broad spectrum sunblock on your skin from as early an age as possible. Sloane Inc’s SPF 70 sunblock is oil, chemical and fragrance-free, making it suitable for all skin types including acneic and sensitive skin, while still offering a ultra-high level of UV protection.
B) Anti-aging products containing Vitamin A derivatives– Vitamin A derivatives such as Tretinoin or Retin-A, are clinically proven to improve wrinkles, increase skin firmness and provide a healthy glow to the skin. Age defy by Sloane Inc. combines Tretinoin with a powerful natural moisturizing agent, which on top of fighting wrinkles, effectively tones, lifts and firms skin.
C) Vitamin C serums-. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is an essential component in collagen production, has whitening properties and is also a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and help protect the skin against UV photodamage. IS Clinical Skincare has one of the most comprehensive range of serums which combines Vitamin C with other active ingredients including copper peptide growth factor (Super Serum Advance), Vitamin E (C&E Serum Advance) and Vitamin A (Proheal Serum), for brightening, anti-aging, and healing effects respectively.
D) Dry Body-brushing– Skin brushing is a simple technique which stimulates blood and lymph flow in the skin, encouraging the body to release waste material from the cells near the surface. Dry brushing also exfoliates the skin, removing dead skin cells and promoting new cell growth. The resulting health benefits include control of cellulite, skin tightening, prevention of ingrown hairs, and improving the skin’s ability to remove toxins from the body. The skin is the body’s largest eliminative organ, and daily body brushing can eliminate up to 500g of toxins from the skin a day, thus reducing the burden on the liver and kidneys. For best results, brush daily for 3 minutes before a hot shower to open pores and allow the toxins to be washed away.
E) Drink more water– The benefits of drinking water are almost endless. Not only is it critical to one’s overall health (including digestion, absorbtion, circulation and excretion), water hydrates and plumps the skin, and combating dryness and wrinkles. Try to drink most of your water during the day, and avoid drinking excessive amounts of fluids at night, particularly 2 hours before bedtime; otherwise many people get morning puffiness which promotes facial sag. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, try adding some lemon juice and lemon slices inside. Aside from flavouring, lemons also have antioxidant properties. (This is best illustrated by the effect of lemon juice on stopping apples from oxidizing or turning brown)
4. Recently, there has been a lot of controversies on liposuction, do you think that would put off women seeking plastic surgery?
I don’t think that women will be put off from doing plastic surgery. Ultimately cosmetic surgery is still one of the most effective ways of restoring or enhancing one’s appearance. Thousands of procedures are performed yearly with good outcomes. I believe that patients will become more discerning in their choice of establishment or doctor performing the surgery. They will be more concerned with the doctor’s experience and competency in performing the particular procedure, and less concerned with other factors such as cost and convenience.
If you are thinking of undergoing cosmetic surgery, I would recommend consulting with a plastic surgeon recognised by the Academy of Medicine Singapore. This information is available on their website.
During your consult with the surgeon, feel confident to ask about your doctor’s credentials, experience, outcomes and safety record. Be clear about the expected results, risks involved and recovery period after the operation.
In return, your surgeon should explain the procedure in detail, offer alternatives if appropriate, answer all your questions thoroughly and clearly and leave the final decision to you.
5. What sort of body slimming tips (non-surgical) can you give our readers?
For non-surgical body slimming and contouring, there are two different but very exciting technologies presently in the market.
The Ultrashape V3 uses high intensity focused ultrasound to mechanically disrupt fat cells. The resulting free fat is then gradually removed by our body’s lymphatic system to be metabolized and eliminated naturally. Both treatments are pain-free, involve no downtime and are able to complement one other for greater and more rapid results.
Recently, a new FDA innovation for body sculpting has been unveiled to much fanfare — Coolsculpting by Zeltiq. This uses a technique called ‘cryolipolysis” or cold energy to freeze and eliminate fat cells from the body, with each session reducing 20% of fat in the treated area.
The Sloane Clinic has harnessed the fat reduction and body contouring potential of both Ultrashape and Coolsculpting in their latest body regime called the Coolshape program. For more details on Coolshape programs, you can call The Sloane Clinic at 65-66887377.
6. Do you have a health tip that you abide by that you can share with our readers?
Drink Green. I start each morning with a “green drink” along with my bowl of cereal for breakfast. This vegetable/fruit drink was first popularised by Dr Mehmet Oz on the Oprah Winfrey Show, to promote a more alkaline diet. Most western diets these days are based around meat, dairy, alcohol, saturated fats and caffeine which creates a hostile acidic environment around the cells in our bodies. Almost any area in our body can be affected by this negative environment, potentially causing a range of problems from premature aging of the skin, to heart disease, to cancer. There are various recipes available online including Dr Oz’s original recipe. Bear in mind that not everything needs to taste like mud to be healthy, I make a smoothie version which is about 60% vegetable and 40% fruit, and tastes great. As long as it is green, then you know you’re getting the excellent alkaline benefits of the greens.
Dr Kenneth Lee is currently practising at the Sloane Clinic in Singapore. More details of the clinic can be found on www.sloaneclinic.com