Ask any woman and I’m sure that almost 100% will admit that they want to look younger than their exact age. But how far are you willing to go to achieve that radiant and younger looking skin? Are you a supplement person or are you open to aesthetic treatments that requires injection as well? Are they really safe? Read on as I reveal more insights on aesthetic treatments and their side effects.
According to recent trends, more people, especially the younger market are no longer shy to seek aesthetic treatments to enhance their looks. Since they have more earning power, they are very aggressive in enhancing their looks to look more appealing in their profession. This has spurred the mushrooming of various beauty salons and beauty clinics, offering various products and treatments.
What to know before allowing the doctor to inject your face
Don’t jump into the bandwagon just yet! It is crucial to ensure that the person who is administrating the aesthetic treatment is a certified doctor. Patients must know the products being used in the treatment and check its safety before proceeding. It is better to seek treatment from a doctor who says, “No, you will have to wait for a few years before undergoing this treatment” than a doctor who says yes to everything.
These are among some of the very candid advice given by an eminent panel of aesthetic medicine doctors during a chat session hosted by RELIFE, a company under the leading Italian biopharmaceutical company in the world, Menarini Group that will specialise in dermatology and aesthetic medicine.
These international professionals are Dr Ma Purita Paz Lao (Dr Peachy) and Dr Jaime Arzadon (Dr Bong) from the Philippines, and Professor Salvatore Piera Fundaro and Dr Giovanni Salti from Italy. They have close to 100 years of collective experience among them in various fields of aesthetic medicine such as intradermal fillers, botulinum toxin, cosmetic surgery, lasers and lights and also thread lifting. They were joined by Dr Steven Kusmanto, Associate Director of Marketing of Menarini Asia Pacific.
Since this is a golden opportunity to ask these experts regarding our doubts, here are some selected questions and answers that I think will benefit my readers.
Q: It looks like dermal fillers is one of the fastest growing treatments in Asia, in terms of popularity. What sort of condition or facial shape or particular feature can benefit from dermal fillers?
Dr Bong: There are a lot of benefits of dermal fillers. The most common fillers in the market right now is hyaluronic acid. Menarini is launching this under SKINFILL. Fats can actually also be dermal fillers; your own fats.
The main purpose of having dermal fillers is to understand the concept by going back to the root of the problem; what happens when you are aging? To make our face look rejuvenated, we fill them up. With the use of dermal fillers, it is some sort of an alternative to the fats that we will be injecting. It is readily available, it is an office lunch procedure, with minimal or no downtime – that’s the advantage of the hyaluronic acid. Another advantage is that it is reversible, if the patient is unhappy with the procedure, there’s an antidote which is called as hyalurodinase.
Third advantage of hyaluronic acid is that it’s hydrophilic – meaning water absorbing. This makes your skin more moist or more rejuvenated. Dermal fillers are really important as adjunct to rejuvenation procedures. There are other dermal fillers that are available but were banned such as silicone (a banned substance) and collagen fillers. Collagen fillers have become unpopular due to the allergies and side effects. There is also the calcium hydroxyapatite which is a filler embedded close to the bone for deep tissues for augmentation.
Basically, fillers are to enhance, augmentate and to rejuvenate.
There are different brands of fillers in the market, however the generic substance in all the fillers is hyaluronic acid.
Q: How different is thread lifting from dermal fillers?
Prof Fundaro: Some Asian faces have too much volume, that’s when thread lifting can help in repositioning the facial features. The same goes to hyperthropic issues, thread lifting can reposition the sub tissues to create original or anatomical facial appearance to have a more natural look.
Q: I understand that there are many types of threads in the market and the Korean threads are one of the popular ones. And I believe you are familiar with HappyLift. What’s the difference between Korean threads and HappyLift?
Prof Fundaro: Korean thread lifting cannot lift the face but can only stimulate collagen production, however HappyLift can both lift the face and stimulate collagen production at the same time.
Q: How long do dermal fillers last?
Dr Bong: Dermal fillers typically last about a year and sometimes more than a year. Thread-lifting can last more than a year (approximately one and a half year). Botox will last about half a year. For Asians, the treatment will last longer due to the skin thickness.
Q: Will there be bruises after the thread-lifting or any downtime?
Prof Fundaro: Aesthetic procedure is a kind of treatment. There are bound to be bruises. It is important to understand that there may be slight bruises or ‘distortion’ but it will disappear the following day or within 3 days or so after treatment.
It is important for a doctor to inform the patient about this. The patient will also be required to put on sunscreen after treatment.
Q: Is there any allergy reaction that a patient should be aware of?
Dr Bong: Allergies are common and they can come from anywhere, from food to alcohol consumption. Allergies can exist in both dermal fillers and thread-lifting procedures.
It is crucial for (certified) doctors to explain about this to the patient, as the patient can be allergic to a certain component in the aesthetic treatment. For those who seek treatments from the usual beauty parlours, the beauticians do not have the knowledge on human anatomy. When the blood vessels are hit, that is when problem occurs.
Fillers have almost no downtime. As for thread-lifting, the doctor must have sufficient knowledge on anatomy and complications that may arise from each aesthetic treatment.
Q: With so many aesthetic clinics mushrooming nowadays, how do we know that the products they use are safe? Are there any international standards or certification that we can look for?
Dr Steven: For medical devices, it will have to be certified by the FDA or the CE Mark for the European market.
For drugs, they will have to be certified by the local authority. The certified doctors must also provide information to the patient prior to using and after using a medical device or product.
For Menarini, all our products are registered with the Ministry of Health – the devices will have to be authorized before they are revealed to the public. We will only sell the products to doctors who have the Letter of Credentialing and Privileging (LCP). And before we sell our products to the aesthetic doctors, we will also ensure that they undergo our training course to ensure they are well informed on the products and applications.
Patients need to be educated to ask the right questions – such as asking the doctor what they are putting into their face. Patients also need to have the awareness on where to seek information from and where they can go to when a problem arises.
Q: Do fillers contain long-term side effects since they don’t last long?
Dr Bong: Hyaluronic acid is present in all human beings and it gets absorbed easily. There are permanent fillers which will be more dangerous. It is better to do filler that is reversible than a permanent filler. Patients need to be aware that for permanent fillers, complications will only appear in a couple of years.
Q: What are the symptoms that our body is rejecting the fillers or thread-lifting?
Dr Bong: Threads will come out from the exit points. For fillers, they will encapsulate in the body before they are finally ejected. Sometimes abscess will form around the injected materials to protect the body. The abscess will come out from the body when it ruptures. The pus is meant to protect the body, therefore you will have to pay attention to that. Another sign that shows that the body is rejecting foreign substance is the build-up of protein and fluid (oedema).
Q: Does this kind of treatment require continuous maintenance as it has been shown that women who have undergone aesthetic treatment tend to have their faces ‘returned’ to their original form once they stop their treatment?
Dr Salti: Aesthetic treatment requires upkeep. It is like going for gym workout, shaving your legs; aesthetic treatment is something that you need to continuously maintain. The rule of thumb is, the older you get, the lesser you do to your face. There is a role for everyone at different stage of life.
Q: What is the suitable age for aesthetic treatment?
Dr Peachy: Ideally, they can begin opting for aesthetic treatment when they start working, due to the demanding work situation and also to upkeep their appearance.
It is akin to taking responsibility for how you look, therefore regular maintenance will be required.
RELIFE by Menarini Group
Reflecting its inspiration, the company’s global head office is aptly located in the cradle of the Renaissance, Florence, Italy. RELIFE draws on its dual scientific and artistic heritage to create beauty, as did the Renaissance’s most famous son, Leonardo Da Vinci, who used the geometry of beauty in both his science and his art, and codified the rules of aesthetic proportion in works such as the Vitruvian Man.
Because your skin shows the world how you feel
RELIFE believes the skin mirrors your well-being. That is why RELIFE offers healthcare practitioners (HCPs) a holistic approach to aesthetic medicine to give a natural-looking, youthful appearance. This is achieved with a combination of unique products and treatment techniques developed in collaboration with leading HCPs and specialists as well as the global scientific community. RELIFE will always listen to the needs of patients and HCPs, to provide the best-in-class products and value-added support services.
The RELIFE aesthetic products
The RELIFE aesthetic range consists of 2 core products:
Happy Lift suspension threads
Thread lifting is a pretty new trend in aesthetic treatments industry. People who are getting older and losing skin elasticity will opt for the thread lifting to resolve this issue.
Happy Lift is designed to lift and hold soft and/or sagging facial tissues for a refreshed look and more defined facial contours. It is a patented line of absorbable, monofilament, suspension barbed threads made of unique materials comprising poly-L-lactic acid and caprolactone. Unlike some conventional sutures which are smooth, Happy Lift threads have tiny barbs. Once inserted into the skin, these tiny barbs stimulate the fibroblasts to synthesize the extracellular matrix and collagen in the skin that act as scaffolding to lift and hold soft facial tissues in place, giving longer-lasting results than most other kinds of sutures.
SKINFILL hyaluronic acid fillers
People in Asia prefer nose and chin reshaping for a 3D looking appearance. This is when fillers can be used. It is one of the strongest growing markets with a growth of 8-12% yearly.
SKINFILL is used to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, restore lost volume and reshape facial features. It is developed based on the patented COESIX® Plus technology, an effective cross-linking technology that allows the filler to be optimally balanced between duration and moldability. SKINFILL is made of hyaluronic acid, which is naturally occurring in the human body and cross-linked with butanediol diglycidyl ether (BDDE) for increased stability. Together with collagen and elastin, hyaluronic acid is responsible for the skin’s youthful appearance.
RELIFE provides HCPs with the knowledge, training and products they need to respond to their patients’ desires through a standardised educational platform ICME (Innovation and Consciousness in Medical Education). RELIFE partners HCPs to create the results they want through conscious innovation of aesthetic solutions. The company prides itself on being a brand that patients and HCPs can rely on and trust to:
Provide patient-centred care with a science-based approach
- Develop and manufacture safe and effective products
- Work with HCPs to bring conscious innovation and solutions to meet patients’ needs
- Partner with scientific and medical communities to develop and deliver continuous medical education
Introducing RELIFE to Asia
Malaysia is the 5th country in Asia, after Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines and Indonesia to launch RELIFE. To introduce the RELIFE concept of science, art and beauty to Asia, RELIFE has commissioned a rising star in the Asian art world, Monica Hapsari, to create a series of 7 paintings, called the Masterpieces of Beauty. A painter by talent, Monica Hapsari’s artworks focus on human facial expressions and interpretations of beauty. All the commissioned paintings incorporate Asian perceptions of beauty blended with the Renaissance concepts of science and art.
One of the paintings from this series, in the RELIFE colours of dark blue, gold and white, will become the symbol of the RELIFE concept of science and art combining to produce beauty. This painting will be reproduced on all marketing materials used at RELIFE launch events across Asia.
Monica herself will appear to give live painting performances at each of the International Dermatology Aesthetic Surgery Summit (i-DASS) launch events to introduce RELIFE to the aesthetic medical community. i-DASS is being held as a post-conference gala dinner following an international event which gathered the who’s who of medical aesthetics on a platform of experience and expertise sharing.
At the end of each of the i-DASS launch events in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, all the paintings from the Masterpieces of Beauty series will be sold at closed-door auctions across the six countries. Proceeds from these auctions will be channeled to Smiles Asia, a global alliance of charities working together to share beauty and happiness by giving children with cleft lip and palate back their smiles and confidence. RELIFE has raised more than RM90,000 for Smiles Asia from the four paintings sold in the prior events in Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines and Indonesia. To find out more about Smiles Asia, please visit https://www.smileasia.org.