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

December 14, 2021

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: 

  • Two types of HIFU cartridges for powerful local heating and a wider area reach. This produces a tremendous contouring effect, especially on areas like the face. 
  • 14 types of cartridges to accommodate to each treatment area 
  • 2.0mm cartridges to treat narrow areas like the eye rim

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.

References 

  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 
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