[By Jessica Hong]
Every woman at any given age would want to look good and there’s nothing wrong about this. When 20 years ago it’s still a taboo to talk about a little nip and tuck, nowadays such topics are discussed at length in lifestyle magazines and online forums. In an online poll conducted by ReadySetBeauty, close to 85% of women, ranging from 25 to 55 agree that they would consider some form of aesthetic procedure when the need arise. Out of these respondents, 92% desire a younger and refreshed look while the commonest fear amongst all is to end up looking fake, frozen or filled. With the result obtained which by no surprise echoes my own concerns, RSB speaks to Dr. Toby Hui, medical consultant of The Sloane Clinic on the lowdown of ‘Graceful Aging’.
RSB: Hi Dr. Toby, I wouldn’t have guess you are over 40 if you didn’t tell me yourself!
DT: Thank you! You are too kind, my dear. It must be the lighting…and I do walk the talk myself. (chuckles softly).
RSB: So tell me, it’s there any difference in the clients you see today compared to those say 5 years ago?
DT: (pauses to contemplate) Well previously, most patients came to me asking me to do what I can to make them look 10 years younger. Nowadays, it is more common to have them saying that they do not want to look done up or artificial like everybody else. They want to look like themselves, only better.
RSB: Can you elaborate on this?
DT: Women don’t want that frozen, ‘pull-tight’ look of the 80s and 90s when all you can move are only the corners of your mouth. It’s a classic story of ‘too much a good thing turn bad’. When Botox is used to chase every single expression line and Filler is used to swell up any little degree of volume deficient, you will end up with an army of clones; all expressionless carbon copies of shiny foreheads, cherubic cheeks and trout pouts. How you noticed how the cast of ‘Big Rich Texas’ all start to look as if they are related to one another after a couple of seasons?
RSB: So what can I do to avoid this trend?
DT: Every face is unique and you would want to respect this. To me, Aesthetics Medicine should be a boost to bring out the best in you and not transplant standard cookie cutter features on you. Did you see Helen Hunt, Barbra Streisand and Jane Fonda on the red carpet at the recent Oscars? It’s everybody’s guess if they had works done but the point is they all look amazing and not like they’re trying to pass off as 30-somethings. The trick is to strategize and plan for the future, incorporating small treatments when you actually are 30. At Sloane Clinic, we like to call this ‘age-proofing’. (smiles)
RSB: So ideally what kind of consult is best for this?
DT: Whichever doctor you choose to go to, the first consultation should sound off alarm bells if it’s conducted as a lecture or sales pitch. No one should be in a hurry to ‘get things fixed’. I suggest you bring along old photographs of yourself so that the doctor will have a clearer idea of how aging has affected your face shape and feature over the years. Let him or her know which areas are bothering you most. Is it the thinning of your lips, jowls that had formed with age and a couple more pounds or the appearance of fine lines under your eyes?
There should be multiple options open to suit your needs and budget and things should be done in stages and not all at one go. I believe in preserving individuality and not simply creating perfect symmetry. It’s akin to finding perfection in each person’s quirks and natural asymmetry.
Read More: How not to look your age (but better)
RSB: I’m fishing for a free consult! Now looking at me, Dr. Toby, what do you think I should do? I hate the wrinkles around my eyes and the hollowing under them.
DT: As with all patients, I’ll start by examining your skin texture, skin tone, volume, bony framework, the proportion and how your facial features relate to one another. Your cheekbones are high which is good but the apples have flattened a little which makes the face less 3 dimensional and the eyes more sunken. Just a trace of hyaluronic acid filler to replace the mid face volume loss and under the eyes would give a slight lift that will totally rejuvenate the upper face. To make life easy for me, I could have just simply put in loads of filler around the eyes to plump up fine lines but I find the end results both artificial and unacceptable. In my opinion, it is better to work with minimal amount of Botox and filler and use other modalities such as Thermage which employs radiofrequency waves that stimulate collagen remodeling and regeneration to cause skin tightening to deal with such fine lines. Throughout my years of practice, I’ve learned that the best and most natural looking results are often those done by finessing a variety of procedures done in combination and in stages over a period of time.
RSB: What about Botox for Crow’s feet? I’ve seen so many ‘deer caught in headlights’ look in the industry!
DT: It is crucial to assess a patient’s face both at rest and in animation. There are a lot of moving parts on the face, and everything is connected, so we need to keep the overall shape and proportions in mind while administering Botox injection to avoid the frozen, mask liked look. The muscles that create crow’s-feet also elevate the cheeks and I’ve seen way too much Botox being used to knock them flat. This besides giving you an unnatural stare causes your cheeks to pop out in a weird way instead of lifting naturally every time you smile.
RSB: Wow! Thanks for the insightful tips on graceful aging, Dr. Toby! Any last words of wisdom for our readers?
DT: As I’ve mentioned before, it is crucial to consider anti-aging treatment before actual aging sets in. Just as Father Time leaves his marks little by little on one’s face, one should take baby steps with anti-aging procedures overtime to look youthful but age appropriate and like yourself and not someone else. Work out your long term goals with your doctor to ensure that results are natural looking, gradual and subtle.
Often one might be blinded in the quest to look good so it’s important that your doctor can double up as a gatekeeper to keep you grounded and aging gracefully in the years that follow.
* Selected as Article of the Month Mar 2013*