Dr. Park Ji-Youn: Are Korean slimming treatments long term solutions?

Koreans are widely thought of to be slim and fit, thanks to the advent of picture-perfect K-pop celebs like BTS, Exo, Jun Ji-Hyun, BLACKPINK, and countless others. The truth of this general notion has caused many of my clients to curiously ask me, “Is there a secret Korean weight loss diet I should know about?”

After all, it’s not just glammed up idols who are slim and svelte: Statistics1 show that among the top 10 slimmest countries in the world, Japan and South Korea, which rank at #7 and #9 respectively, are the only two developed nations on that list. Additionally, less than 5% of the South Korean and Japanese population are overweight. 

In my opinion, the simple secret to weight loss is a calorie-deficit diet, and sufficient exercise. The science is simple: Weight loss is all about whether you burn more calories than you take in.

But sometimes, even with the most disciplined of regimens, some of my clients find it near impossible to shed impossibly stubborn fat - think those nagging love handles and double chins. This is where slimming treatments come in—but as a complementary remedy, and not as a be-all and end-all solution.

What are the best fat removal treatments in Singapore?

With the endless myriad of slimming treatment options available today, which one would work best on you? Let’s look at a few of them:

At Ozhean Zoey, our top pick is FreezeMax. Here’s why.

FreezeMax is our proprietary slimming program designed to help our clients achieve maximal fat loss.

How so?

Well, fat loss is firstly a time consuming process that requires trial and error; it takes some experimenting to find out what really works for you. We’ve eliminated this tedious process by narrowing down 4 treatments (Cristal Pro, Radiofrequency, Agnes Melt, Kybella Injections) that’s been clinically proven to work. They each come with their unique selling points, but work synergistically to produce the best results. For example, with Cristal Pro you can reduce up to 30% of fat cells - but sometimes fat loss results in saggy skin so that’s where the skin tightening effects of radiofrequency comes in. 

Second, at Ozhean, we prioritise patient safety over anything else. 

There are many slimming centres out there that claim to yield immediate results - this is not only dangerous but highly unrealistic. As a doctor, I can assure you that any immediate results are usually due to water loss and not actual fat loss. You should always make sure the procedure is clinically backed with a high success rate and safety profile. 

After years of research with my team at Ozhean, I’m proud to say that our FreezeMax program: 

If you would like to have a more informative chat about our slimming program with one of the friendly professionals in our team, feel free to contact us.

What can I do at home to supplement my slimming treatments?

As mentioned earlier, slimming treatments should complement your fat loss efforts. The ideal patient is someone who already has a sound diet and exercise regime. 

Here are some scientifically-backed tips my patients in Korea and Singapore have found to help them accelerate and/or maintain results: 

If you would like to explore a proven and effective way of dealing with stubborn fat, feel free to visit our clinic or book an appointment. Our team would be honoured to help you on your journey toward achieving your dream body.

About Dr. Park Ji Youn

Dr. Park Ji Youn is the founder and managing director of the Ozhean group. As a board certified dermatologist, she has published more than 30 scientific papers on dermatology, and is the creator of Ozhean’s SKIN FIT program, which was conceived in 2015, and continues to successfully retain 80% of its original customers.


  1. https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/which-are-the-thinnest-countries-in-the-world.html
  2. Pourzanjani, A., Quisel, T., & Foschini, L. (2016). Adherent Use of Digital Health Trackers Is Associated with Weight Loss. PloS one, 11(4), e0152504. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0152504
  3. Mason, A. E., Epel, E. S., Aschbacher, K., Lustig, R. H., Acree, M., Kristeller, J., Cohn, M., Dallman, M., Moran, P. J., Bacchetti, P., Laraia, B., Hecht, F. M., & Daubenmier, J. (2016). Reduced reward-driven eating accounts for the impact of a mindfulness-based diet and exercise intervention on weight loss: Data from the SHINE randomized controlled trial. Appetite, 100, 86–93. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2016.02.009
  4. Xiao, Q., Arem, H., Moore, S. C., Hollenbeck, A. R., & Matthews, C. E. (2013). A large prospective investigation of sleep duration, weight change, and obesity in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study cohort. American journal of epidemiology, 178(11), 1600–1610. https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwt180 

Dr. Park Ji Youn: It’s 2022 - it’s time we focus on new melasma treatment approaches that work

If you do a quick Google search, you’ll quickly understand just how many services and products are offered today when it comes to melasma. Dig a little further online, and you’ll also realise that there is a severe lack of knowledge when it comes to treating different types of melasma on different skin tones. The biggest problem melasma patients face is not a lack of treatment options, but a huge shortage of guidance and knowledge.

This is why even with a host of affordable options, melasma patients struggle to find treatment options that actually work long term, do not cause a rebound, and do not worsen the condition of their skin. And let’s not even get started about the fact that some professionals themselves are almost nearly clueless about the true efficacies of the technology they are using on their clients.

Be careful about the types of melasma treatments you pick, as they could make your condition worse.

How should we really treat melasma?

The principles I adhere to for treating pigmentation also apply to melasma, and because this condition is so delicate and tricky, I employ the use of Secret RF microneedling on top of laser treatment. While microneedling is still a relatively new method in pigmentation treatment, several clinical studies1 have already demonstrated the efficacies of microneedling combined with laser toning when it comes to treating recalcitrant melasma. 

In addition, radiofrequency microneedling is very safe and effective, and can be used repeatedly in combination with laser treatments to treat individuals with darker skin. 

However, Secret RF alone is not enough to effectively treat melasma - later in this article I’ll detail how Secret RF and lasers work synergistically to tackle this condition. 

Why Secret RF works for melasma

Dermatologists have postulated that melasma is associated with thinning skin, and this is where Secret RF truly shines: Microneedling has added benefits of thickening the skin and improving its collagen content, leading to a reduction of fine lines, skin tightening, and distinct rejuvenation effects2.  It also improves acne, acne scars, axillary hyperhidrosis (sweaty armpits), and even cellulite3.

In other words, Secret RF brings distinct anti-aging results to the skin when used with lasers to treat melasma. Various studies show that microneedling, combined with laser toning, show distinctly more pronounced and sustained pigmentation improvement in patients. 

As Secret RF triggers collagen and elastin production, our patients often find themselves delighted that apart from healing their melasma, they’ve developed tighter, healthier skin, and a significantly more youthful appearance. And the best part about it is that with the use of numbing creams, there is little to no pain involved for my clients.

A combination of lasers + Secret RF effectively treats melasma

How exactly do these lasers work together with Secret RF to treat melasma?

The importance of finding a melasma treatment approach that works

In many practices, quality pre-procedure discussions are not always available to clients, and this deeply saddens me, as factors such as ethnicity, skin tone and more are all crucial components that your dermatologist needs to understand before using any form of treatment on you. 

After all, melasma treatments only work if your dermatologist actually understands what your skin needs, and fully knows the technology they are using on your skin.

This is why at Ozhean Zoey, we take painstaking measures to make sure that our clients’ laser programs are customised in the way that best suits their condition, skin age, skin thickness, and more. 

If you’re looking for an effective melasma treatment that boasts almost zero downtime, is suitable for all skin types, and obliterates the worry and risk of side effects such as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, you want to explore the benefits of Secret RF combined with Pico Laser treatments. It only takes 1-3 Secret RF and Pico Laser treatment sessions to see significant improvements in your skin. 

Let me help you with your melasma - please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!

About Dr. Park Ji-Youn

Dr. Park Ji-Youn is the founder and managing director of the Ozhean group. As a board certified dermatologist, she has published more than 30 scientific papers on dermatology, and is the creator of Ozhean’s SKIN FIT program, which was conceived in 2015, and continues to successfully retain 80% of its original customers.


  1. Lima E. (2015). Microneedling in facial recalcitrant melasma: report of a series of 22 cases. Anais brasileiros de dermatologia, 90(6), 919–921. https://doi.org/10.1590/abd1806-4841.20154748
  2. Seo, K. Y., Kim, D. H., Lee, S. E., Yoon, M. S., & Lee, H. J. (2013). Skin rejuvenation by microneedle fractional radiofrequency and a human stem cell conditioned medium in Asian skin: a randomized controlled investigator blinded split-face study. Journal of cosmetic and laser therapy : official publication of the European Society for Laser Dermatology, 15(1), 25–33. https://doi.org/10.3109/14764172.2012.748201 (Retraction published J Cosmet Laser Ther. 2020 Jul 3;22(4-5):215)
  3. Tan, M. G., Jo, C. E., Chapas, A., Khetarpal, S., & Dover, J. S. (2021). Radiofrequency Microneedling: A Comprehensive and Critical Review. Dermatologic surgery : official publication for American Society for Dermatologic Surgery [et al.], 47(6), 755–761. https://doi.org/10.1097/DSS.0000000000002972

Why Current Melasma Treatments Don’t Work and Might Make Your Condition Worse

Of the many conditions that skincare professionals encounter today, one of the most prevalent and mysterious is Melasma. Just ask Charlie’s Angels actress Drew Barrymore – the 46-year-old starlet isn’t shy about her “crazy level 10 Melasma”, and once likened her condition to having “dirt all over my face.”

Sounds like an exaggeration, but for many patients with this condition, it isn’t really. People1 with melasma can refuse to leave home, ruminate ceaselessly about their melasma, and feel inferior to others due to their skin condition. It is therefore not uncommon to hear of individuals feeling depressed, frustrated, and ashamed. 

Melasma, which often presents as brownish patches on the cheeks, can appear on other parts of the face, jaw and neck as well, and is brought about by a mixture of genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors. Melasma is very common among Asians, and tends to affect women more than men.

And here’s the kicker: Melasma is a chronic condition that is incurable. But it can be managed — provided you undergo the correct treatments that improve and not worsen your condition. 

In this article, allow me to explain why melasma is so difficult to treat, the limitations of pigmentation treatments in Singapore, and why some lasers can worsen your melasma. 

The causes of melasma

The crux of the condition involves your skin’s pigment-producing cells, a.k.a2 Melanocytes, becoming overactive and producing way too much melanin. While we don’t have a complete understanding of what exactly makes these cells start behaving in this way, there is strong evidence that the following triggers melasma or pigmentation in general:

For some melasma sufferers, the normal rebalancing of hormones after pregnancy can cause ensuing dark spots to fade on its own. This is what we call transient melasma. Unfortunately, for most others, melasma is frustratingly persistent.

Classifications of melasma

Why do some melasma sufferers successfully treat their skin with sunscreen and topical creams, while others struggle hopelessly even with the use of Pico lasers and other costly treatments? Let’s find out:


Epidermal melasma

Dermal melasma

Mixed melasma

Vascular melasma

Melasma islands

Mottled melasma

What is it?

This means that the pigment (melanin) is in the more superficial layers of the skin called the epidermis.

With Dermal melasma, the pigment is in the deeper layers of the skin, the dermis.

As a combination of epidermis and dermal melasma, mixed melasma is the most difficult to treat. It occurs with other pigmentation issues like nevus and lentigines.

Vascular melasma’s calling card is vascular proliferation, or increased vascularity.

This type of melasma occurs near the eyes.

This melasma pattern might be due to previous over-lasering resulting in white patches and spots.  



As this type of melasma is superficial, it usually clears with the regular use of topical creams, sun avoidance, and other similar  treatments.

An effective combination of superficial treatments such as topical creams and sunscreen, plus Secret RF and microneedling are needed. 

While you may get promising results from a chemical peel, they tend to be short-lived.

Different laser protocols are needed for various mixed melasma conditions.

Antivascular pigmentation treatment with the Curas Laser, and vascular treatment with the Proyellow Laser works best for positive outcomes.

This type of melasma can be hard to manage. It is best treated with Picomax and Secret RF.

Non-aggressive laser treatment is needed to avoid hypopigmented spots. Aggressive laser energy will only worsen any white spots. 

Tranexamic acid oral treatment and microneedling with Secret RF will yield good results.

Why is melasma so difficult to treat? 

Laser treatment could worsen melasma

Recurrence rates after successful treatments are reportedly high3, and for more severe cases, chemical peels, IPL therapy, laser treatments and the like tend to offer variable, lackluster, and gloomily short term results. 

What many are unaware of is that pigment laser treatment is also known to worsen melasma and produce a risk4 of post-inflammatory hyper or hypopigmentation (PIH). The heat from such technology tends to make melasma worse, and can trigger the formation of even more pigment in the weeks following treatment. 

The Q-switched laser: friend or foe?

Some of you might be familiar with Q-switched lasers. These lasers became commercially available in the 90s, and have since grown to be wildly popular in Singapore. Prior to this, dermatologists only used lasers for treating the skin surface, which is why the Q-switch laser is so special: It selectively targets and treats pigmentation within the skin.

While these lasers have successfully helped treat pigmentation disorders such as freckles, solar lentigines, and ABNOM, it is not reliably effective when it comes to managing melasma. Q-switch lasers help break down melanosomes at the bottom of the epidermis, which contain melanin, and does so without any redness, bruising, or downtime.

However, the Q-switch laser does not successfully confront any of the root causes of melasma, which means that melanocytes in the epidermis are still producing lots of melanin, and that frequent relapses, or even a worsening of conditions, is bound to happen.

And while the repetition and quantity of treatments varies across the differing technologies, Q-switched lasers require the greatest number of treatment applications for good results.

Melasma requires a multi-pronged approach

One key point to consider is that while laser treatments can accelerate the removal of melasma-related hyperpigmentation, they are far from cures. The most effective management of difficult melasma cases often includes a combination of technologies and therapies.

As melasma is aggravated by hormones, it’s also not uncommon for dermatologists and gynecologists to work hand in hand to help patients transition to a low-dose pill, or if possible, wean them off the pill entirely. 

Melasma is triggered by uncontrollable factors like the sun

Singapore’s never-ending summer is brutally unrelenting, which is why a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF needs to be a regular part of your skincare regimen. It’s also a good idea to wear a hat with a wide-enough brim that’ll protect melasma hot spots like your nose and cheeks. 

While less challenging conditions can be managed with the consistent use of broad spectrum sunscreens, medicated creams, and staying out of the sun, such methods only bring about an initial clearance of the condition, and have zero to little effects for sufferers of more severe cases of melasma. 

Limitations of current melasma treatments in Singapore 

To summarise, here are some common melasma treatments available in Singapore today: 

The inefficacy and variability of these treatments is the reason why Ozhean Zoey utilises a combination of Secret RF and Pico Laser to effectively treat melasma. I will speak about this approach in a separate article.


  1. https://clearifirx.com/blog/melasma-treatments 
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/biochemistry-genetics-and-molecular-biology/melanocyte 
  3. https://www.nsc.com.sg/Patient-Guide/Health-Library/Types%2520of%2520Skin%2520Conditions/Pages/Melasma.aspx
  4. Trivedi, M. K., Yang, F. C., & Cho, B. K. (2017). A review of laser and light therapy in melasma. International journal of women's dermatology, 3(1), 11–20. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijwd.2017.01.004

Dr Park Ji-Youn: Is your aesthetic doctor selling you short with your HIFU treatments?

Many think the pandemic has resulted in people caring less about their appearance due to the wearing of masks and stay home measures. However, the opposite is true and I’m sure fellow aesthetic doctors would agree.

Apart from Botox and laser treatments gaining in popularity, I’ve personally also noticed a surge in High Intensity Frequency Ultrasound (HIFU) treatments. While this is good news for practitioners, it might not be the same for consumers who are unaware of what they should be getting and how much they should really be paying.

Why is HIFU so popular and what should you look out for if you decide to commit to a HIFU treatment plan in Singapore? Here’s a little guide for you.

What are HIFU Treatments?

HIFU treatments make use of ultrasonic waves to lift and tighten the skin. With precise pulses, the energy is delivered to three specific layers of your skin—superficial dermis, deep dermis, and superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS).

The steps will be repeated with several ultraformers to reach different depths of the skin, with more concentration on the areas of concern.

Through this process, the deep tissues in the skin’s layers are tightened and the skin is stimulated to produce more collagen.

At Ozhean Zoey, we use a Ultra+ HIFU gadget that comes with a swanky linear firm technology: 

Why are HIFU treatments so popular in Singapore? 

The patient base for HIFU in Singapore runs the gamut, from females in their mid-20s going for preventive purposes to males in their 50s going for maintenance reasons. Why they opt for HIFU is simple – to see quick and effective results. 

After all, the skin is the largest organ of our body and we ought to take the time and effort to maintain our complexion.

Having dewy, smooth skin is an instant confidence booster that can make and help us look our very best.

While a good skincare regimen can keep you looking fresh-faced on the surface, certain deep skin issues ultimately require professional aid. Several clinical studies2 have proven HIFU to be a safe and effective procedure to improve facial wrinkles and skin elasticity on Asian skin. It is particularly effective on the jawline, cheek, and perioral areas.

Read to find out the difference between HIFU and a facelift. 

What to Look Out For When Going for a HIFU Treatment In Singapore

This non-invasive, skin tightening procedure is known to treat all sorts of skin problems, such as fine lines, saggy skin, and wrinkles. It’s as good as going for a non-surgical facelift treatment, with zero downtime.

But before you book your first appointment, here are some things you should know about HIFU treatments and certain red flags to look out for.

1. Find an aesthetics clinic that provides proper, individualised HIFU treatments

No two people have the same skin concerns. Every individual’s skin is special and requires customised solutions for their own specific skin type.

Your aesthetics doctor ought to provide a detailed consultation to hear your skincare woes. This includes conducting a thorough assessment to analyse your skin type as not all patients are suitable for HIFU. Your doctors should NOT be hard selling you HIFU treatments without considering better alternatives. 

Lastly, make sure your doctor customises an individualised HIFU treatment programme for you based on your skin condition and desired result. Do not be duped by packages that sell you short!

While everyone’s condition is different, in general, for an effective full-face HIFU treatment, the number of shots required will range from 500 to 1,000. This is because the higher the energy delivered, the higher the temperature will be raised in the skin. More heat shock proteins and collagen are then stimulated.

At Ozhean Zoey, we believe in celebrating every individual’s unique beauty. Our HIFU treatments consist of at least 800 shots and are done with different probes to efficiently target and treat different layers - skin, fat, and muscle. Noticeable skin tightening results can be seen in just one session.

2. Choose an aesthetics clinic that have a variety of skin treatments 

As mentioned, some individuals may not respond well to HIFU treatments. Instead, lasers or injectables may work better. A variety of skin treatments available at the clinic means more choices to help you achieve your desired look. Avoid going to clinics that only offer a specific facelifting treatment.

As the founder and director of Ozhean Skin and Plastic Surgery Network, I ensure all our Ozhean outlets across Asia carry a range of skincare treatments that are backed by solid clinical clinical evidence and scientific principles. This is especially important in Singapore, a melting pot of unique cultures and skin types. 

3. Ensure that the aesthetics clinic is transparent with its HIFU treatment prices

Be wary of clinics that charge significantly low prices. By low, I mean as low as $200. These are from “mini-HIFU” treatments, where clinics basically split a full HIFU treatment into many sessions. There is no clinical evidence that suggests mini-HIFU treatments work; you are better off doing a proper session. 

Prices for HIFU treatment will vary depending on the patient’s skin type and condition but proper HIFU sessions typically cost from $800 onwards.

Transparency in pricing is important as customers can then make informed decisions about treatments and procedures that will best suit them.

4. Request for before and after HIFU treatment photos

The only way to tell if a clinic or doctor is trustworthy is to get them to prove they CAN show results. The devil is in the details.

How recent are the photos? If the pictures are all from a while back and the clinic has no recent examples to show, I would be wary as this could mean there’s no demand for that particular service from that doctor. Due to regulations by MOH, I unfortunately cannot display before/after photos here but feel free to contact me and I’ll be more than happy to show you our clinic’s portfolio of results. 

Does the doctor have experience treating different skin types and how diverse is the clinic’s client base? A diverse client base means that the doctor is experienced in handling HIFU treatments for different types of skin concerns, from preventive to maintenance purposes.

About Dr. Park Ji-Youn

Dr. Park Ji-Youn is the founder and managing director of the Ozhean group. As a board certified dermatologist, she has published more than 30 scientific papers on dermatology, and is the creator of Ozhean’s SKIN FIT program, which was conceived in 2015, and continues to successfully retain 80% of its original customers.


  1. https://www.insider.com/pandemic-zoom-changed-plastic-surgery-singapore-2021-4
  2. Park, H., Kim, E., Kim, J., Ro, Y., & Ko, J. (2015). High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound for the Treatment of Wrinkles and Skin Laxity in Seven Different Facial Areas. Annals of dermatology, 27(6), 688–693. https://doi.org/10.5021/ad.2015.27.6.688