According to Chinese face reading, people with large nostrils tend to spend more money (either on themselves or on others). A short nose indicates a hard worker, while a long nose indicates a leader. Looking at this description, it seems like my natural nose means I most probably won’t ever get rich nor be my own boss. There’s nothing about that which I like.
The Chinese also believe that when you change a feature on your face, you change your destiny. While plastic surgery may be a little too drastic for most, fillers are a great, non-invasive, non-drastic way to alter your appearance.
For the longest time ever (say, 15 years now), I’ve been pretty conscious about the way my nose looked. From the front, I looked as if I had four eyes – two real eyes and two somewhere in the middle of my face. From the side, I looked like a pancake slightly curved inward. Every time I looked forward, I could feel my nostrils poring into another person’s gaze. I hated it. A lot. I’d often wish my nose looked normal. I still do, actually, and ever since I did dermal fillers for the first time a couple of years ago, I’ve come to realise that I can’t ever live without them now.
In November last year, I decided to drop by EPW Laser + Medical Aesthetics Clinic to get my nose touched up with more fillers, especially since my previous session had been about 5 months prior to that.
As someone who’s vain and has got very sensitive skin, I only trust doctors and dermatologists with anything and everything to do with my face. Personally, I also like it when doctors explain things to me using science because that’s just how I understand things. I’m sorry but the usual run-off-the-mill facial therapists just don’t cut it for me. I had agreed to a fillers treatment at EPW Laser + Medical Aesthetics Clinic (used to be known as EP Wong Surgery) because all their procedures are performed by the two experienced doctors there – Dr E.P. Wong and Dr M.L. Tan.
The doctor in charge of my fillers treatment was Dr Tan, whom I found to be quite approachable and open to discussion about what I wanted for my face. He was very meticulous throughout my treatment, starting from my consultation session right up till my final review about 3 months later. He did not perform the treatment on me that November, as I still had some fillers in my nose, and he preferred that it went away before he injected a new, different one.
So, trusting Dr Tan’s advice, I waited. As Jean-Jacques Rousseau once said, patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet. When it was finally time for my treatment, I was, in a way, overjoyed. Now I didn’t have to worry about looking like a four-eyed freak again!
Before I got to meet Dr Tan for the second time, and just like my first visit to the clinic, a patient care counsellor invited me to take a seat at one of the private “pods (as I call them),” served me some specially brewed hawthorn tea and briefed me about my procedure. In November, it was Angela and in February this year, it was Cynthia. Both of them were very nice and friendly and answered my questions as best as they could.
The first step of every fillers procedure, after consulting the doctor, is to have some numbing cream applied on the areas where the fillers are to be injected. You’d have to wait for about half an hour before you realise your nose feels kind of different.
The fillers I got was Voluma, a product from Juvéderm. Voluma generally lasts up to 18 months, but Dr Tan gave me 15. Nevertheless, this still means that I don’t need a touch-up within a year!
The whole procedure was quite all right, actually, if you discount my nerves. Cynthia was there to help Dr Tan out and she very nicely held my hands because she knew I was nervous. There wasn’t any pain, though I could feel the fillers going up my nose at some point. It felt more like a dull ache without the ache, if you get what I mean.
Before Dr Tan injected anything into my nose, he made some markings along it, which explain the small dashes on my face in the “Before” picture above. In the “Before” picture, my nose still has some fillers from a previous treatment, so you can imagine how flat it originally is. The fillers were done in a way that made my nose look natural and nobody really noticed the difference afterwards (except me, of course). The best parts were that I had minimal swelling, if at all, and I did not bruise! In the “After” picture, I don’t even have makeup on my nose. Also, I may look a bit weird in the “After” picture but that’s because my nose and the area around it are still numb.
After the session, I rested a bit in one of those little “pods” again and was served more ice-cold hawthorn tea (the weather these days are so unforgiving). My nose took a little more time to return to life but that didn’t stop me from smiling.
Because I know that some of you have questions regarding dermal fillers, I asked Dr Tan a few and here are his responses:
1. How safe are fillers?
When done properly and in expert hands, injection of fillers is extremely safe. Complications if and when they do occur tend to be minor and short-lived, such as redness, swelling and bruising. More serious side effects include allergic reactions, infection, and vascular obstruction. However, significant side effects are very rare, so it’s important not to lose perspective when considering fillers.
2. What types of fillers are there and how long do they generally last for?
Some of the better known dermal fillers in the market are:
Juvederm (Ultra, Ultra Plus, and Voluma): These are made of synthetic Hyaluronic acid (HA) gel, which is a naturally occuring substance in the skin and contributes to its volume and hydration. Juvederm is made by Allergan who also makes Botox. Juverderm fillers are clinically proven to last 12 or 18 months, depending on the particular subtype.
Restylane and Perlane: A non-animal, biodegradable gel composed of Hyaluronic Acid particles. As with other most HA fillers, should last between 9 to 12 months in duration.
Sculptra: This is made of synthetic Poly-L-lactic acid, and is considered stimulatory filler. The material is basically what is found in absorbable stiches used in operations, but ground up into tiny particles. It stimulates new collagen production over a period of months and should last anywhere from 1 to 3 years after injection.
Radiesse: Made of calcium hydroxyapatite is utilized for the correction of moderate to severe wrinkles and folds. This is a longer-lasting filler because the body forms collagen around the microspheres; adding bulk to the injected areas. Radiesse typically lasts about 1 year to 18 months.
3. What are the most common filler treatments desired by patients?
Five years ago, I frequently received requests from patients to correct their laugh lines (folds around the nostrils) and sad lines (at the corners of the mouth). We still do a lot of these kind of cases, however nowadays we also use fillers much more creatively to beautify the face as a whole. This usually involves augmenting noses, cheeks, foreheads and chins so as to bring the face into better proportion and harmony.
4. What are the side effects of fillers, eg. do they cause more frequent nose bleeds or change my sense of smell?
Nose fillers should not affect your sense of smell, nor have they been reported to cause more frequent nose bleed.
5. Who can consider getting fillers?
Fillers are one of the best anti-aging treatments out there at the moment. Most of my patients are usually seeking to look refreshed and more youthful. We can use fillers to help these patients soften lines and folds on their faces, give them more youthful curves and lift up sagging skin. In the younger patient group, I use fillers mostly to enhance and beautify certain features of the faces, for example, to create a higher nose bridge or more prominent chin, to reduce the appearance of dark undereye circles, as well as to brighten dull, lacklustre skin.
6. Who should not consider getting fillers?
Most patients would be suitable for this form of treatment. Strict contraindications include having active infection at the proposed site of injection, documented allergy to one of the filler products, pregnancy and breastfeeding.
7. Can I use a sonic cleansing tool on areas of the face that have fillers?
Yes this should be fine, although preferably try to avoid doing so in the first week after injection of the filler.
EPW Laser + Medical Aesthetics Clinic is located at 302 Orchard Road, Tong Building #17-01, Singapore 238862. You can call them up at +65 6235 5533 or send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The clinic is open from Mondays to Saturdays, from 9am to 7pm.
FRESH FROM THE STYLE STORE
* This is a sponsored treatment. Nonetheless, my opinions are honest and objective.