Dermal fillers in Singapore: Risks, cost, and can it really give you a toned, sharper visage?

Dermal fillers in Singapore: Risks, cost, and can it really give you a toned, sharper visage?

Shade and shape

Text: Emily Heng

Image: Instagram | @kimkardashian

Sharp, chiselled features, à la Kim K's defined jawline and Bella Hadid's glacier-sharp cheekbones, are often acquired through expert-levels of bronzing, contouring, and highlighting. It is a skill cultivated through hours of experimentation, sweat, and, sometimes, one too many makeup wipes.

For those still struggling to grasp said skillset (we feel you), an alternative solution that requires no effort on your part: semi-permanent face contouring aka dermal fillers. Cut from a different cloth from neurotoxins (i.e. toxins destructive to nerve tissue) such as Botox and Dysport, it is a procedure proven to be safer and subtler than most — at least, if you go to the right doctor. Ours is Dr. Kevin Chua, founder and aesthetican of Drs Chua and Partners. He answers our burning questions, below, namely: can a contoured, defined visage become a permanent (with sustained treatments, of course) reality for us with dermal fillers? And are our bronzing and highlighter kits now a thing of the past? We find out.

What are dermal fillers exactly and how do they work?
Dermal fillers are made out of materials that are most commonly found in the body. Typically, they are made out of hyaluronic acid. When injected into tissue, it will attract moisture or water molecules to itself, giving an immediate filling effect. Over the next two weeks or so, it will continue attracting water to itself so the injected area looks volumised, bouncier, and smoother.

Wait. But how does that contribute a sharper, contoured visage?
Think of derma-fillers as putty. You can mold it as you desire. So, if you're looking for a Korean, V-faced sort of look, doctors can inject dermal fillers into the chin to sharpen up the chin. You can also inject into the jawline, and depending on what you're looking for, a doctor will then shape it as to your request. As long as you don't touch it for the next couple of hours, it will then set.

If someone was to request for the highly-contoured, sunken-in cheeks of Kim Kardashian, would it possible?
Yes. It really depends on what the person requests. If you inject a lot of it, then you can definitely get the big, dramatic effect as intended. I do, however, think that people need to remember that what you get is not immediate, though. The final result is only truly seen two weeks later.

Who would you say makes an ideal candidate for this treatment?
Anyone at the age of 35 onwards, maybe younger if you smoke.

Interesting. So you would recommend this to people with ageing skin?
Definitely. To understand this, we have to look at the effects of ageing. When you age, you lose volume. You tend to lose volume at anchor points of the face, which namely are the cheeks. Another anchor point is the temples. When you lose volume at the cheeks, the skin starts to hang — you'll get jowls, while folds and laugh lines start to deepen. That's basically where you inject dermal fillers in, as once you deposit the material in at a certain depth, you have a filling effect. What I like to do off the bat is under-correct, because over a period of the time the water will absorb more water molecules towards itself.

Are there any candidates you would deem unsuitable for this procedure?
I'd say that if you had any prior surgical complications, you are not suitable for dermal fillers. For example, if you've experienced any bleeding complications and so forth during surgery. If you're on medication that stops your blood from clotting properly, you're not suitable either, or if you're morphine therapy. If you're on aspirin, as well, make sure to inform the doctor. But yes, it's mostly a very safe procedure. [Laughs]

What are some of the risks of having dermal fillers injected into the skin?
Some risks include permanent blindness, lumps... Fillers should seldom be used on the forehead, for example, because if it catches or blocks a blood vessel, you can get a backup of blood and it will cause a sizable lump due to the blockage experienced.

How long do dermal fillers normally last?
On average it will last from four to nine months. Optimistically, it may even last from nine months to a year. You see, how it works is that hyaluronic acid — when you look at it under a microscope — looks like these long strands. And if you fold up the strands, between the individual bits that happen to meet like a U-shape, you have links in between. We call this cross-linking. The more cross-linking you have in hyaluronic acid, the denser it tends to be, and the longer it will last. Because once you inject the material into the skin, the body will try and get rid of it. Typically, with fillers, once the body gets ride of the last molecule, the effects of the fillers disappear.

How frequently would you recommend touch-ups?
You touch up as needed. There's no set time or frequency with fillers.

What can potential candidates do to prepare themselves for this procedure?
There's very little kind of prep required. Hydrate yourself adequately. More important is what not to do, after. The doctor has taken time and effort to mold the material so you don't want to go touch it and massage it. You don't want to shift everything out of place because you need things to set. Basically, don't go massaging your face immediately after. Sports or swimming, on the other hand, is fine.

How much do dermal fillers cost?
It's a wide range. Think anywhere from $200 to $800.

How long does it take to get dermal fillers injected in your face?
It depends on the skill of the doctor. It ranges from a few minutes to half an hour. It also depends on the look you're trying to achieve because it's all about symmetry. Depending on where you're injecting, maybe you'll need more fillers on one side than the other, and that takes time.

Let's say you're not pleased with the results the doctor has provided. Does that mean you're stuck with this face for an extended period of time?
Well, with hyaluronic acid, if you don't like the result, you can inject a substance called hyaluronidase. So, that basically breaks down the material. It will then be naturally excreted from your body. Bear in mind that this is only applicable if the fillers are made of hyaluronic acid, though!

What are some common side-effects from dermal fillers?
Bruising. Lumps, bumps... not at my practice, though. [Laughs]


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