BLLNR TRIES: HIFU At The Aesthetic Studio
What exactly is HIFU and will it make me look 10 years younger?
These are exactly the questions I went armed with for my consultation with Dr Jonathan Lee at The Aesthetics Studio in Mount Elizabeth Orchard. You see, I consider myself somewhat of a beauty maven and having heard HIFU being bandied around by those in the know, I thought it was about time I gave it a go. Plus, being on the other side of my late 30's and having two beautiful, but tiring sprogs at home, there's no amount of facials or lotions and potions that are really erasing these old lines of mine. But before we delve into the treatment, let's just outline exactly what this relatively new treatment is all about.
HIFU - What is it
HIFU stands for high intensity focused ultrasound. It's a laser treatment that is used for skin tightening as the ultrasound energy encourages collagen production, which in turn, results in firmer skin. Using the ultrasound energy, the skin just below the surface is targeted and the ultrasound energy causes this tissue to heat rapidly. Once these cells are at the optimal temperature, they experience something called cellular damage, which although it sounds scary but in actual fact, it stimulates the cells to produce more collagen, which, as we all know, is good for skin tightening and firming. HIFU is ideal for fine lines, smile lines, double chins, forehead wrinkles, frown lines, crows feet and cheek fat.
Well, let me just start by saying that although I had in my mind that I wanted to try this new buzz word in aesthetics, that's not to say that I was going to have the treatment. You see Dr Lee is a true professional and gave me one of the most thorough consultations I have ever had. After removing all my make-up, my skin was thoroughly examined, my lifestyle was gone through, my needs and my concerns were talked about and all the possible options were set out. To give you an example, the lines under my eyes bother me but as I often wear glasses, Dr Lee explained that they're somewhat covered so maybe we opt for a different treatment to treat the crows feet which are seen when I wear glasses. He also pointed out that as my face is thin, he wouldn't use the machine too much over the cheeks as HIFU can dissolve fats and would give my face a hollow look which can make one look older which is just counterintuitive. We went through all my possible options from simple Botox, lasers to the more invasive surgery options before deciding that as I didn't want to go down the surgery route (too scary) and as I had tried botox and filler before, that HIFU would be the best option to treat my skin from within.
So, after I had decided to go for HIFU, it was off to the treatment room where Dr Lee's lovely nurse Jacqueline put numbing cream on my face and as we sat chatting waiting for it to take full effect, I almost forgot I was in a doctor's office about to have a laser treatment. As it was about to begin, I asked Nurse Jacqueline, who had had the procedure done herself several times (and looks fabulous by the way) what it felt like; she described it as tiny ant bites and once it began, I instantly understood what she meant. Having just had a baby, I was a little bit arrogant about my pain threshold and declined the stress ball - big mistake and I found myself asking for it about ten minutes into the procedure. Is it painful? Yes. Is it horribly painful? No. It feels exactly like tiny ant bites but sensing discomfort levels Dr Lee paused every once in a while to let me catch my breath.
My HIFU treatment was done in two batches, the first one was for deeper collagen stimulation and the second focused more on the fine lines around the eyes with the whole treatment all in all taking around an hour.
Well I bruise like a peach anyway so I was expecting some bruising and yup, I got it. Around four days later my cheeks on both sides had a hint of green from the bruising but I expected it and Dr Lee told me it might happen as my face is the thinnest part of me. He told me to be patient with the results (not my strong point) and that it can take around eight to ten weeks to see any clear differences but I started to see and feel improvement around two to three weeks later. My skin had a glow, the fine lines under my eyes that are normally where my concealer collects were definitely reduced and my forehead was way smoother. But where I really noticed a difference was how my skin felt; it feels tight and springy and unbelievably smooth. One of the concerns I told Dr Lee about was mainly the unsightly sagging in my jowls and neck that had started to creep in and I'm glad to report, even after a couple of weeks this had reduced hugely and is pretty much gone now.
To be honest, after the treatment I wandered why I hadn't done it sooner. Sure, you can do a quick fix with injectables and facials do go a long way, but HIFU has brought back that elasticity in my skin that age robbed me of. While the procedure did smart somewhat, I have to give props to Nurse Jacqueline, who kindly held my hand and counted me through the more painful parts, taking my mind off any pain in a flash. For best results, they do say to do HIFU every 18 months or so so, Dr Lee, see you in a year or so!