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No pain, more gain
LONG gone are the days when looking good meant having to endure the pain of aesthetics treatments equivalent to that of child birth. While turning back the clock without going under the scalpel has been a prerequisite for plenty of anti-ageing beauty junkies for years, the latest slew of treatments are not only non-invasive, they also cause minimal pain.
According to Dr WS Heng, who practises at aesthetics centre IDS Clinic, the demand for treatments that didn't require popping a Xanax to cope with the ouch factor probably began about three to five years ago.
"Previously patients didn't have much of a choice with regard to pain and discomfort during treatments," says Dr Heng. "For example, it was common knowledge that lasers are painful. But now, laser treatments that are almost painless with no downtime are the standard in the industry."
The doctor hopes that with technological breakthroughs in the comfort levels of procedures, people will be more willing to try out treatments such as threadlifts, radio frequency skin tightening like Thermage or skin firming procedures like High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU).
And this uptick in pain-free aesthetics corresponds to the increased popularity of laser treatments that achieve results with limited pain, says the director of a leading distributor of aesthetic equipment Skin MD, Gladys Cheng. Ms Cheng also founded boutique face spa chain Jet Concepts, which specialises in treatments using high-tech aesthetics equipment.
"We are trying to change the 'no pain, no gain' mentality and we figured that the dream facial is to deliver effective results with no pain," adds Ms Cheng, a veteran of 15 years in the aesthetics industry. "In fact about 30 per cent of our customers are males and we see a 5 per cent increase each year."
Whether or not you're a pain-averse male, the latest in aesthetics technology means you no longer have to live with saggy jowls, clogged pores, less-than-silky skin or even crooked teeth.
Those who generally dread a visit to the dentist might approach this new treatment with some trepidation: apart from directing laser beams to the surface of skin, the IDS Laser Lift also fires beams of varying wavelengths to the interior of your mouth. Thankfully, the actual procedure is anything but a dentophobe's worst nightmare. Apart from a mild sensation of heat and a slight tingling, the quick (45-minute) procedure is relatively pain-free.
Best for tightening nasolabial folds - those parentheses-looking lines on the sides of one's mouth - the technique focuses the laser's energies intraorally to penetrate into the soft tissue of skin to stimulate the production of collagen. Two further steps targeting the exterior of the face works on deeper imperfections and generates heat deep within the connective tissues for even greater tightening. Immediately patients are able to see a more pronounced V-shaped visage and luminosity. Over time, think of it as a subtle face lift without any pain or down time. Up to five sessions might be needed for best results and the treatment could help maintain the effects of the more intense skin-tightening procedure Thermage.
- IDS Laser Lift, S$1,250 (excluding GST) per session
Manual extraction of icky blackheads and other gunk trapped in pores is a common step in professional facials. But if your threshold for pain isn't stratospheric, perhaps getting the bejeezus squeezed out of your skin is the last thing you need. Well, thank the beauty deities for a facial that cleanses and exfoliates skin using a blast of saline and oxygen dispensed at supersonic pressure.
Developed by - we kid you not - Russian rocket scientists, the deep cleansing blast is followed by the removal of black- and whiteheads using a hygienic suction machine. Besides clear pores, Jet Concepts' Jet Facial also massages the lymph nodes to aid drainage and improve circulation, while ridding dead skin cells and dirt to prep skin for better absorption of skincare ingredients.
And if you've overdosed on laser treatments, the Jet Cell Lift is a gentler way to achieve brighter and more lifted skin. Alternating currents stimulate cells to produce new, natural collagen and as much as that sounds at least uncomfortable, the process is completely pain free. After a cocktail of skin goodies such as amino acid-rich caviar, anti-wrinkle ingredient hexapeptide and hyaluronic acid is infused into skin, red light therapy is employed to boost cells with energy for added rejuvenation. Expect visibly sharpened facial contours and even slightly lifted brows, plumped-up skin and, of course, thoroughly cleansed skin.
- The Jet Facial is S$88 for first-timers and S$150 per session thereafter; and the Jet Cell Lift is S$98 for first-timers and S$180 per session thereafter
No-stress tress removal
Mention "IPL" to fans of the latest beauty treatments and you'd likely be met with a cringe in reply. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) has been used as a hair removal treatment for years, dispensing high levels of light energy that is absorbed by the pigments of hair follicles, which in turn destroys the hair. It also happened to induce a sensation that is a cross between having your skin snapped by a highly elastic, thread-thin rubber band, and being stung by an electrically charged bee.
To eradicate the excruciating pain associated with IPL, the doctor-founders of French aesthetics practice Estheclinic developed a new IPL treatment that gradually heats the dermis to a temperature that is optimal for damaging the hair follicle and preventing re-growth, without the jaw-clenching level of pain. Available in the chain's first outpost in Asia on Tras Street, the Silky Smooth Permanent Hair Removal IPL Treatment is completely pain free. Instead, customers feel a warm sensation that is slightly hotter around sensitive areas like the bikini line but is painless, in part due to the fact that the handpiece is moved around the skin rather than held in place to emit zaps - as was the case with its predecessors. The treatment is twice as fast as traditional IPL therapy, and is clinically proven to remove 80 to 90 per cent of hair in six to 10 sessions.
Unlike IPL machines of yore, which could cause burns on tanned or darker skin tones (because the rays zone in on melanin), Estheclinic's is safe even for the darkest skin tones. And did we also mention that unlike traditional treatments that prohibit any sun exposure prior to and after an IPL session, the Silky Smooth procedure doesn't involve similar side effects? Quite the crucial bonus for us tropical dwellers.
- The Estheclinic Silky Smooth Permanent Hair Removal IPL Treatment starts from a promotional price of S$48 for underarms till 31 March 2016
Smile like you mean it
Achieving a perfectly straight, ivory-white smile typically involves plenty of pain - both emotionally as one is financially drained, and physically. Instead of painful adjustments and tightening of braces traditionally used to straighten teeth - and not forgetting the painful extractions of molars to make way for the shifting of teeth during braces or aligners treatment, director of Smile Inc Dr Ernest Rex Tan has created a procedure that does not require painful extractions, neither does it require the wearing of painful wires, brackets or aligners.
According to Dr Tan, traditional braces basically move the teeth, which takes time, is painful and may end up with relapses or the need to wear retainers for a long period of time. The prosthodontics specialist created a procedure, simply called Straight White Teeth, which melds a multitude of techniques to align crooked teeth by reshaping them in a painless procedure. Teeth are selectively contoured and veneers in porcelain and resin are applied to the teeth to achieve the desired effect. This takes one to two visits in most situations and cost a lot less than metal braces or clear aligners.
- Smile Inc Straight White Teeth, from S$1,000 depending on teeth condition and level of misalignment