A Doctor’s General Overview on Non-surgical Facelift Procedures in Singapore (2019)

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In recent years, Singapore has seen a demand for non-surgical aesthetic procedures. Different types of facial enhancement procedures are now being offered not only by clinics but beauty salons and spas also.

A common complaint that I have received from numerous patients who come for a consultation to me is the lack of improvement on their faces despite undergoing several non-surgical facelift procedures in a span of time. As I listen to their story, I’ve pieced together the cause of their misery: they have been getting substandard procedures from places offering aesthetic treatments that do not have the right equipment, let alone a skilled doctor who administered the procedure.

The clincher? The procedures were offered at ridiculously low prices that were too good to be true.  To add, these “mini-treatments” had to be repeated for patients “to get optimum results.”

Come to think of it, these patients have repeatedly undergone a second-rate procedure several times without getting results - meaning they have spent lots of their money for nothing.

I do not mean to scare you with what I have shared above, but it is a reality that happens around Singapore. It is my desire for patients to reach their desired face, so I have written this post as a guide for non-surgical facelift procedures.

 If you are thinking of getting a non-surgical aesthetic facelift soon, read this post until the very end to learn specific things about this topic that can help spare you from botched procedures that only end up in wasted money.

Introduction to Non-surgical Facelift

Non-surgical facelift is aesthetic procedures done that do not require incisions to be done on patients. These procedures aim to lift the different areas of the face that appear to have signs of ageing.

What are non-surgical facelift procedures available in Singapore?

There are basically 3 kinds of non-surgical facelift procedures available in Singapore. These are the filler-based treatments, energy-based procedures, and threadlift method. I specialise in the energy-based procedure, so I will be expounding more about this subject during the course of this article.

What are the types of energy-based facelift procedures?

There are a variety of energy-based facelift procedures. Some of the most used are:

  1. Infrared light
  2. Laser
  3. Radiofrequency
  4. Ultrasound

These procedures are surgery-free and quick to complete. They fall under the “lunchtime” treatments that are popular among my patients whose schedules are hectic. In addition, these do not need a long recovery period after the procedure, so you can easily go back to your daily routine as soon as you walk past the clinic’s doors.

Is it possible to combine several non-surgical facelift treatments in order to achieve my goals?

Given that there are several non-surgical facelift treatments, I usually get questions from patients about the possibility of combining several procedures to achieve their goals. The answer is YES. You can use together energy-based procedures, fillers, and threadlifts for your facelift. However, some precautions may be needed, so it’s always best to discuss this with your doctor.

Why are non-surgical facelift treatments being offered in beauty salons and spas much cheaper compared to aesthetic clinics?

Roaming around Singapore and basing from the stories of my patients, non-surgical facelift treatments are being offered at highly enticing super low prices. Filler treatments below $300, a full-face threadlift procedure lesser than $400, and a full face treatment for HIFU between the ranges of $150 to $350 are the kinds of offers that you should stay away from.

Note that HIFU devices alone are very expensive. Charging procedures for only over a $100 can tell you one thing about it: the machines used are substandard or fake.

What are the things I should consider when getting energy-based treatments?

considering things

Before I proceed to the answer, let me give you a brief background about the characteristics of the skin.

The skin has three main layers. These are:

  1. Epidermis – top layer of the skin
  2. Dermis – middle layer of the skin
  3. Subcutaneous layer – found underneath the dermis

Among the three, the subcutaneous layer plays a crucial role in any energy-based procedure. This layer has what we call the subcutaneous musculoaponeurotic system or SMAS. The SMAS is responsible for naturally producing collagen in our bodies. Collagen is the skin’s component that helps maintain its volume and elasticity. Once the body is no longer producing collagen, our skin begins to show signs of ageing like fine lines, wrinkles, creases, and folds among others.

For energy-based procedures to be effective, the device emitting the heat through the skin should reach the skin’s SMAS, which is at 4.5 mm in depth.

Now, here are the things you should consider when getting an energy-based face lifting procedure:

  1. Know the type of equipment that your doctor will use for your treatment. 
    Equipment used for this non-surgical facelift procedure come in different types and each variety is able to penetrate only up to a specific depth. Below are some examples, ranked according to the machine that is able to reach the SMAS layer first.
    • High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) – Popular brands include Ultherapy, Ultraskin II, Ultraformer. The energy generated from these machines can travel up to 4.5 mm, reaching the SMAS layer of the skin.
    • Infra-red laser – A popular brand is Titan. The energy generated from this machine can travel only up to 1 to 2 mm beneath the skin, not reaching the SMAS layer.
    • Long Pulsed Nd: YAG 1064 laser – A popular brand is Fotona Sp Dynamis. The energy generated from this machine can be adjusted reaching up to 4.5 mm. Therefore, it is able to penetrate deep into the SMAS layer of the skin.
    • Radiofrequency – A popular brand is Thermage. The energy generated from this machine can travel from 1.5 to 3 mm in depth. It is unable to reach the SMAS layer of the skin.

    Now that you have an idea about several types of energy-based machines and the kinds of a brand that are available in the market, it is your job to be vigilant to check on the equipment that your chosen doctor will use on your face. Many claim to have stellar equipment that can help address your facial needs, but for a price range that is too low than what reputable clinics offer, I am doubtful that their machines are authentic.
    In my years of practice, I only use the brands of High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) mentioned earlier for the treatments of my patients.

  2. The power setting of the device used to treat your skin is inappropriate for its requirement. 
    For some energy-based machines, the distribution of the energy does not flow directly through the layers of the skin as soon as the device is set on the target area. What usually happens is the outer layer of the skin gets all the heat first, after which the energy travels beneath the skin. 
    This is the usual occurrence with Thermage. Since the heat concentrates on the surface before dispersing into the depths of the skin, a lot of patients feel a burning sensation that they are not able to tolerate. When this happens, the doctor has to adjust the machine to a lower power setting. In effect, the needed energy is not delivered through the skin full blast resulting to substandard results.
  3. The knowledge and skill of your doctor about your skin condition is limited. 
    There are a lot of other facelift procedures that can address your condition aside from energy-based treatments. If these conditions are not properly addressed with the right treatment and your doctor is only comfortable in performing energy-based procedures for a facelift, then you just might be spending your money for the wrong treatment. 
    The table below shows the common conditions that are assessed wrongly by doctors and the corresponding treatments that are probably best used to correct them.

SKIN CONDITION

PROPER TREATMENT

Bone resorption

Facial implants

Loose skin

Surgical facelift

Volume loss

(e.g. hollow eyes, sunken cheeks)

Dermal Fillers

Severe skin sagging from fat loss

Threadlift

How do I know if I am a suitable candidate for energy-based non-surgical facelifts?

Conditions that are best addressed by energy-based non-surgical facelift procedures have the following symptoms:

  • Mild to moderate signs of skin laxity
  • Minor volume loss
  • Moderate existence of fat pads
  • Not too heavy skin

What characteristics should I look into when searching for a doctor to handle my non-surgical facelift procedure?

            (How can you find the best doctor for your non-surgical facelift?)

The characteristics that you should look for in a doctor to do your non-surgical facelift procedure are:

  1. The doctor’s versatility in performing a variety of non-surgical procedures. 
    A doctor that has knowledge and experience in performing more than one type of non-surgical facelift procedure should be able to give your face a proper assessment and recommend the right treatment or a combination of treatments that you may need.
  2. The number of years he or she has been doing non-surgical facelift procedures, especially with energy-based machines. 
    Energy-based machines are very powerful. If a doctor has no training experience in using such equipment, the results can be devastating. This is, of course, the same with any kind of facelift procedure. Do not hesitate to ask your doctor about the number of years that he or she has in performing certain procedures. You will be able to gauge his or her skills by knowing this fact.
  3. The type of machines he or she uses. 
    Only go for a doctor that uses authentic equipment for non-surgical facelift treatments. The common brands used by a lot of clinics across Singapore are mentioned in this article. A reputable clinic only invests in machineries that are safe and have been tested and proven. Likewise, a clinic should not be limited to one type of device only.
  4. The number of successful procedures he or she has performed. 
    Do ask your doctor for his or her portfolio of past patients that have undergone a non-surgical facelift procedure under their care.  Before and after photos of patients should serve as proof of the extent of skills that a doctor has in performing specific procedures.

How much is the approximate cost of a non-surgical facelift done in Singapore?

facelift cost

Here is the approximate cost of the following non-surgical facelift procedures available in Singapore:

  1. Energy-based procedures.

TYPE OF ENERGY

BRAND

COST

High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)

Sygmalift

$300 to $850

(at least 3 sessions in a month)

Ultherapy

$3,500 to $6,000

Ultraformer III

$2,500 to $4,000

Ultra Skin II

$2,000 to $4,000

Infrared

Titan

$450 to $1,500

Cold Laser 635 mm

Sygmalift

$300 to $850

(at least 3 sessions in a month)

Ultra Long Pulse Nd:YAG 1064 Laser

FOTONA 4D Laser Lift

$600 to $1,500

(up to a maximum of 5 sessions for optimum results)

Radiofrequency

Thermage

$3,000 to $6,500

  1. Non-energy based procedures.

TYPE OF PROCEDURE

MATERIALS USED

COST

Filler lift

Body-soluble filler material

$700 to $1,500

(costs vary between brands used by and doctor’s fees)

Thread Lift

Body-soluble threads with barbs or cogs

$3,000 to $6,000

(costs vary depending on areas for treatment and doctor’s fees)

What are the factors that affect the costs of the different non-surgical facelift procedures?

The factors that can affect the costs of your non-surgical facelift procedure are:

  1. For energy-based procedures
    • The type of machine  used in the treatment
    • The extent of the area needing treatment
    • The doctor’s skills and experience
  2. For non-energy based procedures
    • The brand of dermal fillers used for a filler treatment
    • The brand of threads used for a threadlift treatment
    • The doctor’s skills and experience

Final Words

Any kind of facelift procedure is costly, especially for treatments that use the latest advancement in medical technology. In order to get the optimum results (and avoid throwing away your hard-earned money), always look for a doctor that has your best interest at hand. I wish you all the best as you start your journey in getting a younger-looking face!