[By Maureen Lam]
We spend some time with aesthetic doctor Dr Low Chai Ling of The Sloane Clinic to find out more about the newest ways to firm up sagging skins, and if the holy grail to looking younger without surgery has finally been uncovered.
Maureen Lam: Let me go straight to the point. What are the top three tips you would give if one wants to stay youthful longer.
Dr Low: Off the top of my head, I would say sun protection, a healthy diet and exercise.
ML: I was hoping for a miracle pill! So I guess when it comes to staying youthful, it really is about going back to basics then.
Dr Low: Yes, while aesthetics and cosmetic medicine is a growing field, we cannot deny that good old basics will help you build a firm foundation for the future. There is no point in investing money in other things if you haven’t taken care of your basics.
ML: What are the more popular treatments your patients opt for to slow down the hands of time?
Dr Low: There are so many anti-ageing and youth-enhancing treatments out there that can rejuvenate your skin in different ways, from giving your skin a glow to smoothening out the skin texture to lifting sagging skin. I would say that amongst the treatments I offer, Ulthera and Thermage would rank among the most popular treatments of late.
ML: Can you tell me more about Ulthera and Thermage?
Dr Low: Ulthera uses advanced ultrasound technology to visualise and target the deep collagen fibres at the muscular level with unparalleled precision. It repositions saggy deep tissue from within, negating the effects of gravity without incisions. Thermage CPT is a powerful skin-tightening treatment which employs radiofrequency waves to strengthen and regenerate collagen fibres in the superficial and middle layers with a single treatment: Loose, lined skin is firmed and smoothed, hooded eyelids are rejuvenated.
ML: So which treatment should patients go for?
Dr Low: This would depend on their skin. The best way to know which of the two skin firming technologies would work best on you would be to see a doctor and have them assess your face. Some of my patients undergo both procedures as part of our 3D facelift program to give them optimal skin lift without surgery.
ML: Thank you for shedding light on what I can look forward to when my time comes. I know you have been very busy lately, especially with your appeal against the Singapore Medical Council’s decision to fine you for offering certain aesthetic treatments in 2007. Can you tell us how that is going for you?
Dr Low: No problem, I am happy to do the interview with you. I was fined by SMC for offering certain aesthetic procedures such as mesotherapy and carboxytherapy in 2007. Ironically, I discontinued these treatments in the beginning of 2008. It was not until October 2008 that aesthetic guidelines restricting the practice of these procedures were in place. Nevertheless, I was fined for offering these treatments in 2007, at a time before the guidelines came out.
ML: So doctors cannot offer these procedures now?
Dr Low: These treatments are still widely available in other countries but in Singapore, doctors can only offer them under strict criteria as set out by the aesthetic guidelines.
ML: Do your patients still ask for these procedures?
Dr Low: No. Probably because I had not offered them for 5 years already! That’s how old this case is! (laughs) Furthermore, aesthetics is such a rapidly changing field that other non-invasive methods of fat removal have taken the place of these treatments, for example Coolsculpting and Ultrashape are more popular now. Patients who want mesotherapy and carboxytherapy tell me they go to other doctors locally or abroad who offer them. If it works for them, I am happy. If it doesn’t, I do tell them there are other options, they can always come back to me. We have also added a new Plastic Surgery branch to our clinic to the delight of our patients. This is helmed by my colleague, Dr Tan Ying Chien, a consultant plastic surgeon, so Vaser liposuction is an option for our patients now!
ML: How has patient support been?
Dr Low: I must say I was surprised by the support from my patients and colleagues.
ML: Were there any patients who were concerned?
Dr Low: (laughs). Yes, there were. One of my dearest and oldest patient who was illiterate saw my photo in the papers and thought I had been arrested! Another one thought I couldn’t afford to pay the fine and offered to pay it for me. I had to reassure them that that was not the case. Whatever it is, I am grateful to all of them for the support, so thank you everyone. I cannot wait to move on from here.
ML: You say you can’t wait to move on, what are your near term goals?
Dr Low: I have put off some of my social work due my busy schedule, and would like to get back on track. My immediate focus is the elderly in Singapore which are a neglected segment of society. I will always have a soft spot for the disabled and the tetraplegics and so I will probably continue my efforts in that direction.