Skin Deep


How we feel about our looks affects our lives but is an aesthetic procedure something that should be considered?

‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ but what if no matter how you change your hairstyle, wardrobe and make up, you’re still unhappy with your looks? How we look impacts our confidence at any age. However, if you are a young adult who is about to start a career or if you are looking for the love of your life, your looks may have a deeper effect on you than most. You may even wish to look completely different than you do now.

With this in mind, it would be no surprise if you or your friends have looked into going through an aesthetic procedure to change parts of your face or body that y

Aesthetic procedure vs plastic surgery

Plastic surgery is used to repair defects and reconstruct facial and body defects from birth disorders, trauma, burns and disease. According to Dr. Premitha, an aesthetic procedure is simpler than plastic surgery. It has less downtime and enhances rather than drastically changes a person’s looks. Dr. Premitha adds, “It doesn’t involve days of recovery and there’s less scarring from cutting and stitching. Aesthetic procedures do not use general anaesthesia and can treat skin conditions, acne scarring as well as changes due to weight loss and childbirth.”

Worldwide, procedures such as skin treatments for acne and laser hair removal are popular among young people. Dr. Premitha says that these are also on the rise in Malaysia especially laser hair removal procedures among young women. Double eyelid surgery and nose augmentations, which required serious surgery in the past, have both evolved and can be done without opening up facial structures. Instead injected nose fillers and strategically placed sutures are used, depending on various considerations for each patient. These aesthetic procedures are on the rise as well.

18 and above

In Malaysia, the minimum age to undergo an aesthetic procedure is 18-years-old but younger patients can be considered as in the case of severe burn victims. “Personally, I would prefer the patient to be at least 20 or 21 years old. Even if an 18-year-old patient is legally allowed to have an aesthetic procedure, I would usually ask them to have an older person or family member to be present during consultation everyone can fully understand the procedure and also the risks involved,” elaborates Dr. Premitha.

Even if a young person is 18, they might not be mature enough especially with regards to what they want. “This is why consultation with a good doctor is important. Some patients who are 18 may not be mature enough to undergo a procedure. The consultation is the time when the doctor will be able to find out whether patients know what they really want.”

Dr. Premitha also says that young people may be more susceptible to following fads such as wanting a V-shaped face. “This can be achieved via Botox and in extreme cases, cutting and shaving off a portion of the mandible (lower jaw bone). However, when the fad becomes old news, the patient may regret making such a drastic change.”

The other reason why there’s a minimum age for an aesthetic procedure is that there’s still room to physically grow, at that age. For instance, in the case of breast augmentation, Dr. Premitha explains that some women may develop breasts later.

No regrets

According to the Ministry of Health, a medical practitioner who wishes to practice aesthetic medicine must be fully registered with the Malaysian Medical Council and possess a current and valid Annual Practising certificate. However, there has been a rise in unlicensed aesthetic clinics and aesthetic procedures offered at places such as beauty and slimming salons.

“Places that offer services where they inject substances into your body need qualified staff because in the event of an emergency, they’ll be able to reverse whatever they did without endangering the patient’s life. A doctor’s clinic will also be equipped with all the materials and tools needed during an emergency,” stresses Dr. Premitha.

Unlicensed clinics and staff may also use products that aren’t registered or those that contain banned ingredients. “A responsible doctor should only use quality products that are fully US Food and Drug Administration approved and regulated so the patient’s safety is not compromised.” There is also the risk of disfigurement due to irresponsible parties who do not prioritise their patient’s safety.

Apart from the products used at the clinic, it is very important to have all consultations with the doctor who will perform the procedure. Dr. Premitha explains that this is so the doctor will be able to understand the reason why his or her patient wants to undergo the procedure. Besides that, they’ll also be aware of any allergies or health issues the patient may have and avoid using products that may cause problems.

Think long and hard

It is important to know that an aesthetic procedure isn’t something to take lightly. On the positive side, enhanced looks can help with career advancement. “We see a lot of men who come in before they start a new career. The most popular procedure for them is the removal of male breasts which may have been a source of low confidence.” Dr. Premitha says that she sees a change in her patients where they become more confident and happier after undergoing an aesthetic procedure.

Dr. Premitha advises that everyone, especially young people who want to undergo an aesthetic procedure, to do their research by finding out as much as they can via the internet and also going for consultations. “However, don’t believe everything you read on the internet,” she cautions. “If you’re unsure, bring an older adult to your consultation and do not hesitate to have a second consultation and ask lots of questions. Remember to also make sure that your doctor is registered and certified to perform such procedures. Besides being registered and certified, the doctor needs to also have years of experience in performing aesthetic procedures in order for the patient to achieve what they want.”

ou do not like. However, going through an aesthetic procedure is a serious matter and should not to be taken lightly.

Aesthetic physician, cosmetic surgeon, and anti-ageing and total wellness specialist, Dr. Alice Premitha from Ageless Medispa gives her expert opinion on young adults and aesthetic procedures.

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