So, I am not sure of what your take is on aesthetics and plastic surgery. And I’m sure there will be tons of people who will or might criticize. But I have always been very open about what I do, have done, or have thought about doing to myself.
For some people, plastic and aesthetics is necessary. For others, it is vanity. And for people like myself, sane people, who aren’t overly concerned with how we look, but want to look the best we can and own our own looks, whatever age we may be.. then, it boils down to different priorities.
If you are all for the natural, and think, no, women should age gracefully, with no touch-ups etc, and just eat healthy, and they’ll be fine.. Well. Great for you. I’m not going to rain on your “i’m-using-lemons-as-deodorant” parade. I tried using lemon juice as deodorant once, and even I would not have wanted to sit next to me on a train that day.
As you can see from many of my photos on Instagram, despite the rapidly changing hairstyles, I look like me. I do not like doing things that make me look different from who my momma gave birth to. In fact, my very first aesthetics treatment (if you don’t consider the multiple IPL sessions) was a filler. That in itself was great, but when I went for a follow up, I was given a botox jab near my cheeks, that the doctor figured would help lessen the chances of a line that I’ve hated, coming back.
For two whole weeks, I lost my smile. Well, not “lost” it exactly. More like.. My face couldn’t recall where my lips started and my cheeks ended.
In most of the photos during those two weeks, I looked eerily like The Joker. And I’ve never done Botox on anywhere other than my jaw line, ever again.
Those who have gone for surgery and own it, good on you. This is not a critique of you either, because I genuinely hope that you are happy. I know for a fact that money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you great boobs. Unfortunately, I don’t have that kind of money, or you would already have seen it reflected on my boobs.
Now, I do know many bloggers have been sponsored, and for a certain sum, with more freebies thrown on, have written glowing reviews about certain doctors. I’m not one of those. Firstly, I’m not a blogger. *shudder* Though, at one point of time, a long time ago, I would confess to having been one.
Secondly, I will be upfront about how much I paid at the time, when I did it, and yes, there have been times where I was given good discounts, usually because I have a friendship or prior relationship with these doctors. But I have paid, lots and lots of money. Unlike many of these cheerleading types who prefer posting photos of themselves to make money off it.
I have had MANY. MANY painful memories in my past about how I looked, and certain insecurities that both mean girls, and some horrid boys, have not only highlighted, but mercilessly teased me about. One guy, went even so far as to spread rumours about me to his friends, and I will never forget them sniggering at me – as I pretended to be none-the-wiser – when I once went into Zouk.
So I am writing this for the people who feel as I did at one point, helpless. This is for you. And I hope that you find whatever it is that helps you. And if you have questions, feel free to ask.
I am going to be a listing Doctors and treatments that I know, trust, or have used. What I think their specialities are, and what I’ve gone to these clinics for.
I’m sure there are many others that are equally great. And by now, there are probably more treatments out there that are more advanced than some of the ones I’ve described. So if you’re comfortable with your own Doctor, perhaps you can chat with them about the latest, most updated versions or alternatives for these treatments.
But these are the ones that worked for me, and the stories behind them. So here goes.
I am half-Indian. My Chinese mother did not even notice when I got hairy, because to her, her three lone ranger strands on her leg were already a shock to her system. She was the one who also kept telling me that my eyebrows – that looked like two furry caterpillars mating on my forehead – were beautiful, “just like Brooke Shields’, and refused to let me get them tweezed. So, she wasn’t quite what I would call… trend observant. To be fair, I didn’t notice when puberty happened to me either. I had run home crying when I was 9, and my male best friend had teased me for wearing a bra. I swore I would never ever wear a bra again. But tell that to my soon to be 37-year-old lingerie-addicted self.
It was when a mean classmate teased me once when I folded up a PE t-shirt in Pri 5, revealing strands of hair that sneaked out from under my sleeves, that I became aware of this situation and I was at loss at what to do. A Sunday School friend’s mother who overheard my tearful account of this with her daughter, kindly suggested to my mother to get me some veet, and a tweezer.
Unfortunately, I learned therefore, at the tender age of 10, that I was allergic to Veet. And that a Tweezer is pretty much hapless against bushwhacking the long-lost hanging gardens of Babylon. My mother helpfully suggested that I should just grab handfuls, and yank them out by the roots. But if any one who has encountered this problem before, they’d know this is about as effective as getting one neighbourhood police post officer, to disband a full-blown protest of tree-huggers.
It was then I started my uphill battle with hirsutism.
At 18, after countless, but very quick and effective waxes with Cecilia while she was still at Casey’s (seriously, she still is the best waxor in Singapore bar none, but while you’re a student, paying $80 every two weeks is very expensive), thousands of razors, and many pairs of tweezers after, my mother led a teary me to Bella Skincare where I endured close to 40 sessions of hair epilation which she paid $5000 for. I think it was close to session 35, where I was seeing little to no change in the growth of my underarms, that I finally gave up. It may have worked for others, but it just wasn’t the treatment for me.
I was still feeling pretty bereft of all hope when a pretty famous modelling friend of mine introduced me to IPL at Suvin’s. She’d been going, and it’s the best thing she’s done. Well, while it was dark and dingy (and those days, Suvin’s was located at Orchard Emerald) it was run by Indian women, who were deft at threading, and who would know hair removal better than another Indian woman? Plus, it would mean that they knew which light frequency would work on ladies with darker skins. (While I am not that dark, I had been turned away at other salons before because my skin tone would mean the IPL would be less effective on me.) So ladies with darker skins, fret not, ask around. Suvin’s might have a solution for you.
I went, rather infrequently at the time, as sessions then cost $250 each. No anaesthetic cream was involved. Just you, an Indian lady with some ice, and usually, a very sweaty massage bed after thanks to occasionally, blinding pain to my nether bits.
It was the first time I had seen any reduction of any sort, though still, nothing like the miraculous clear blue skies my friend had encountered.
It was only years later, that a friend told me about her experience with YAG lasers. She herself had had issues with IPL, and seen little reduction of hair growth. She recommended a doc that charged something like $80 per shot.
Some technical explanation: YAG (a long-pulsed laser) and IPL (intense pulsed light) are both approved for hair removal of all skin types. But darker skin tends to have problems because the increased melanin in the skin, compromises the targeted hairs absorption of the laser. YAG is definitely more painful, and I would not suggest using it unless IPL has already failed to work for you. IPL worked a little for me, but it completely worked for my sister, so try what is best for you. For YAG the shot area is about the size of a 5c coin, much smaller than an IPL wand which tends to be longer and broader, and feels like a rubberband snapping on your skin. So sessions take a lot longer. And I highly recommend that you do not get a doctor that charges you “per shot” fired, unless you only have a small target area to work on. YAG however, does seem to work better on dark skins.
Eventually, it was only when I reached my late twenties, that I finally could afford treatments.
I eventually went to Neuglow, where I signed up for a package of 5 treatments for my underarms, legs and a brazilian. I signed up for another 5 sessions to include my face, and whatever else that was still refusing to be decimated.
I paid a total of $8000.
Zero regrets. Even though I did get burnt on my face a little one time.
About a decade later, I sometimes have to yank out a few strays with a tweezer from time to time, but other than that – it finally made me feel confident. Like I wasn’t a freakshow.
Suvin’s Electrolysis and Laser Centre
Address: Orchard Plaza, #06-15 ,Singapore.
Handphone: +65 9799 0004
2. Vaser Liposuction
Shocked? Many people who did this probably won’t admit to it. But, I will for a few reasons.
First, let me explain. I used to have what some call, saddle bags. An unsightly lump of fat, at the sides of my thighs. I wish I still had photos of myself before and after. But I did this in 2009. This was a part of me that I worked on constantly. I did all those side-v’s. Scissoring my legs. Spent hours on those thigh machines you see in gyms. Nothing helped. Even at my skinniest, it was still there. It was just my shape.
In 2008 -2010, I was in a particularly unpleasant relationship. I stayed with him for close to 2 years because I thought that this was the guy I would land up with as, I hate to admit it, but it was fear-driven. I was turning 30, and I felt like if I didn’t land up with him, I would be single for life. So, while I don’t think I was very happy, I tried my best in this relationship, and tried to make the best of it. I gave it my all, and despite many unreasonable requests and having to cater to a very fussy, grumpy, and borderline verbally abusive person, I was devastated when he told me that the only reason he was not marrying me, was because I had “a jiggly butt” amongst a host of other physical imperfections.
When we had split up for two weeks in 2009, I went for this surgery. Whether it was for him at that point, or for my own confidence again, I can’t tell you. He was definitely part of the motivation. But also, my self-esteem, which had been dragged down to an all time low, needed a huge boost.
My mom cried when she learnt about the surgery when I needed help with the bandages one day.
In hindsight, I know now, that if I ever had a daughter, and I found out that she went under the knife for a guy… I would probably want to kill him myself.
Two weeks after the surgery, I got back with the guy. I had completely recovered by then, and he hardly noticed the change until I pointed it, and he was pleased with the results.
It made me wonder therefore, if I had really needed it back then.
That said, again, I have no regrets. This was a part of me that despite all the exercise I had done, remained a problem area. I was not taking a shortcut, because I had already tried for many frustrating years. The procedure did change how clothes fit on me. How I feel when I am in a swimsuit. And while this is a very extreme surgery to do, I don’t think I would change a thing.
Again, I used Neuglow, and Shabena, who was the marketing person at the time recommended Dr. Gerard Tan. A friend of mine mentioned that she had used him for an eyebag-removal surgery, and since I could not tell at all that she had done anything, just that she looked better, younger, and fresher, I figured I would go along with him.
When I first met him, I was ambitious and wanted to suck out everything from my body. Maybe a part of me wanted an extreme makeover, and pictured this guy dropping his jaw if he ever saw me again.
Dr. Tan was very professional though, and told me that all I did need, was the saddlebag removal, because yes, that was a part that could not have “disappeared” with exercise. Everything else that I wanted, could be toned and tightened with hard work on my part. So for $3000 in 2009, I had vaser lipo. As I am very scar and keloid-prone, Dr Tan was particularly careful, he made one small incision on the outer-sides of my thighs, inserted the wand to melt the fat, and sucked it out. Two hours later, there was a litre worth of yellow gunk in a bottle. And I spent the next two weeks in compression garments that felt basically, like Spanx.
I also had to go for two sessions of RF, where heat was used to smoothen out lumps and bumps, and all in all, after tax, purchasing the compression gear, the operation, plus the aftercare, everything cost somewhere below $5000.
I’m not sure what the prices are now, but, considering it is Singapore, I’d definitely recommend Dr. Tan if this is a surgery you are considering. While I know many people tend to travel overseas.. I have my reservations about this, especially if things go wrong.
Notes if you are going for this.
A good doctor will
- discuss with you where you want the “scar”. Most times, they will try to to hide it where possible.
- discuss how this will affect you, and why you want the operation.
- not upsell and try to get you to remodel your body like you’re a house under renovation.
- walk away from the consult, to let you think about it.
- give you creams to help with the scarring.
- advise you on aftercare.
- have a good track record, and have various photos of patients who they have worked on.
- take photos of you before and after, and draw lines with a marker on you, to figure out what they will do, as humiliating as this process may be.
3.Botox slimming on my face.
I have tried this at various doctors, each have their own methods. All of them work. And I like how it makes my face look less harsh. While others might not see it, people tend to be overly critical or conscious of their own flaws. I am conscious of what I deem to be a rather strong, masculine jaw. The botox slimming, helps my face look smaller. While imperceptible to most, it makes me look better in photos, and thus, makes me feel more confident, and better about myself.
There you have it ladies and gentlemen… I guess the only other things I haven’t talked about, are the aesthetics clinics that I’ve visited overseas.
That’s a story soon to come.