At some point, it’s hard to ignore the vivid signs of ageing I see in the mirror. I always felt that my face could be sharper and more V-shaped, but I’ve noticed my face has become more “bottom heavy” and saggy in the past year. My eyes look so dull and permanently tired, it makes me look listless and older than my actual age despite all the eye serums and facials I’ve tried. Perhaps more than anything else, I’m most affected when people say I look older than my husband. With my birthday coming next month, I’ve finally plucked up enough courage to dip my toes into unchartered waters – FILLERS to lift my face! I know that I don’t want anything invasive but I know I am ready for any sort of non-surgical facelift (if there is such a thing)!
I’ve chosen to go to The Sloane Clinic because they were recently named “best aesthetic clinic in singapore” by Best in Singapore (Tatler). More importantly, one of my close friends have been there before and I’ve heard great things about them. Stepping into their clinic at Orchard, it’s not difficult to see why: The luxuriously decorated and spacious clinic in ION Orchard, the ultra friendly and professional nurses who were able to answer my long list of questions, and of course, the super patient and reassuring doctor whom I suspect might actually be a beauty fairy ‘god-father’ in disguise.
Entering the realm of medical aesthetics magic…and feeling equal parts excited and nervous.
Dr. Kenneth Lee explained that as we age, our collagen, fatty tissue and even bone recedes; causing loss of facial definition and accentuating the wrinkles and loose, saggy skin as the underlying supportive volume deflates away with passing decades or sudden weight changes. This is where natural fillers come into play – they restore that structural support, “lifting” sunken areas, and therefore helping to hold up the saggy skin and soften the laugh lines and wrinkles without freezing facial expressions. Fillers can also be used to return (or add) shape and definition to the cheeks, chin, nose bridge and especially around the lip area. K-Pop stars are renowned for using fillers to “sharpen” their features.
But can injecting something into my face ever look and feel natural? The mention of fillers triggers images of the oddly inflated famous faces or of Meg Ryan, Lindsay Lohan and Courtney Cox. Hence, I’ve always been skeptical of natural fillers despite its “natural” claims. Well, I guess I will just have to hold my breath, take the plunge and find out for myself.
Before (Left) and Immediately After (Right) Treatment: My cheekbones are lifted, hollows under the eyes diminished, lines from the nose-to-mouth reduced, my chin looks more defined and there is a tweak upwards at the corners of my mouth.
To lift and contour the face, the doctor used the new-generation Restylane sculptural fillers ($2800) for me. Either I have a really high pain threshold or the doctor has magical hands, because it really didn’t hurt much. After applying numbing cream, I could barely feel the needle prick; then there’s some “weirdness” as the cannula is being manipulated under the skin, although I only felt this around the sensitive mouth area.
The doctor warned me about possible bruising at the injection sites, but fortunately I didn’t have any. Other than very mild skin redness immediately after treatment, I couldn’t even see the pinprick marks from the microinjections very well. After the nurse had applied some skincare and sunblock for me, I was all ready to snap my own comparison pictures on my camera and head back to the office.
Before (Left) and Immediately After (Right) Treatment: I loved my “lunchtime V-Lift”!
I felt minimal soreness after the treatment that went away by the next day, but I could clearly see the results immediately. The newly sculpted cheekbones, brightened undereye hollows, and lifted laugh lines. Even my jawline looked tightened and sharper, although the doctor had only placed some fillers in my chin and under the corner of my lips for the lower face.
Dr. Kenneth Lee explained that rather than focusing on pouring tonnes of volume to fill every hollow or line (and inflating the whole face like a balloon), essentially the main goals for this treatment is a reversal of the pull of gravity, as well as enhancing the definition and balance of my facial features. When you strengthen specific “pillar” points in the face such as my flattened cheekbones, you get the perception of lift in the mid face, undereyes and jawline. It’s like a hammock: If it’s sagging, you tighten the supports. Add a little more definition to my weak chin, and voila! – a more lifted, v-shaped contour. Not all points may need injecting; it is a bespoke treatment that depends on an individual’s features – and that, I think, takes extensive training plus an artistic eye.
2 Weeks Post-Treatment: Back at The Sloane Clinic Holland Village branch for a routine review and feeling super glad that I had the fillers. Friends (and even male colleagues) have been commenting how fresh I look these days, but they have no idea why!
Just about everyone who saw me after I’d had the fillers assumed I’d been on a long, relaxing holiday, far from the maddening world of work. I’d say I feel ten years younger – but I didn’t look as if I’d had anything done. I’m really glad the doctor kept things very natural and subtle. I would imagine it must take a great injector to be able to satisfy my paradoxical requests for “I want fillers, but I don’t want to look filled…and I want to see definite results.” LOL!
The fillers typically last about 1 year, but I’ve already made my next appointment in advance. I’m considering either a bit more filler to add subtle definition to my nose and some fullness to my sinking temples that’ll perk up my brows, as the doctor had suggested…or perhaps the Super Lift laser program recommended to tone and clear up my skin and double chin – when I get my next paycheck.
– By Stella Liu, 38
*This article has been selected Article of the Month for Oct 2016*