Guide to Various Beauty Procedures

Text SUMMER LEE

Beauty is hard work, especially when it cuts deep under the skin.

Sally (not her real name) is getting married in November this year. Already a head turner, the 32-year-old project manager still finds her three moles – two on her chin and one on the shoulder – a blemishing turnoff.

In May, she visited an aesthetics surgeon to zap away the pesky dots and some small warts on her neck, spending over $500 on a single session of laser treatment.

The enhancements above her shoulders were a success and her skin recovered smoothly within a week; but in place of the mole on her shoulder now is a scar that fails to heal.

Nonetheless the undaunted bride-to-be is ever ready for more refining treatments as long as they are minor and non-invasive.

Some other women want more.

“I had received some interesting requests including hymen repair, tummy tuck, breast lift and surgical tightening of the face,” said Dr JJ Chua of JJ Chua Rejuvenative Cosmetic & Laser Surgery, who once saw an excited bride-to-be and her whole family, who were equally excited, walking into his clinic for cosmetic work.

“Everyone wants to look his or her best before the wedding…remember there is plenty of photo- and video-taking,” he noted.

Dr Donald Ng, medical director at Alaxis Medical Clinic, observes that more women are calling him up at least a year before the Big Day.

“It seems that grooms accept that is just part of the ladies’ need to get ready, just like going for make-up, getting the clothes done – the face and body work is just a part of it,” he said.

And interestingly, Dr Chua noted, some couples underwent the same procedures like liposculpture – a gentler form of liposuction that is supposed to give better shape – and nose implants.

“Many mothers ask for facelifts, and procedures for droopy eyelids and eye bags. On rare occasions, fathers come for Botox and skin growth laser removals,” he reveals.

Based on information supplied by Dr JJ Chua of JJ Chua Rejuvenative Cosmetic & Laser Surgery, these are the greatest peeves of most people:
Problem Treatment Downtime*
Lower eyelids (eye bag, dark circles) Blepharoplasty, or cosmetic eyelid surgery, to remove excessive skin and fat from the lower eyelids Two weeks
Single eyelids Create double eyelids Two weeks
Flat nose Nose refinement (filler or
implant enhancement)
Nil to 10 days
Fatty cheeks; double chin; flabby tummy, arms and thighs Liposculpture reduction Two days
Small breasts Implant augmentation or
filler enhancement
Nil to two weeks
*Subject to individuals and the type of surgery. Does not include full recovery time and time needed to achieve desired results.  

Of the requests Dr Christine Cheng from Simply Aesthetic entertains, most of them revolve around slimming of various parts of the body, and sometimes full-on rejuvenation – involving techniques ranging from laser and light to chemical peels and other non-ablative methods – for more mature brides.

“Slimming takes time. Even facial treatments should be tried out in advance to ensure they provide the desired results,” said Dr Cheng, adding that liposuction may be tempting a week before the big day, but recovery takes many weeks – or even months for certain techniques.

She advises that the brides should seek help at least six months ahead to get the desired results and keep it that way for the wedding day. “(Seeking treatment) three weeks to a month before the wedding day seems to be the panic point!” she warns.

Although nip-and-tuck practitioners are sometimes referred to as “the hands of god”, there are still situations where they are caught with their hands tied.

“I had one bridesmaid who had put on over 10kg in the preceding year while staying in the US,” Dr Cheng recalled. “The dress was made to fit her original size and the bride freaked when she saw the larger version of her best friend.”

To make matters worse, this was a VIP wedding that was to be broadcast on national television.

“Naturally, we were unable to guarantee a 10kg reduction in the one week before the wedding,” she said.

And most of the time, a major overhaul is an overkill, putting the spotlight on the bride for the wrong reason.

“Do not overdo it,” cautions Dr Ng. “Remember that you want to enhance what you have, and not transform yourself as more invasive surgery tends to come with more downtime and adjustments that you may not be prepared for.”

“It is not wise to add to an already stressful event,” he adds.

The popular non-surgery treatments include:  
Treatment What Is It? What does it do?
Botox An injection of the cosmetic form of botulinum toxin Mainly to achieve square jaws, shape eyebrows, and smooth
out wrinkles
Filler enhancement A procedure that gives non-permanent effect, involving an injection of usually gel-like substance or fat. For nose, cheeks, chin, lips (more kissable lips), scars and lines
Laser A cosmetic surgery technique that removes the upper layers of the skin to allow new skin to form For growths, open pores, pigmentation and birthmarks
Pulsed light In this treatment, pulses of light are used to penetrate deep into the skin For skin rejuvenation & whitening
Thermage A non-invasive procedure that uses radio frequency electrical current to stimulate collagen contraction For skin tightening
Others: Skin care to rejuvenate the skin and treat acne and scars; balding medication.